Complete Guide To The American Eskimo Dog: Health, Grooming, Exercise and More

The American Eskimo Dog is the consummate entertainer. Playful and family-friendly, they’ll fill your home with with fur, fun and affection.

How Big Do American Eskimo Dogs Get?

American Eskimo Dogs come in three sizes — toy, miniature and standard — ranging in weight from 6-35 pounds.

Toy9″ – 12″ at the shoulder6-10 lbs
Miniature12″-15″ at the shoulder10-20 lbs
Standard15″-19″ at the shoulder25-35 lbs

What Do American Eskimo Dogs Look Like?

Compact, Eskies are relatively lean under their billowing fur. Full-coated in White or White and Biscuit, their celebrity good looks and proud posture give Hollywood a run for its money.

Their petite wedge-shaped muzzle is tipped with a brown or black nose. Ears are small, erect and framed with a heavy mane — dark eyes are the standard. Tails are heavy-set with hair and carried loosely over the back.

Barreling toward you for hugs, the overall impression is of a white whirlwind. A spitz breed, the American Eskimo dog is often confused with the equally white but significantly larger Samoyed.

What Is The Personality Of An American Eskimo Dog?

Intelligent, outgoing and showy, Eskies were mainstays in the early entertainment industry, and they continue to amuse today. They crave attention and expect you to be their audience.

Adaptable to any living environment, Eskies are happy indoors or out as long as they get enough exercise. Social animals, they want little more than to be with family and will be miserable if left alone for long hours. If you have time on your hands and need a new best friend, you’ve found one.

How Much Exercise Do American Eskimo Dogs Need?

Few dogs can get into trouble faster than a bored Eskie. Without enough activity, they’ll go from energetic to high-strung.

The good news for owners is that the time commitment isn’t all hands-on. A brisk, 20-30 minute walk once a day is enough to keep them physically fit — they’re good jogging partners. With a secure play area and mentally engaging toys, they’ll entertain themselves the rest of the time.

How Much Grooming Does An American Eskimo Dog Need?

Eskies shed constantly, so regular brushing is the key to a healthy coat and a clean home. Use a slicker or pin brush over the torso and tail. A rake or metal comb reaches down to the skin in areas where hair is thickest over the neck and hindquarters — tangles are common beneath the legs and behind the ears.

A light misting with a detangling spray makes combing easier and discourages matting. Long coats can be clipped to a few inches long to simplify grooming, but the Eskie’s light skin is sensitive to the sun, so leave enough length to prevent burning.

Naturally resistant to dirt, brushing is usually enough to keep them clean — frequent bathing isn’t necessary. Genetically prone to dark tear stains beneath their eyes, daily cleansing with a warm wet washcloth is the best solution — bleaching products can be toxic. However, no matter how hard you work on this your dog will likely have some level of staining – it’s inevitable.

A monthly ear check is essential for catching infections early. If your Eskie spends a lot of time outdoors in the sun, consider spritzing their ears daily with a dog-safe sunscreen — products for humans can be harmful. Check their nails every few weeks and trim them with clippers or an emery board if you hear them clicking on the floor.

What Kind of Dog Food Is Good For An American Eskimo Dog?

American Eskimo Dogs require no special dietary considerations other than they tend to lean towards obesity as they get older (at least the dogs in my practice have). Some may tend towards being underweight if they aren’t big eaters.

Before we start with the food lists, just know that grain-free dog foods are a myth. There’s zero science showing that they are helpful. In fact, there’s increasing evidence that it’s causing issues in certain breeds of dogs. Food allergies are the only reason to even consider a grain-free diet but only choose one with the help of your veterinarian.

Basic dog foods that I recommend include:

How Long Does A American Eskimo Dog Live?

13-15 years based on information from the AKC

What Health Problems Can American Eskimo Dogs Have?

In my veterinary practice, the most common health issues I see with my American Eskimo Dog patients include:

  • Luxating Patella
  • Dental Disease (the smaller the version, the more there’s dental issues)
  • Obesity as they get older

Where Can I Find Out More About The American Eskimo Dog?

American Eskimo Dog Club of America

AKC Breed Page

Where Can I Find An American Eskimo Dog?

Breeder List from the American Eskimo Dog Club of America

AKC Puppy Marketplace

Looking for a Rescue? The national breed club provides a list of good Rescues here.

Interesting Facts About the American Eskimo Dog

American Eskimo Dogs are a fascinating breed.

Did you know?

• They’re Neither American Nor Eskimo

Eskies come from Germany, traveling to the American Midwest with German immigrants in the early 1800s. Known as the German Spitz, their name was changed in the early 1900s with the start of World War I as anti-German sentiment grew. How the name “Eskimo Dog,” originated, however, is still a mystery since there’s no known connection to the indigenous Eskimo culture — records suggest they were named after a local kennel.

• The Breed Standard is Very Specific

Eskies are among the few dogs with little to no physical variations — the breed standard specifies every detail down to eye, skin, nose and lip shade. All white coats are preferred — only a few cream or biscuit-colored tips are acceptable. The standard is so specific it states that a show dog’s whiskers can’t be trimmed.

It’s a strange turn of events for a dog that was once the victim of color limitations. White Keeshonds, likely progenitors of the German Spitz Dog, were rejected by European kennel clubs in favor of a stricter color standard. They were eventually crossbred with other dogs to develop the German Spitz.

• They’re Acrobats

Eskies were stars of the Vaudeville stage. Highly trainable and eager to perform, they were popular attractions in traveling circuses. The most well-known was Pierre, a tightrope walker with the Barnum & Bailey Circus in the 1930s. Today, you can find Eskies on YouTube amazing viewers with spectacular stunts.

They’re Unpopular for an Unusual Reason

Eskies rank just 122nd on the American Kennel Club’s list of most popular dogs. Why? Despite their long history in the United States, the AKC was slow to recognize them.

Every dog has a path to popularity, including the formation of a parent club and official recognition. But since the United Kennel Club already recognized the breed in 1913, there was less urgency among early enthusiasts to pursue AKC honors.

Today, more Eskies are still registered with the UKC. Fewer compete in AKC events so breed awareness is low. To date, no Eskie has won either a group or Best in Show title at the Westminster Dog Show.