American Eskimo Dog

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american eskimo dog portrait
Meet the American Eskimo Dog, a breed that's as captivating as its name suggests! These fluffy, snow-white pups have a magnetic charm and a penchant for adventure that'll leave you smitten. With their striking appearance, playful nature, and fierce loyalty, it's no wonder this breed has a lot of fans all over the nation.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

The American Eskimo Dog is a dream come true for active individuals or families who adore a spirited and intelligent companion. They’re perfect for those who have space to play and time to engage their quick minds.


OFFICIAL NAMEAmerican Eskimo Dog
OTHER NAMESAmerican Spitz, Eskie
ORIGINUnited States
BREED GROUPNon-Sporting Group
BREED SIZESmall (Toy & Miniature)
Medium (Standard)
HEIGHTToy: 9-12 inches
Miniature: 12-15 inches
Standard: 15-19 inches
WEIGHTToy: 6-10 lbs
Miniature: 10-20 lbs
Standard: 18-35 lbs
LIFESPAN13-15 years
american eskimo dog sitting by the beach
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In terms of size, the American Eskimo Dog comes in three varieties: Toy, Miniature, and Standard. Toy Eskies typically stand between 9 and 12 inches at the shoulder and weigh about 6 to 10 pounds. Miniature Eskies have a height range of 12 to 15 inches and weigh around 10 to 20 pounds, while Standard Eskies are the largest, standing at 15 to 19 inches and weighing between 18 and 35 pounds.

The American Eskimo Dog has a compact, well-balanced body with a deep chest and well-sprung ribs. Their strong, straight back leads to a plumed tail that curls over their back, creating a distinctive silhouette. This breed has sturdy, well-muscled legs that provide agility and strength, allowing them to excel in various activities and dog sports.

Their head is wedge-shaped, with a slightly rounded skull and a well-defined stop. The muzzle is medium in length, tapering gradually towards the nose without appearing snipey. The breed’s black or self-colored nose contrasts beautifully with their white fur. Eskies possess full, powerful jaws and a scissor bite, showcasing their ancestral Spitz lineage.

One of the most striking features of the American Eskimo Dog is their alert and expressive eyes. They have medium-sized, slightly oval-shaped eyes that are set well apart and come in shades of brown. The eye rims are also black or self-colored, adding to their enchanting gaze.

Eskies have erect, triangular ears that are set high on their head. The ears are slightly rounded at the tips and covered with thick, short hair. This gives them an attentive and intelligent appearance, always ready for action.

The breed’s luxurious double coat is another distinguishing feature. The dense undercoat is short and thick, while the outer coat consists of long, straight guard hairs that stand off the body, creating a spectacular mane around their neck and shoulders.

The coat is thicker and more profuse in males, giving them a more lion-like appearance. Their fur is pure white or white with biscuit cream, adding to their wintery allure.

american eskimo dog lying on the grass
Photo: Mohan Nannapaneni/Pexels


The American Eskimo Dog is a breed with a delightful temperament and personality that endears them to dog enthusiasts everywhere. Known for their intelligence, playfulness, and affectionate nature, these pups are true charmers with plenty of love to give.

Eskies are highly social dogs who thrive on interaction with their human family members. They form strong bonds with their owners and enjoy being part of the daily activities and household routines. Their loyalty and devotion make them wonderful companions, always eager to please and be by your side.

One of the most notable traits of the American Eskimo Dog is their friendly disposition, which extends to people beyond their immediate family. They generally get along well with children, making them an excellent choice for families with kids.

However, as with any breed, it’s essential to teach both children and dogs how to interact respectfully and safely. Supervising playtime between young children and dogs is always recommended to ensure a positive experience for all parties involved.

While the American Eskimo Dog is known for its sociable nature, they can be cautious around strangers at first. They may take some time to warm up to new people, but once they do, they’re likely to be as affectionate and friendly as they are with their family members.

This initial wariness also makes them good watchdogs, as they will alert their owners to any unfamiliar presence. However, it’s important to note that they are not typically aggressive and should not be considered guard dogs.

When it comes to other pets, the American Eskimo Dog can coexist peacefully with other animals if raised together or properly introduced.

They usually get along well with other dogs and can even become friends with cats or smaller pets. However, as with any breed, early socialization is crucial in helping your Eskie develop a well-rounded temperament that allows them to interact positively with different animals.

The intelligence and eagerness to learn possessed by the American Eskimo Dog make them highly trainable. They respond well to positive reinforcement methods and enjoy engaging in various training exercises, including obedience, agility, and even dog sports. Their quick wit and desire to please make them excellent candidates for advanced training and dog sports competitions.

One unique personality perk of the American Eskimo Dog is their love for being the center of attention. These dogs enjoy performing tricks and entertaining their audience, making them natural show-offs. This trait has made them popular performers in circuses and other entertainment venues throughout history.

Despite their many positive qualities, it’s important to remember that the American Eskimo Dog can be a high-energy breed that requires regular physical exercise and mental stimulation.

Without adequate outlets for their energy, they may become bored and develop undesirable behaviors such as excessive barking or destructive chewing. Providing your Eskie with daily walks, playtime, and puzzle toys can help keep them happy and well-adjusted.

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Ideal Environment

The American Eskimo Dog is a versatile breed that can adapt to various environments as long as their essential needs are met. Providing them with the ideal environment ensures they remain happy, healthy, and well-adjusted companions.

Physical Environment

Physically, the American Eskimo Dog prefers an environment that allows them to engage in regular exercise and play. A home with a securely fenced yard offers a safe space for them to explore and expend their energy. However, this breed can also adapt to apartment living if provided with daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation to keep them engaged and active.

Eskies are known to be excellent escape artists, so it’s crucial to ensure that fences and gates are secure to prevent them from wandering off.

Climate Adaptability

Regarding climate adaptability, the American Eskimo Dog’s thick double coat is well-suited for colder climates. They can tolerate low temperatures and enjoy playing in the snow. However, this same coat puts them at risk of overheating in hot weather.

During the warmer months, it’s crucial to provide them with a cool, shaded area to rest, and access to fresh water at all times. Avoid exercising your Eskie during the hottest parts of the day, opting instead for early morning or evening walks when temperatures are cooler.

Ideal Owner

In terms of pet parents, the American Eskimo Dog thrives with individuals or families who can devote time, attention, and affection to their furry friend. These dogs are best suited for people who can commit to providing consistent training, socialization, and exercise to help them develop into well-rounded companions.

Active singles, couples, or families with children are all potential matches for this breed, as long as they can meet their needs and appreciate their loyal and affectionate nature.

Other Pets

When it comes to other pets, the American Eskimo Dog can coexist harmoniously with other animals if raised together or introduced properly. Early socialization is key in ensuring your Eskie gets along well with other dogs, cats, and smaller pets in the household.

american eskimo dog at a park
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The American Eskimo Dog is known for its beautiful, fluffy white coat, which does require regular grooming to keep it looking its best and maintain the dog’s overall health.

Coat Care

First and foremost, the American Eskimo Dog’s luxurious double coat should be brushed regularly to prevent matting and remove loose hair.

Ideally, you should brush your Eskie at least two to three times per week using a slicker brush or a pin brush. These brushes are specifically designed to penetrate the dense undercoat and remove any tangles or debris without damaging the fur. During shedding seasons, which typically occur twice a year, daily brushing may be necessary to manage the increased volume of loose hair.

In addition to regular brushing, the American Eskimo Dog may require occasional baths to maintain the cleanliness and brightness of their white coat. However, it’s essential not to over-bathe your Eskie, as excessive bathing can strip the coat of natural oils and lead to dry skin.

A gentle, hypoallergenic dog shampoo is recommended, and you should aim for a bath every one to two months, depending on your dog’s activity level and individual needs.

Dental Care

When it comes to dental care, the American Eskimo Dog, like all breeds, benefits from regular teeth cleaning to prevent tartar buildup and maintain good oral health. Ideally, you should brush your Eskie’s teeth daily using a toothbrush and toothpaste designed specifically for dogs.

If daily brushing is not feasible, aim for at least two to three times per week. Additionally, providing dental chews or toys can help support your dog’s dental hygiene between brushing.

Nail Trimming

Nail care is another essential aspect of grooming for the American Eskimo Dog. Regular nail trims prevent their nails from becoming too long and causing discomfort or injury.

Depending on your dog’s activity level and how quickly their nails grow, you may need to trim their nails every two to four weeks. If you’re uncertain about trimming your dog’s nails yourself, a professional groomer or veterinarian can assist with this task.

Ears & Eyes

It’s also important to check and clean your American Eskimo Dog’s ears regularly. Use a soft, damp cloth or cotton ball to gently wipe the outer part of the ear, being careful not to insert anything into the ear canal. This helps prevent wax buildup and reduces the risk of ear infections. If you notice any signs of redness, swelling, or foul odor, consult your veterinarian for further evaluation and treatment.

Finally, don’t forget to pay attention to your dog’s eyes. Gently wiping the area around their eyes with a damp cloth can help remove any tear stains or debris that may accumulate.

american eskimo dog in a forest
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The American Eskimo Dog is an energetic and active breed that requires regular exercise to maintain their physical health and mental well-being. Meeting their exercise needs helps prevent boredom, anxiety, and undesirable behaviors such as excessive barking or destructive chewing.

Exercise Amount & Types

As a general guideline, the American Eskimo Dog should receive at least 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity per day. This can be divided into two or more exercise sessions to keep them engaged and satisfied throughout the day. It’s essential to tailor the exercise duration and intensity to your dog’s age, fitness level, and individual preferences.

There are various types of exercise that you can enjoy with your American Eskimo Dog. Daily walks are a must, providing not only physical stimulation but also mental enrichment through exposure to new sights, sounds, and smells.

In addition to walks, Eskies love to play and engage in games that challenge both their body and mind. Fetch, frisbee, and agility exercises are all excellent options that cater to their natural athleticism and intelligence.

Dog Sports

The American Eskimo Dog’s trainability and enthusiasm for learning make them great candidates for dog sports and competitions. Activities such as obedience, rally, or agility trials allow them to showcase their skills and provide an outlet for their energy. Participating in these events can strengthen the bond between you and your dog while offering a fun and rewarding experience for both.

Exercise Precautions

When exercising your American Eskimo Dog, it’s important to consider weather conditions, particularly during hot summer months. Their thick double coat can make them prone to overheating, so opt for early morning or evening exercise sessions when temperatures are cooler. Always provide access to fresh water and shaded areas for rest during outdoor activities.

american eskimo dog at an agility trial
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Training the American Eskimo Dog can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, thanks to their intelligence, eagerness to please, and strong bond with their human companions. These traits make them highly trainable, allowing them to excel in various training exercises and activities.

When it comes to training your American Eskimo Dog, it’s essential to establish a consistent routine and use positive reinforcement techniques.

This breed responds well to praise, treats, and play as rewards for good behavior and successful completion of tasks. Positive reinforcement helps build trust and strengthens the bond between you and your dog, ensuring a productive and enjoyable training experience.

It’s crucial to begin training and socialization from an early age, ideally during puppyhood. Exposing your American Eskimo Dog to different people, animals, and environments will help them develop a well-rounded temperament and adaptability to various situations.

Early socialization is especially important for this breed, as they can be initially wary of strangers and may become overly protective if not properly socialized.

While the American Eskimo Dog is generally eager to learn and easy to train, it’s important to remember that they can be independent thinkers. They may occasionally exhibit stubbornness or try to test boundaries. It’s crucial to maintain patience and consistency during training sessions and reinforce desired behaviors while gently correcting undesired ones.

american eskimo dog walking on the snow
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Diet & Nutrition 

The American Eskimo Dog, like all breeds, requires a balanced and nutritious diet to maintain optimal health and well-being. Providing your Eskie with the right diet will support their energy levels, maintain a healthy weight, and contribute to a shiny coat and overall good health.

What to Feed & How Much

When selecting food for your American Eskimo Dog, it’s essential to choose high-quality dry, wet, or raw food options that adhere to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines. These guidelines ensure that the food meets the necessary nutritional requirements for your dog’s specific life stage.

Look for products with high-quality protein sources, such as chicken, turkey, or fish, and avoid foods with artificial additives, fillers, or by-products.

The amount of food you should feed your American Eskimo Dog depends on their age, weight, activity level, and individual metabolism.

As a general guideline, adult Eskies should be fed approximately 1 to 1.5 cups of high-quality dry food per day, divided into two meals. Puppies may require more frequent meals – three to four times per day – to support their growth and development.

However, it’s essential to consult your veterinarian or refer to the feeding recommendations on your chosen dog food to determine the appropriate serving size for your dog’s specific needs.


Be mindful of the number of treats you offer, as excessive treats can lead to weight gain. Opt for healthy, low-calorie treats and consider using them as rewards during training sessions or as occasional indulgences.


Ensuring that your Eskie has access to fresh water at all times is vital for proper hydration and overall health. Clean their water bowl daily and refill it with fresh water to encourage drinking and maintain cleanliness.

american eskimo dog in the snow
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The American Eskimo Dog is generally a healthy breed with a life expectancy of 13 to 15 years. However, like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. Responsible breeding practices, regular veterinary check-ups, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help mitigate these risks and ensure your Eskie lives a happy, healthy life.

Here are common health issues associated with the American Eskimo Dog breed:

Hip Dysplasia: This genetic condition occurs when the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to arthritis and pain over time. Responsible breeders will screen their dogs for hip dysplasia before breeding, but it’s essential to keep an eye on your dog’s mobility and consult your veterinarian if you notice any signs of discomfort or difficulty moving.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is an inherited eye disease that causes gradual vision loss and can eventually lead to blindness. Regular eye exams by a veterinary ophthalmologist can help detect early signs of PRA and allow for appropriate intervention.

Patellar Luxation: This condition, also known as “slipped stifle,” occurs when the kneecap slips out of its normal position, causing discomfort and potentially leading to arthritis. Mild cases may not require treatment, while more severe cases might need surgical intervention.

Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease: This condition affects the blood supply to the femur’s head, causing it to weaken and eventually collapse. It typically occurs in small dog breeds and can result in pain, limping, and arthritis. Treatment may involve surgery to remove the affected bone and joint tissue.

Dental Issues: The American Eskimo Dog can be prone to dental problems such as tartar buildup, gum disease, and tooth loss. Regular teeth cleaning, dental chews, and professional dental cleanings can help maintain good oral hygiene and prevent these issues.

In addition to knowing these common health issues, it’s essential to provide your American Eskimo Dog with regular veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, and parasite prevention to maintain their overall health. A balanced diet, appropriate exercise, and a consistent grooming routine will also contribute to your Eskie’s well-being and longevity.

american eskimo dog walking at a park
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The American Eskimo Dog boasts a rich history that traces back to the Spitz family of dogs, which includes breeds such as the German Spitz, Keeshond, Pomeranian, and Samoyed. Despite their name, the American Eskimo Dog’s origins are not linked to the Eskimo people or culture, but rather to Europe, specifically Germany.

In the early 19th century, European immigrants brought their German Spitz dogs to the United States. The breed was primarily used as a working dog on farms and homesteads due to their versatility, intelligence, and agility. They excelled in various tasks such as herding livestock, guarding property, and serving as faithful companions.

Over time, the breed’s popularity in America grew, and through selective breeding, the American Eskimo Dog began to develop into a distinct breed separate from its German Spitz ancestors.

The breed’s name change from “German Spitz” to “American Eskimo Dog” is believed to have occurred during World War I, when anti-German sentiment was prevalent. The new name aimed to distance the breed from its German roots and emphasize its connection to the United States. However, the exact origin of the name “American Eskimo Dog” remains unclear.

The American Eskimo Dog gained significant popularity in the early 20th century, thanks to their striking appearance and exceptional trainability.

They became popular performers in traveling circuses across the United States, showcasing their agility, intelligence, and ability to learn complex tricks. One famous Eskie, named Stout’s Pal Pierre, gained widespread recognition for his tightrope walking act. These circus performances contributed to the breed’s growing popularity as a family pet and companion.

The American Eskimo Dog was first registered by the National American Eskimo Dog Association (NAEDA) in 1969, which established breed standards and promoted the breed’s recognition. The United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized the breed in 1985, followed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1995, further solidifying the breed’s status in the United States.

Today, the American Eskimo Dog is known for its stunning white coat, dark expressive eyes, and friendly, affectionate nature. They continue to excel in various activities such as obedience, agility, and rally trials, showcasing their intelligence and eagerness to please. The breed remains a popular choice for families and individuals seeking a loyal and versatile companion.

In popular culture, the American Eskimo Dog has made appearances in various forms of media, including movies and television shows. For instance, the breed starred in the 2000 film “Snow Day” and was featured in an episode of the television series “Due South.”

Parent Club

The official parent club for the American Eskimo Dog in the United States is the American Eskimo Dog Club of America (AEDCA). Founded in 1985, the AEDCA is dedicated to promoting and preserving the breed through responsible breeding practices, education, and organized events.

The club also serves as a valuable resource for both potential and current American Eskimo Dog owners. The official website for the American Eskimo Dog Club of America can be accessed here.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines established by breed clubs or kennel organizations, defining the ideal appearance, temperament, and physical traits of a specific breed. 

It serves as a reference for breeders, judges, and enthusiasts to evaluate and maintain a breed’s unique qualities. Covering aspects like size, appearance, and temperament, breed standards are used in dog shows and competitions to assess individual dogs against the ideal representation of their breed.

You can check the American Eskimo Dog’s breed standard set by the American Kennel Club (AKC) here.

american eskimo puppy running
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Are you ready to welcome an American Eskimo Dog into your life? Prepare for a flurry of fun and fur! You’ll need a comfy bed, high-quality food suitable for their energy levels, engaging toys, grooming essentials for their beautiful coat, and a reliable vet.

If you’re leaning towards buying, ensure you choose a reputable breeder to secure a healthy and happy d. But remember, rescue is a wonderful option too. There are many American Eskimo Dogs in shelters seeking their forever home. The American Kennel Club and the National American Eskimo Dog Association can guide you through this rewarding process.

Whether you adopt or buy, you’re not just gaining a pet. You’re welcoming a lively, intelligent, and affectionate companion who’ll fill your days with joy and love. With an American Eskimo Dog, life is never dull!


Are American Eskimo Dogs good family dogs?

Yes, American Eskimo Dogs are great family dogs. They are known for their friendly, affectionate nature and strong bond with their human companions. Their intelligence and trainability make them excellent playmates for children. However, it’s essential to supervise interactions between young children and dogs to ensure the safety of both parties.

Are American Eskimo Dogs a type of Husky?

No, American Eskimo Dogs are not a type of Husky. Although they share some physical similarities, such as a thick double coat and a Spitz-type appearance, they are distinct breeds. The American Eskimo Dog is more closely related to the German Spitz, while the Husky is part of the Siberian and Alaskan breeds.

Do American Eskimo Dogs get along with other dogs?

Yes, American Eskimo Dogs generally get along well with other dogs, especially if properly socialized from a young age. Early socialization helps them develop positive relationships with other animals, making them more likely to be friendly and adaptable in various situations.

How long do American Eskimo Dogs live?

The average life expectancy of an American Eskimo Dog is 13 to 15 years. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and appropriate exercise, can contribute to a long and happy life for your Eskie.

Do American Eskimo Dogs require a lot of grooming?

Yes, American Eskimo Dogs have a thick double coat that requires regular grooming to maintain its health and appearance. It’s recommended to brush your Eskie at least once a week to remove loose hair, prevent matting, and distribute natural oils throughout the coat. During shedding seasons, more frequent brushing may be necessary.

Are American Eskimo Dogs hypoallergenic?

No, American Eskimo Dogs are not hypoallergenic. They have a thick double coat that sheds regularly, which can cause issues for individuals with allergies. However, regular grooming can help minimize shedding and reduce allergens in the home.

Can American Eskimo Dogs tolerate hot weather?

American Eskimo Dogs have a thick double coat that can make them prone to overheating in hot weather. It’s important to provide them with adequate shade and fresh water during hot days and exercise them during cooler hours, such as early morning or evening. Always monitor your dog for signs of overheating, and consult your veterinarian if you have concerns about their comfort in hot climates.

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