American Eskimo dog
(aka: German Spitz, Eskimo Spitz, American Spitz, Eskie)
The American Eskimo Dog has a classic Nordic Spitz type build. It is compact, being slightly longer than tall. They have a double coat that resists water and provides great insulation against the cold. Their small, thick ears are also cold resistant. The Eskie has an agile and bold trot, along with a keen and alert expression.
According to breed standard, the American Eskimo is small to medium in size, and is always white, or white with biscuit cream. The coat is thicker and longer around the neck and chest forming a lion-like ruff. They have black lips, nose, and eye rims that give them a real distinctive look against their white coats. The head has a soft, wedge shape, and the ears are erect and triangular. Their small feet are oval in shape.
An Eskie will be disqualified from competition if they are any color other than white, if they have blue eyes, or if they are under 9" or taller than 19".
The American Eskimo was first recognized by the AKC in 1994, and is a member of the Non-Sporting Group.
American Eskimo Dog Temperament
The Eskie has all the traits to be an overall enjoyable and generally obedient companion: they are bright, eager to please, lively, intelligent, alert, and fun loving. By nature, they are never overly shy nor aggressive. Like any true Spitz, they are independent and tenacious, and they love to run. Of all the Spitz's, it is one of the most biddable, being quite calm and well-mannered when inside.
Though the American Eskimo dog has no ties to Alaska, they like cold weather. They especially like to get outside to run and play. They are a bit weary of strangers, which makes them an excellent watchdog. They will bark to announce the arrival of a stranger. These dogs are not best suited to homes with really small children or other dogs or pets unless well supervised. The Eskie is quite vocal (barking can sometimes be a problem), and they enjoy chewing so be sure to provide plenty of chew toys to keep them out of trouble.
The American Eskimo is fairly energetic, so it is important that she gets a good work out everyday. Smaller Eskimo's will do fine with a vigorous game in the yard or a short walk, larger ones may prefer a jog or long walk. They especially enjoy cold weather and it can be a lot of fun to watch them play in the snow!
These dogs are very in tune with their family, and do best indoors where they can spend as much time with their family as possible. They tend to suffer from separation anxiety if parted from their family for very long or very often.
The American Eskimo Dog's thick coat is easy to groom. It needs brushing twice a week on average, and daily when he is shedding. The Eskie is an average shedder. You should only bathe this breed when they really need it.
The American Eskimo is thought to have descended primarily from the German Spitz, with influences from other spitz breeds, such as the Keeshond and the Pomeranian.
Most likely, the precursors to the American Spitz came to America as general farm workers and watchdogs with German immigrants.
By the 1920's the breed was a favorite with traveling circus performers. They were quite adept at walking the tight rope, and was a huge hit for shows like Barnum & Bailey. It wasn't uncommon for people to take home a puppy from the circus, an offspring of one of the canine performers. Even today, many American Eskimo Dog's can trace their pedigree back to the circus.
The current name of American Eskimo Dog came about after World War I to remove an Germanic sound from the name because of the anti-German sentiment of the time.
Although the Eskie first gained recognition as performers, most American Eskimos are kept simply as pets. Though today they tend to place very well in shows, and do quite well with obedience trails.
Most American Eskimos are eager to please, but not all of them enjoy working, so they are not always easy to train. They do best if training begins at an early age. Early socialization is also imperative to avoid aggression later in life. The Eskie responds best to positive, consistent training that is done with firmness and fairness.
As evidenced by their early careers as performing dogs, they do quite well at doing tricks, as well as at obedience and agility trials. These dog's are smart at understand commands, tricks and behaviors quite easily.
Overall the American Eskimo Dog is a very healthy breed. They do easily gain weight, especially if overfed and under exercised, so make sure you feed a proper diet and give your dog plenty of exercise.
Though there are no major health concerns, some minor concerns to be aware of are: hip dysplasia, PRA (progressive retinal atrophy), patellar luxation, allergies, and some have tear-staining.