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BaxterBoo Blog
January 11, 2013

Meet the Breed: The American Eskimo Dog

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American Eskimo Puppy photo by MitchD50.

American Eskimo Puppy photo by MitchD50.


  • Height/Weight: Toy: 9-12 inches and 6-10 lbs. Miniature: 12-15 inches and 10-20 lbs. Standard: 15-20 inches and 18-3.
  • Historical Function: watchdog, working, herding
  • Modern Function: companion

Physical Characteristics:

The American Eskimo is a beautiful, small to medium-size companion dog that looks like a miniature Samoyed. There are three varieties: toy, miniature and standard. 

History of Breed:

The history of the American Eskimo Dog is somewhat vague, but their ancestors came from northern Europe. Evidence suggests that they are related to the Keeshond, the white Pomeranian, and other Spitz breeds. White Spitz dogs were first brought to the United States by German settlers. Due to anti-German sentiment during World War I, the German White Spitz was renamed the American Eskimo, after a kennel of the same title that first registered the breed. The breed has nothing to do with the Eskimo culture, however. American Eskimo dogs became very popular in the 1930s and 40s as they were featured as circus performers, and puppies were sold after performances. One such performing dog was famous for walking a tightrope in the Barnum and Bailey Circus in the 1930s.


Bred solely to be companions, the American Eskimo Dog thrives on being part of the family. This charming and playful breed is excellent with children, and loves to be lavished with attention. The Eskie ranks as one of the most intelligent of dogs. Because of this and its willingness to please, it is easy to train and excels in obedience trials.They are suspicious and wary of strangers and make good guardians of their family and home. They love to bark and will sound the alarm whenever they deem it necessary. This breed does not do well if left alone for extended periods of time as they may find destructive methods of entertaining themselves.

  • Best Suited for: Families with children, apartment dwellers if exercised adequately, agility dog trainers.
  • Preferred living conditions: American Eskimo Dogs are very people oriented, so as long as they can be with their human family, given adequate mental and physical exercise, they will be content.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Eskies have a profuse double-coat that sheds, and requires brushing a few times a week to prevent mats. They need rare baths and trimming of the nails. They have a seasonal shed twice yearly where the shedding is heavy.
  • Exercise needs: A daily walk is helpful for behavioral enhancement. Enjoys playing in a fenced yard.
  • Life expectancy: 16 years.
  • Health concerns: The American Eskimo is a hearty breed, but consult with a responsible breeder that is screening for hip dysplasia, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, and luxating patella.

Breed Club Links: American Eskimo Dog Club of America, National American Eskimo Dog Association. Perfect Pairings: Dog Agility Starter Kit

Do you have any stories about the American Eskimo Dog?

Beth on January 11 at 12:28 PM said:

My Inga was a beautiful Eskie. Bright and first in her obedience class, we always said she fulfilled the bumper sticker "My dog is smarter than your honor student." LOL. She loved to entertain with tricks, and had a great understanding of the vocabulary she was taught. A wonderful family dog, and true to the breed for being wary of strangers. When she passed away, the entire neighborhood remarked at how much they missed her and that natural American Eskimo smile.
Marilyn on January 11 at 3:03 PM said:

We had an American Eskimo dog when I was a baby. Family history tells that I used his ears as a teething instrument to the point where I actually bit the poor thing. His name was Zipper (why I don't know) and all he did was whine for help when I bit him. He also would get up on his hind legs and rock my baby buggy when I cried, and if that didn't work, he would pull an adult taking a wrist in his mouth and leading them over.

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