The American Eskimo Dog (nicknamed Eskies) is categorized under the AKC (American Kennel Club) category of companion dogs/non-sporting dogs. The Eskie belongs to the Spitz family, and is a Nordic breed. They are very closely related to the German Spitz, the German Pomeranian, and the Italian Spitz. Sometime during the mid 19th Century, these dogs became known as the American Spitz due to their popularity in American communities amongst the German immigrants. Eskies received their name in the early 1900s for unknown reasons.
As Eskies have a great range of sizes, their average height and weight statistics vary accordingly. Toy Eskies have an average height range of 9 to 12 inches (23 – 30 centimeters), and an average weight range of 6 to 10 pounds (2.4 – 4.5 kilograms). Miniature Eskies have an average height range of 12 to 15 inches (30 – 38 centimeters) and an average weight range of 10 – 20 pounds (4.5 – 9 kilograms). Standard Eskies have an average height range of 15 to 19 inches (38 – 48 centimeters) and an average weight range of 18 – 35 pounds (8 – 16 kilograms). They have an average lifespan of 12-15 years.
Possessing Nordic roots, the Eskie is thought to be a descendant of the German Spitz, the German Pomeranian, and the Italian Spitz, the Eskie is also closely related to the Samoyed and the white Keeshond. The Eskie was extremely popular due to their presence in travelling circuses that appeared in the United States throughout the 19th Century. Eskies were mainly used for performing tricks, and along with their fluffy white coats, Eskies garnered the attention of many.
Originally bred to help out on farms, the Eskie is highly intelligent, agile, and incredibly hardworking. They possess a strong desire to please their owners, and as such are very dedicated to their work.
Eskies have a foxlike face and pointy, triangular shaped ears. They have voluminous coats and a fluffy tail that curls over their backs. Spitz breeds vary tremendously in size, and they can come in sizes ranging from Toy to Standard.
Eskies’ coats are always either pure white or white with cream/light brown markings. With heavier fluff around the neck, Eskies have a mane of sorts, and it is especially evident in males. The hairs of their coats do not curl or wave.
Eskies are known to have great personalities; they are fun loving, energetic and very affectionate with their families. They are also very patient with children and are rarely aggressive, making them a great choice for first-time dog owners or families with young children that are interested in getting a dog.
Eskies are keen to learn and are quick learners, so despite their very strong wills, owners will be able to take charge relatively quickly and easily through training as Eskies will learn with great gusto.
A highly active breed, Eskies require exercise and entertainment constantly, otherwise they will be reduced to boredom and may engage in destructive behavior. Eskies do bark, especially when they are left alone. As they are naturally suspicious dogs, they may – and probably will – bark at strangers. Inherently protective over their territories and family, Eskies make great watchdogs.
General Care & Health
The coats of Eskies should be brushed two to three times a week at the very least in order to minimize the amount of fur around the place as Eskies do shed quite a lot. Although they shed, they are relatively easy to clean up after as their fur contains a coating of oil, which creates a barrier between the hair and surrounding dirt and dust. Thus, if an Eskie get dirtied, a good brushing should be effective in removing dirt and debris from its coat. They need to be bathed only once every couple of months as extensive bathing will lead to skin problems. Their ears should be checked weekly, and the outer ear should be cleaned with a cotton ball and a cleanser obtained through a vet. Teeth should be brushed two to three times a week, and nails should be trimmed once or twice a month. Check for signs of infection whenever grooming occurs, and keep an eye out for redness and inflammation of the skin, eyes, nose and mouth.
The recommended daily amount of food an Eskie should be getting is ½ to 1½ cups of dry food, divided into two or three meals throughout the day. Note that as Eskies come in different sizes, it will be best to check with the breeder the recommended amount of food for that particular sized Eskie. Despite the presence of a guideline, the amounts can be altered if the dog is highly active or otherwise.
Eskies are prone to the following diseases:
• Hip Dysplasia – a genetic condition, dogs with hip dysplasia have thigh bones that do not fit comfortably into their hip joints. Some dogs that are affected may show pain and/or lameness in the affected hind legs, but some show no symptoms at all. In time, hip dysplasia can develop into arthritis.
• Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease – dogs suffering with this disease will have decreased blood flow to the femur, and the area where the femur is connected to the hip will start to disintegrate. Symptoms include limping and atrophy of the leg muscles.
• Progressive Retinal Atrophy – dogs with this disease will experience a gradual deterioration of the retina.
An affectionate, loving dog, the Eskie makes a great companion. With its intelligence and willingness to learn new tricks, Eskies are easy to train and teach tricks to, making them highly popular with children. Naturally wary of strangers, they make great watchdogs, but once introduced to strangers they can be very friendly. An active breed, they require constant movement and will make great pets to those who are fond of the active lifestyle.