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American Eskimo Dog

The American Eskimo Dog has a trademark white coat and triangular, pointed ears.

The American Eskimo Dog or Standard German Spitz is a breed of companion dog originating from Germany. Despite its name and appearance this dog is neither from Alaska nor is it a descendant of the Husky. The breed, also known as German Spitz, was renamed American Eskimo Dog due to anti-German prejudice during the First World War.

The standard for the American Eskimo Dog calls for them to be white or white & biscuit cream, with brown eyes (blue eyes, such as those found on the Siberian Husky, are a disqualification and a sign of poor health or breeding), and a compact body. The dog's length should be only slightly greater than its height at the shoulder. The muzzle is long and lupine (in contrast to the muzzles of Pomeranians). The ears are held erect and alert, and the tail should be feathered and loosely curled on the dog's back. These dogs look very much like smaller versions of the Samoyed, and come in three standard sizes. The toy is from 9 to 12 inches (23 to 30 cm) at the withers; the miniature is from 12 to 15 inches (33 to 38 cm); the standard is from 15 inches up to and including 19 inches (39 to 48 cm).

Eskies, as with all Spitzen, have erect, triangular ears ("prick ears"), a tail that flips onto the dog's back in a spiral, and two coats of fur: an undercoat that is softer and helps insulate the dog, and an outer coat that's harsher and acts as a weather repellent.

The Eskie, a loving companion dog, presents a picture of strength and agility, alertness and beauty. It is a small to medium-size Nordic type dog, always white, or white with biscuit cream. The American Eskimo Dog is compactly built and well balanced, with good substance, and an alert, smooth gait. The face is Nordic type with erect triangular shaped ears, and distinctive black points (lips, nose, and eye rims). The white double coat consists of a short, dense undercoat, with a longer guard hair growing through it forming the outer coat, which is straight with no curl or wave. The coat is thicker and longer around the neck and chest forming a lion-like ruff, which is more noticeable on dogs than on bitches. The rump and hind legs down to the hocks are also covered with thicker, longer hair forming the characteristic breeches. The richly plumed tail is carried loosely on the back.

American Eskimo Dogs along with other Spitzen were bred to be companion dogs, and thrive on being a part of a human family. They are easily trained and very intelligent, although like many Nordic breeds, they are strong-willed, independent, and conservative. At home, they make excellent watchdogs, barking to announce the presence of strangers. The Eskie can be protective of its home and family, but in general they will not threaten to attack or bite a person unless provoked. Eskies must be trained early in age. As with all dogs, temperament may be partially inherited and partially trained. Some dogs are prone to excessive barking and separation anxiety. It is important to research the dog's parents as their temperament may vary due to inheritance.

Many people find the puppies of American Eskimo Dogs to be very "cute" and purchase this breed as a puppy without doing sufficient research, such as discovering the longevity and needs of this breed. This breed can take longer to mature than other breeds, and Eskies can behave more like puppies than like adults for up to two years, when they finally start to mature and grow their adult coats. They are also a very intelligent dog and need to be stimulated. When their intelligence is not stimulated or they are ignored, they can develop behavior issues. Owners can avoid this problem by socializing their Eskie through obedience training or participating in dog sports, such as dog agility, flyball, dancing, and Schutzhund.


Am Eskimo DogOther names: American Spitz, American Deutscher Spitz, German Spitz, Deutscher Spitz
Nicknames: Eskie
Country of origin: Germany
Toy height: 23-30 centimeters/9-12 inches
Toy weight: 2.4-4.5 kilogrammes/6-10 lb
Miniature height: 38 cm./11-15 in.
Miniature weight: 4.5-9 kg./10-20 lb.
Standard height: 38 cm./14-19 in.
Standard weight: 8-16 kg./18-35 lb.
Coat: Thick, profuse white standoff double-coat, pronounced ruff around the neck
Litter size: Standard: 4-6; Mini: 2-4; Toy: 1-3
Life span: 10-15+ years (Up to 20 years with proper feeding, exercise & vet care)

The breed lives on average between 12 and 14 years, although some individuals might live as long as 20 years or longer. The Eskie is a fairly healthy breed.

The American Eskimo has a tendency to develop severe allergies to fleas. One flea on an Eskie can result in frantic scratching and gnawing on its skin, which results in painful "hot spots" and skin lesions.

Eskies have a long, dense coat and need regular grooming. This means brushing them once a week, or more often if necessary. They shed, but it can be maintained with regular brushing. They "blow" their coats twice a year, once in May or June to shed their winter undercoat and once in November or December to shed their summer coat. Many Eskie owners use an undercoat rake, a tool available at most pet stores, for grooming. Some owners in hot climates do shave their Eskies, but if this is done, the dogs should be kept indoors as much as possible to prevent sunburn. Some people believe that once a dog is shaved, the coat will grow in with a coarser, woollier texture than it would have had it been left alone, but reporting of this by people who have clipped or shaved their dogs varies.

Eskies have drier skin than most other dogs, and because of their dry skin, they need to be bathed only every two or three months, unless they soil their coat with large amounts of dirt or substances with strong odors. Regular brushing maintains a clean coat in most cases. Eskies are a very clean breed and constantly groom themselves.

The Eskie is derived completely from the various German Spitz breeds (Pomeranian, Keeshond, etc.) The Spitz family of Nordic dogs is one of the least altered by human husbandry and reflects most nearly the prototypical dog, from which stock all others have been derived. Archeology suggests that Neolithic dogs living with humans would today pass for spitzen.

Breed-specific rescue
Because so many people purchase 'cute' puppies and then discover that they do not want an active, intelligent dog with a heavily shedding coat, many of this breed end up at the animal shelter or otherwise up for adoption, or possibly in more unfortunate situations. There are many breed-specific rescue groups that are more than willing to give advice on training or curbing behavioral issues.