The American Eskimo dog, also widely known as the “Eskie”, has origins in Germany. This dog is a spitz breed (marked by long, thick, and white fur, pointed ears and muzzles, and either curly or very droopy tails) which comes from the German Spitz.
Originally, this dog’s ancestors were bred as working class dogs, for the purpose of guarding people and property. Eventually, the German Spitz rose out of these previous, smaller, Spitz dogs. Then, at some point in the early 1900’s, European immigrants began bringing these dogs into the United States with them.
Around World War I, as part of the patriotism era, United States citizens began referring to the new variety of Spitz as the American Spitz, rather than the German Spitz.
Finally, around the year 1919, the breed was first officially recognized as the American Eskimo (its current name) by the American United Kennel Club (UKC). Later, in the year 1995, the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Although the American Eskimo and German Spitz are two completely different breeds, owners still sometimes register their American Eskimos as German Spitz, in order to compete in international dog competitions. Furthermore, the American Eskimo is still known as the German Spitz (inferring that they are the same breed) in many places around the world. By American standards, though, the Eskimo is its own breed.
The American Eskimo has long and flowing, usually white, fur. This coat is also very thick and dense, as it has a double-coat. Its undercoat is usually softer, with the outer layers growing longer and coarser, although the entire coat is pretty soft. This coat is often noted as the American Eskimo’s most distinguishing feature.
As for the head, the American Eskimo has a wedge shaped head with a long and pointed muzzle. Their ears are small, pointed, and always erect. Its nose it all black. Lastly, the American Eskimo has small eyes that are usually brown.
The American Eskimo has a long, flowing tail that is usually curled upwards. Furthermore, the tail is usually covered in long, white “feathers” or locks of flowing fur.
The American Eskimo’s body and size differences are also very interesting. To begin, in general, the body is small and compacted, and usually square in shape. As for sizes, the American Eskimo has been bred to come in toy, miniature, and standard size. The toy American Eskimo is usually 9 to 12 inches long and weights about 6 to 10 pounds. The miniature American Eskimo typically measures about 12 to 15 inches and weighs between 10 and 17 pounds. Finally, the standard American Eskimo is usually 15 to 20 inches long and weighs approximately 18 to 35 pounds. Gender also influences size, with males being larger and females being smaller.
American Eskimo dogs are generally very easy going and friendly in their nature. This makes them a great choice for a family pet. They are known to be very playful. Furthermore, they are great with children, having been raised as both a playful and protective breed.
These dogs are also very charming and love to please. Their working nature is still in them, and they enjoy it. American Eskimo will go to many lengths to be sure that their owners are happy with them and they are accepted.
The American Eskimo is also highly intelligent and adaptable. This makes it a great breed for a variety of different homes and lifestyles. This dog will easily make itself at home in apartments, houses, farms, etc. Also, because it is so highly intelligent, training is very easy. This dog could be taught to live and behave in a wide variety of different environments.
As for interacting with strangers, these dogs are very alert and can be very territorial. They are usually wary of unknown people at first, only because that is how they were bred. Their original intended purpose was protecting the home and its owners against dangerous people, and this notion still exists in the dogs today. However, even though they are nervous about people at first, they can easily warm up to new people and make friends instantly. They will become very vocal, though, if presented with new people or if they feel threatened.
It is also important to note that, in order to own a well-behaving American Eskimo dog, a person must be very confident and assert themselves as dominant and the “pack leader”. Without a proper authority figure, the American Eskimo will not hesitate to take on the role, themselves, which could lead to a variety of behavioral issues. These issues include, but are not limited to, separation anxiety, obsessive and non-stop barking, aggressiveness, willfulness, and over-guarding.
Owners need to be sure to get this type of dog enough play and exercise as well. Again, their active, working class roots are still very much alive in them. Without fulfillment of these activity needs, the American Eskimo could become very hyperactive and high strung. Issues attributed with these conditions include spinning in circles, excessive barking, jumping on furniture, chewing on furniture, becoming overly aggressive, and more.
The American Eskimo can still be used as a guard dog, although this is less common with the influx of larger, more muscular, and more aggressive breeds into the United States. However, they are still very protective, so it is possible. Aside from working as a guard or watchdog, the American Eskimo can also still be used as a working class dog in other situations.
Back in the 1930’s and 1940’s, the American Eskimo became famous for its work in traveling circuses, especially with the Barnum and Bailey Circus. In fact, this was the first dog breed to be trained to walk across a tight rope. This dog could be used for entertainment purposes still, but again, this is less common today than it once was.
Overall, the American Eskimo is meant as a companion animal today. While the previous two purposes (especially entertainment) led to its modern popularity, many people only own it as a family dog now. Again, this dog has many qualities which make it great for families, especially those with small children.