American Eskimo Dog
Charming, intelligent, warm and friendly, American Eskimo Dogs are also slightly reserved. Their loyalty to family and home can be intense: Some American Eskimo Dogs will keep strangers from entering the home until their master approves. This makes them a superb watchdog—they are protective without being aggressive.
American Eskimo Dog Pictures
- 13 - 20 pounds
- 11 - 19 inches
Ideal Human Companions
- Active, sporty types
- Families with older children (12 and up)
- Cold-climate dwellers
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- Hardy and alert
- Easily trained
- Wary of strangers
What They Are Like to Live With
Being a Nordic breed, American Eskimo Dogs can be strong-willed and independent. However, they are very good at adapting their keen intelligence to tasks and projects. While strong, they are soft, gentle and happy pets, responsive to games and positive play.
Things You Should Know
American Eskimo Dogs have been devoted companion dogs for centuries. They need to be around people and be involved in family occasions. Left alone or neglected, they can become batty or destructive. They also tend to bark when left alone. The best way to combat this separation anxiety is to include them in activities.
These dogs will be perfectly happy in apartments as long as they get plenty of exercise—a good daily walk will do. They may not need as much room to roam as a Border Collie or Lab, but they need enough to prevent weight gain—make sure they don’t eat too much. Also, keep an eye on them during warm days: Some owners shave their American Eskimo Dogs during the summer, but this could also make them prone to sunburn.
A healthy American Eskimo Dog can live as long as 15 years. Common health problems include hip dysplasia, flea allergies and retinal atrophy (a blinding disorder). Their thick coats should be brushed several times per week (more during shedding season).
American Eskimo Dog History
Descended from a host of white European spitzes—including the Keeshond, the Pomeranian, the German Spitz and the Italian Spitz—the American Spitz (as it was once called) probably came to the U.S. in the early 1900s with German immigrants. Popular as a circus dogs for their sparkly coats, trainability and nimbleness, the American Spitz grew in popularity. In 1917, their name was changed to American Eskimo, but it was not until 1985 that the American Eskimo Dog Club of America was formed. The AKC registered the breed in 1995.
The Look of a American Eskimo Dog
American Eskimo Dogs are medium-sized Nordic-style dogs with beautiful white hair—looking somewhat like small Samoyeds. They have compact, balanced frames with alert stances and gaits. They have wedge-shaped heads with medium-sized muzzles and skulls. Their lips, noses and eyelids are black. Their slightly oval eyes have an alert and intelligent expression and their triangle-shaped ears are erect. They have a thick, straight, double coat that creates a mane around the neck, and they have a curled, heavily plumed tail.
Talk About American Eskimo Dogs
Good as a therapy dog
I have a rescued Eskimo Dog who was aggressive toward dogs and humans. Now he is a therapy dog and personal protection dog and goes to the dog park like he never had a problem.
This breed is a very active breed and needs work as little as picking up your keys to bring your shoe. They are happy to please you.
Keep up on the grooming and you really don't have problems with shedding. This breed loves the snow and also does well in the heat with that white coat.
Train your Eskimo Dog young and socialize them well with everything -- if you don't you will get a nervous dog with separation problems that barks a lot. Many times they end up aggressive. This breed does well with kids if socialized at a young age.
~Sarah K. , owner of an American Eskimo Dog
A very vocal breed
I adopted my Eski from the local shelter this past summer, and wow has it been a learning experience! First off, I guess what I love most about this breed is their look, as they are absolutely gorgeous. What's it like living with one? To be honest, sometimes it can be pretty frustrating. She (my Eski) barks at everything and when we are on walks she is sometimes hard to control (which is really embarrassing). So, overall, if you are thinking of getting this breed just know that they will bark unless you do what I have done and condition/train them.
But they are pretty vocal dogs so still, expect a lot of noise. But, really, these dogs are a lot of fun so if you think you can handle their crazy personality then I highly recommend them.
Note: I've talked with a lot of other Eski owners and, like my dog, theirs aren't good with children. I don't know why, but they just will bark at them and go nuts. So be very cautious with this breed if you have small children (under the age of 12).
~CH, owner of an American Eskimo
Great with kids and as a therapy dog
I adopted my Eskie, Wrecks, when he was 7 months old. He is an absolute pleasure, with a natural affinity for kids. In fact, now he is 3, we are certified with Therapy Dogs Incorporated, and visit Children's Hospital twice a week. He is loving, soft, and incredibly sweet.
I groom him regularly, but the shedding is still pretty bad. Like most dogs, early socialization is key, especially with new situations and children.
When we first started at the hospital, new noises such as respirators and other equipment made him a bit skittish. However, it wasn't difficult to train him and get him used to the environment. Now he strolls down the hallways as if he owns the place, saying hi to doctors, nurses, and patients.
~A. Tracy, owner of an American Eskimo Dog
Good at alerting you to strangers
I have had this breed over 20 years and I love them. I currently have three Eskies. Sabrina is a miniature: she weighs 15 pounds and scales a 7-foot wall with ease. My other two are standards.
Eskies are usually one-owner dogs. As you live with your Eskie, it will become apparent which one that owner is, but they also make great family pets.
Eskies are known barkers, which make them good alerters to someone being outside. Some kind of barking control may be needed so neighbors don't complain.
~Patricia W, owner of three American Eskimo Dogs
Not a dog for the lazy
What I love most about my mini American Eskimo is her playfulness and her loyalty. A friend watched her when I was away for a couple of days, and when I walked in the door to pick her up she was bouncing all over me, excited to see me.
They are also very fast learners. By the time she was 9 or 10 weeks old she already learned how to sit, lay down, shake a paw, get down, and drop it.
Living with my Eski, like others have said, can be frustrating. I work during the day and when I left her alone and not in a kennel, she ripped a hole in my carpet, chewed on the cupboards, and ruined a few pairs of shoes. She was bored. and these dogs have a lot of energy so she needed to get it out somehow.
If you want a dog that is calm and likes to cuddle, this dog is not for you! I have to take my dogs on a few walks a day to wear her out. I'm already an active person, so going for a run with her isn't a pain. But if you are constantly away from home and aren't active this isn't the dog for you.
~Nicole G, owner of an American Eskimo Dog