Dog Breed Categories > Non-Sporting Dogs > American Eskimo Dog
This spitz has been seen in Europe for nearly 5000 years. It was originally called the White Spitz or German Spitz, but was changed to the American Spitz in the US around WWI because of anti-German sentiment (liberty cabbage anyone?). They were later named American Eskimo Dogs, yet have no history of being bred by the Inuit, and neither are they related to the Canadian Eskimo Dog nor any of the other husky-type sled dogs. They are, however, closely related to the Pomeranian, Keeshond, and the Italian Spitz.
In general, Eskies - as they are often called - are said to be loving, intelligent, alert, and friendly, and do well as family pets. The breed is broken down into three groups based on height at the withers:
- Toy: 9-12in (23-30cm)
- Miniature: 12-15in (30-38cm)
- Standard: 15-19in (38-48cm)
It is interesting to note that the size of the parents does not necessarily indicate what the size of the puppies in their litter will be. They are nearly always white or cream in color with a very thick double coat. The long fur (especially around the neck and face) make it look like a well-built dog, however even the Standard size dogs never tend to weigh much more than 18-35lb (8-16kg). While not aggressive, they make good watch dogs sounding off a few warning barks when a stranger enters their home territory.
Because of their small gene pool which leads to many genetically transferred health conditions, most pure bred dogs have numerous possible health conditions. Surprisingly, the Eskie has very few. While there is no guarantee that any dog will or will not have any of the following problems, conditions specific to the American Eskimo are:
While not big runners, these dogs do need a bit of exercise each day, and require a good walk each day - especially if no yard is available.
American Eskimos are very smart, and tend to be quite easy to train. In fact, the breed was famous for performing in circuses in the early 20th century. They also tend to be freethinkers so may not want to spend long periods of time simply being trained, but they do respond well to positive reinforcement. Often wary (or perhaps shy) of close contact with strangers at first, they can quickly made new friends once properly introduced. Their intelligence coupled with their speed make them great in agility courses.