American Eskimo Dog - Once a Popular Circus Dog

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The American Eskimo Dog is a Nordic type Spitz dog, kept today as a companion mostly but it also does well in agility competitions, herding, guarding, drugs detection, performing tricks, conformation and obedience. It can range in size from a toy version up to a medium sized. It comes from Germany but was further developed in the US and was once a popular dog used to perform in Circuses. Those who admire the breed refer to it as 'the dog beautiful' and it is also nicknamed the Eskie.

The American Eskimo Dog at A Glance
Name American Eskimo Dog
Other names Eskimo Spitz, American Spitz, German Spitz, American Eskimo Spitz
Nicknames Eskie
Origin Germany, United States
Average size Can come in Toy, Miniature and Standard
Average weight 6 to 40 pounds
Average height 9 to 19 inches
Life span 12 to 15 years
Coat type Short to long, dense, thick
Hypoallergenic No
Color Cream, white
Popularity Not very popular – ranked 123rd by the AKC
Intelligence Quite intelligent – well above average
Tolerance to heat Good – can handle warm to somewhat hot but nothing too high
Tolerance to cold Excellent – can live in very cold climates, even extremes
Shedding Constant – will have hair around the home and you will be vacuuming daily
Drooling Low – not a breed prone to slobbering or drooling
Obesity High – prone to weight gain, be sure to measure food carefully, avoid feeding table scraps and ensure it gets enough exercise
Grooming/brushing Daily brushing will help control some of the loose hair
Barking Frequent – can annoy the neighbors, make sure you train it to stop on command
Exercise needs Quite active – will need daily lengthy walks
Trainability Difficult for the inexperienced, easy for those skilled already
Friendliness Excellent with socialization
Good first dog Good – but better with experienced owner to handle its independent nature
Good family pet Excellent with socialization
Good with children Excellent with socialization
Good with other dogs Excellent with socialization
Good with other pets Very good to excellent with socialization
Good with strangers Good to very good with socialization – can be suspicious
Good apartment dog Smaller versions can adapt but it needs plenty of exercise if you have no yard, and it does bark a lot and with a noticeable pitch
Handles alone time well Low – does not like to be left alone and can suffer from separation anxiety
Health issues Quite a hardy dog but some issues can include obesity, hip dysplasia, eye problems and allergies
Medical expenses $460 a year for basic health care and pet insurance
Food expenses $145 a year for treats and a good quality dry dog food
Miscellaneous expenses $540 a year for toys, basic training, license, grooming and miscellaneous items
Average annual expenses $1145 a year as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $900
Rescue organizations Several including Heart Bandits, the American Eskimo Dog Rescue
Biting Statistics None Reported
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The American Eskimo Dog's Beginnings

The American Eskimo Dog comes from the German Spitz which were brought from Germany and Europe with immigrants to the US in the early 1900s. Their name suggests something to do with the Eskimo or Inuit culture but in fact they have nothing to do with each other. With the arrival of world war one there was very strong anti-German feeling. Many began to refer to them as American Spitz. While there is no firm record of why the name changed to the American Eskimo Dog there are some that say in 1913, when a kennel belonging to Mr and Mrs Hall called American Eskimo first registered the breed, this lead to a name change and it eventually became the name of choice.

This breed was bred to guard and protect property and people, and to work on farms and is still today very territorial as a result. By 1917 they were popular in circuses which increased their popularity with the people which was especially high in the 1940s and 1950s. After world war two more people kept them as companions but there was still no breed club or breed standard even as late as the mid 20th century.

New Lease on Life

Finally in 1970 the National American Eskimo Dog Association was started and then in 1985 as a step towards AKC recognition the American Eskimo Dog Club of America was formed. The American Kennel Club recognized the American Eskimo Dog in 1995. The Canadian Kennel Club recognized it in 2006 but this is not a breed that is recognized internationally. In some shows it has to be registered as a German Spitz though it should be clear they are not the same breed. It is ranked 123rd by the AKC.

The Dog You See Today

The American Eskimo Dog can be toy, miniature and standard in size, the toys are 6 to 10 pounds and stand 9 to 12 inches tall, the miniatures are 10 to 20 pounds and stand up to 15 inches tall and the standards are 20 to 40 pounds and stand up to 19 inches tall. It has a double coat, white or cream in color and straight, a dense and short under coat and then longer hairs on the outer coat.

The tail is really plumed and curls over its back. It has a level topline and the coat is thicker around the neck making a mane or thicker ruff that is more obvious in males. It has grey or pink skin and the front and back legs are feathered. The head is wedge shaped and its skull and muzzle are the same length. It has triangular erect ears and its lips, eye rims, nose and pads are black.

The Inner American Eskimo Dog

Temperament

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This is an alert dog and it makes a very good watchdog, it will let you know of any intruder and it is protective too so will act to defend you and the home. It can be good for first time owners but really its stubborn nature means those with experience will find it easier to deal with. It is an energetic dog, intelligent too and very sensitive. Its barking will need training to stop on command as it does bark frequently and that barking can be high pitched and annoying to some. Owners say it is a very vocal dog and say they often feel their dog is talking to them in yips and barks.

They also say it is an affectionate, loving and loyal dog that knows how to charm to try to get its own way. It likes to play, can be very inquisitive and likes to be busy, so is not going to be happy in a home where owners just want a dog that lays around all day. With strangers they tend to be wary at first until they are sure of them. Without socialization that wariness can turn into suspicion, territorial instincts can be too strong and it can be snappy and aggressive. Make sure it knows you are the boss, and avoid letting it get away with things just because it is cute or you can have problems with small dog syndrome.

The Eskie is a happy and spirited dog that needs lots of attention and to be with people all the time. It does not like to be left alone and can suffer from separation anxiety so needs to be with people who are around, not out working everyday. It can be a great family dog, it can sometimes get rowdy and likes to be at the center of where the activity is. It also likes to chew so make sure it has toys to rotate through or it will chew things you do not want chewed.

Living with an American Eskimo Dog

What will training look like?

With owners who have experience this is a moderately easy dog to train as it is eager to please, enjoys the challenge and stimulation of training and is smart. However it can have an independent and stubborn side to it and in some cases that can slow things down to a more gradual process. It is capable of going beyond basic training, learns tricks and loves to preform them and the attention it brings. Be patient with it and consistent too. Keep the sessions interesting and rewarding. Praise it, encourage it and use treats when it is being especially obstinate. Part of its character is that it has a mind of its own and that means it will try to manipulate you sometimes so that it is the boss. Do not let it happen, show them what the rules are and stick with them. Even cute small dogs should be given rules to abide by. Make sure you also socialize your Eskie as soon as you have it home. Let it experience different animals, places, sounds, people and children. Teach it how to respond to them and let it get used to them. It will grow into a better and more confident dog, and you will be able to trust it more.

How active is the American Eskimo Dog?

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The American Eskimo Dog can adapt to apartment living especially the smaller versions but they need enough exercise and their barking needs to stop on command, or problems with neighbors are sure to arise. It does best with a home that has a small to medium sized yard where it can play in. it is a fairly active dog so as well as a couple of moderate walks a day it would also enjoy trips to a dog park where it can run safely off leash, play games with you and socialize. It is important this dog gets lots of mental stimulation too, training, learning tricks, puzzle toys and such are ways you can keep its mind active. If the Eskie is not given enough physical and mental activity it becomes restless, bored, aggressive and destructive. It will love to play in the snow and in the water too.

Caring for the American Eskimo Dog

Grooming needs

In terms of care and grooming there is a moderate amount of maintenance needed in owning an American Eskimo Dog. It sheds constantly so there will be hair around the home, plus it will have even heavier blow outs during seasonal shedding time. Be prepared to vacuum daily, and brush daily if you want to have come control over it, but even then it will still be around. This is certainly not a dog for allergy sufferers. Use a firm bristled brush and have the coat trimmed regularly by a professional groomer. The oils in its fur actually help to prevent dirt and debris sticking to it, so it will only need an occasional bath. Bathing too often will damage its natural oils and cause skin problems. It is not a dog that has a strong doggy odor.

Other needs include having its nails clipped when they get too long. This can be done by you as long as you do some research first, or you can have the groomer take care of it. Dog nails need to be dealt with carefully so as not to cut into the part where there are nerves and blood vessels. Otherwise you can hurt your dog and cause bleeding. Check its ears once a week for infection and then wipe then clean, but do not insert anything into them. Also make sure you brush its teeth at least two to three times a week.

Feeding Time

Depending on the type of Eskie you have it will eat between ½ to 2 1/2 cups of a good quality dry dog food each day. That should always be divided into at least two meals worth to prevent problems with bloat. Exactly how much your dog needs is going to vary depending on its metabolism, level of activity, health, age and build.

How is the American Eskimo Dog with children and other animals?

Eskies are good with children especially with ones that have been raised with, though socialization does help too. They are playful and spirited and that can make a great play mate for kids. It is also affectionate with them and protective of them. It is still a good idea to supervise it when around small children, the smaller Eskies especially need it in case the toddler accidentally pulls at it or hurts it being too rough. For the larger Eskies its rowdiness can be too much for them. With socialization it gets on very well with other dogs, it can get jealous though of other pets if they are getting more attention than they are. It also tends to want to chase birds and small animals.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

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The American Eskimo Dog has a life span of 12 to 15 years and there are some conditions and issues it can be more prone to. They include hip dysplasia, eye problems, allergies, weight gain, patella luxation and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease.

Biting Statistics

Reports that cover the US and Canada looking at 35 years of dog attacks causing bodily harm against people do not mention the Eskie as a dog involved in anything. This is a dog that in general can be trusted when you are out with it but like any breed it can have off days, so take care of certain things. Make sure it is well exercised and mentally stimulated, that it is trained and socialized, and that you give it enough attention. This can help reduce the chance of a dog over reacting to something or snapping.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

American Eskimo puppies are going to cost about $900 from a good breeder for a pet quality dog. A show quality dog from a top breeder is going to be a lot more – you can expect it to be several thousand. From a rescue or shelter dogs needing a new home are more around $50 to $400 mark but the chance of them being puppy age is lower. Avoid breeders that seem too good to be true, look for ones that are recommended and trustworthy. The more people who avoid backyard breeders and puppy mills and pet stores, the less money they make and the more we push into going out of business.

When you have selected a good breeder and you have bought your puppy or dog you should take it to a vet for a physical, shots, deworming, blood tests, spaying or neutering and micro chipping. This will cost about $270. You also need to gets some items for it, a crate and carrier, collar and leash or harness, bowls and so on. These will cost around $200.

Ongoing costs are another factor when getting a pet of any kind. Feeding costs will vary depending on the size of the Eskie you have. Around $145 for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats is a good average though. Medical insurance, flea and tick prevention, shots, check ups and the like will come to a yearly cost of $460. Miscellaneous costs like grooming, license, basic training, miscellaneous items and toys come to around $540 a year. This gives a yearly starting figure of $1145.

Names

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Male and Female American Eskimo Dogs Names

American Eskimo Dogs are very attractive dogs and they attract a lot of attention because of that. But it is also important to consider other aspects of a breed before you make a final decision. This is a lively, stubborn, independent and protective breed. It will needs lots of attention and will enjoy lots of snuggles but it also needs mental challenges and plenty of opportunities for physical exercise. Do not leave it alone a lot, and be ready for its frequent barking. It is also a loving, loyal and happy dog that with the right owner could be a great companion.

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