American Eskimo Dog Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Information

American Eskimo Dog Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Information

American Eskimo dogs are classed as one of the Spitz breeds, a group of northern dogs, including the Pomeranian, Chow-Chow, Samoyed, and more. The Spitz breeds are characterized by long, dense coats, pointed, erect ears, and fluffy tails curving over their backs. Spitz has become a term used for any small dog with long white hair. Different Spitz breeds share character traits like intelligent, friendly, and alert medium-sized dogs. The American Eskimo Dog comes in three sizes, toy, miniature and standard, with heights ranging between 9 and 19 inches. American Eskimo dogs have several nicknames, some referring to their connection to the Spitz dog breeds. The most affectionate name is Eskie, and others include Eskimo Spitz, American Spitz, and Spitz Welpen, in reference to their German ancestors. Eskies are alert, friendly and fiercely intelligent and one of the easiest breeds to train. Underscored by the fact that they were trained as circus dogs in years gone by. Today, American Eskimos are one of the most popular companion dog breeds.

View Table of Contents

What are the Breed Traits and Characteristics of American Eskimo Dogs?

American Eskimos are loyal family dogs that crave the attention of their human families. They can be stubborn, a typical trait of very intelligent dogs. Eskies make good watchdogs but are known to bark excessively. American Eskimos are wary of strangers, which could become excessive if their owners don’t socialize them properly. Socialization and proper introduction to strangers typically help them accept strangers their owners deem safe. Below are more of the character traits of American Eskimo dogs.

American Eskimo Dog


Relationship with Family

Friendly, affectionate, craving attention

Relationship with Children 

Friendly, affectionate, playful

Relationship with Other Dogs

Sociable, but not to be trusted with other small pets

Shedding Level


Drooling Level


Coat Type

Dense undercoat and a long outer coat

Coat Color

White, sometimes with biscuit or cream patches

Grooming Frequency

Brushing at least 3 times per week



Barking frequency


Relationship with Strangers

Wary at first

Playfulness Level

Love playing with adults, children and pets

Adaptability Level


Trainability Level


Energy Levels


Exercise needs


Mental stimulation needs


Protective of territory and family

Highly protective and very alert

Guard dog ability

They make excellent guard- and watchdogs

Although Eskies don’t need a lot of exercise, they need plenty of toys and things to do. Highly intelligent dogs become destructive when they are bored, and they might destroy gardens, furniture and seek anything to keep themselves busy. 

What are the Physical Traits of the American Eskimo Dog?

American Eskimo Dogs are well-balanced, compact dogs with agile, alert, and cheeky attitudes. An Eskie’s most distinctive feature is its fluffy white coat. Some of the physical traits that make Eskies sought-after companion dogs are listed below.

Physical Trait



Medium, miniature and toy-size

Weight Range

Toy Males and Females between 6 and 10 pounds

Miniature Males and Females between 10 and 17 pounds

Standard and Females between 18 and 35 pounds

Height at the withers

Toy Males and Females between 9 and 12 inches

Miniature Males and Females between 12 and 15 inches

Standard Males and Females between 15 and 20 inches


Firm but not overly muscled


Deep and broad with well-sprung ribs


Slightly crowned and softly wedge-shaped


Broad, well proportioned in width and length with the skull


Triangular shaped, erect


Medium to dark brown eyes shaped slightly oval, almost round




Set high, medium-length carried casually, or hooked over the back.

Exercise Need


Litter size and frequency

Average 5 puppies once per year

Life Expectancy

12 to 14 years

What is the General Information about American Eskimo Dogs?

The American Eskimo Dog breed was popular in circuses and other entertainment forms during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The dogs were admired for their beautiful coats, alert expressions, and training abilities. The successes of the performing dogs made the breed popular as families fell in love with them. Eskies are intelligent, and their curious natures enable them to solve problems with fantastic speed. When it comes to obedience training, agility, tricks, and other activities needing brain power, American Eskimos excel. In any dog breed, intelligence breeds independence and stubbornness, which is why obedience training is vital. If not, that tiny white ball of fluff might become the pack leader. A firm hand is necessary to teach the Eskie its pack status and respect the leader.  

How Does the American Eskimo Dog Interact with Family?

American Eskimo Dogs are loyal, loving, and eager to please their human families. Eskies do well around kids of all ages, as long as the dogs are socialized and introduced to the children early. Excessive barking when an Eskie encounters a stranger makes them reliable watchdogs, but their guard dog skills might be questionable because they are so friendly. American Eskimo Dogs typically take their cues from their owners when they meet strangers. If the pet parents’ behavior shows no threats exist, Eskies will gladly welcome the strangers.

How Do American Eskimo Dogs Interact with Other Dogs? 

Typically, American Eskimos tolerate other dogs, and they enjoy having canine playmates of just about any size. However, Eskies’ protectiveness should not be ignored. It is always better to have pups grow up together. Still, proper socialization and introduction when new canines or even baby humans are brought into a home can prevent jealousy and resentment. It is crucial to ensure baby, new pup and older Eskie receive the same amount of attention.

What are the Differences Between the American Eskimo Dog Sexes?

There are differences between males and female American Eskimo dogs. However, most people would only notice the differences if they saw a male and female Eskie next to each other. The first difference is their heights from the shoulder to the Eskimo Spitz’s foot touching the floor. In most cases, the female Eskies are one inch shorter than the males. There is also a difference between the coats of the male and female American Eskimo dogs. A male Eskimo dog’s coat is more lavish and thicker than the female coat. Male Eskies have thicker undercoats, which pushes the hair around their necks to look like luxurious manes. 

How to Feed an American Eskimo Dog?

American Eskimo dogs eat a bit more than other similar-sized dogs because they are more active and energetic. However, Eskies who no longer spend a lot of time running and burning up calories due to age will likely still want to eat the same food. It would be up to the owner to adjust the elderly Eskie’s meals accordingly. American Eskimos are prone to becoming overweight, and without control, it could cause obesity and shorten their lives significantly. Obesity can also increase the risk of several diseases. Strict portion control is essential, and sharing scraps or snacks from the table should be avoided. Recommended Food Brands that offer balanced food for American Eskimo Dogs are listed below.

  • Food for American Eskimo Dog Puppies:
      • Fresh Food Option: Nom Nom veterinary nutritionists offer four recipes, including beef, pork, chicken, and duck, combined with real, fresh foods, good enough for people to eat, and developed for your Eskie’s unique needs.
      • Dry Kibble Option: As a puppy, your Eskie needs a minimum of 22% protein and 8% fat in its diet to grow healthy muscle and to provide for its energy needs. A medium-breed puppy recipe like INSTINCT Be Natural Puppy Real Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Dog Food will meet your Eskie’s minimum requirements without risking overgrowth. If your puppy grows too fast it could increase his risk for musculoskeletal issues like hip dysplasia as an adult.
  • Food for American Eskimo Adult Dogs:
      • Fresh Food Option: Ollie’s 100% human-grade recipes step up to the plate with real, high-quality ingredients for happier, healthier mealtimes for Adult American Eskimo dogs.
      • Dry Kibble Option: When your Eskimo Dog reaches its full size, it needs a minimum of 18% protein and 5% fat. Holistic Select Chicken Meal & Oatmeal Large Dog Food will provide more protein to maintain lean muscle mass and extra fat that may be needed for highly active dogs. Joint-supporting nutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin are also important.
  • Food for American Eskimo Senior Dogs: 
    • Fresh Food Option: Farmer’s Dog Choose from a variety of fresh, personally portioned recipes, including chicken, beef, turkey and more.
    • Dried Kibble Option: Senior dogs need uniquely formulated food like AvoDerm Natural Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Senior Formula. It contains ample protein for lean muscle mass with moderate fat for energy, and it is supplemented with glucosamine and chondroitin, as well as essential nutrients for balanced nutrition.

What are the nutritional needs of the American Eskimo Dog?

The nutritional needs of an American Eskimo Dog include high levels of specific nutrients. The essential nutrients for Eskimo dogs are listed below:

  • Protein: American Eskimo Dogs need natural animal protein, valuable for the amino acids they contain that are essential for Eskies’ health. Equally important is the fact that protein builds lean muscles and provides energy.
  • Fat: Animal protein also provides adequate fat, an additional energy source that boosts the American Eskimo Dog’s metabolism. However, there is a fine line between enough and too much. Excessive fat levels in the dog’s daily diet could result in weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. Most importantly, adult dogs and senior dogs need lower fat levels than puppies.
  • Carbohydrates: Although carbs are not essential nutrients, they are crucial energy sources. Giving the American Eskimo Dog sufficient carbs will provide energy, encouraging the body’s absorption of protein to build lean muscle. Beware, though, too much carbohydrate can lead to obesity.
  • DHA: DHA is one of the components of omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes proper eye and brain development in American Eskimo Dog puppies. DHA develops cognitive development in puppies and slows cognitive decline in older dogs. Furthermore, omega fatty acids benefit aging dogs by treating chronic kidney disease and canine arthritis. Omega-3 oils improve the coat health of Eskimo dogs.
  • Micronutrient: Taurine is one micronutrient that aids heart health, and other valuable micronutrients for the promotion of strong joints in American Eskimo Dogs are chondroitin and glucosamine.
  • Minerals: Beneficial minerals for an Eskie’s growth include a healthy balance of phosphorus and calcium. Pre- and probiotics and chelated minerals provide additional health to the diets of American Eskimo Dogs.

How Much Should an American Eskimo Dog Puppy Eat?

The American Eskimo Dog is a medium-to-large breed. Guidance for feeding puppies is listed below.

  • American Eskimo Dog puppies need slow, sustained growth to help prevent orthopedic problems, such as hip dysplasia. Raise them on a diet designed for large-breed puppies or food for adult dogs. Whatever diet you choose shouldn’t overemphasize protein, fat, and calorie levels.
  • American Eskimo Dog puppies need a lower-calorie diet than what’s provided by most puppy foods because they’re also prone to hip dysplasia.
  • American Eskimo Dogs should be fed according to a schedule, spreading meal times over two or three times per day. Getting the puppy accustomed to meals at specific times is better than leaving food out to allow feeding throughout the day.
  • American Eskimo Dogs with medical conditions like hypoglycemia or low blood sugar are the exceptions because they need to nibble bits of food throughout the day.
  • Never feed your puppy from the table. It only encourages begging. Everyone in the family must follow this rule.

American Eskimo Dogs should eat a healthy, balanced diet because of the intense exercise they need every day. Eskies have a tendency to become overweight as they get older, so it’s important to monitor how much food they’re consuming from the time they are puppies. In addition, they have a risk for hip dysplasia, and joint supplements can keep them feeling healthy.

What are the American Eskimo Dog’s Breed-Related Health Concerns?

American Eskimo Dogs are predisposed to several health problems, some of which are listed below.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy, also called PRA, is an inherited progressive disease of the retina that leads to blindness in affected American Eskimo Dogs.
  • Juvenile cataracts can be a problem for some relatively young Eskies. It is thought to be hereditary. When buying an American Eskimo Dog puppy, ask the breeder if her stock is certified by the Canine Eye Registration Foundation and ask to see the certificates.
  • Hip dysplasia is a deformation that occurs and develops as puppies grow. It is caused by loose joints that prevent the ball part of one bone from sliding smoothly in the socket of the other joint bone. Instead, it grinds and rubs in the joint, causing painful wear and tear damage as the Eskie grows and becomes heavier. Although it could start in puppyhood, it usually only becomes evident in adult dogs, making annual medical examinations crucial.

American Eskimo Dog Club of America, Inc. recommends Eskie parents have the following three health tests done:

  1. Hip Evaluation
  2. PRA Optigen DNA Test
  3. Ophthalmologist Evaluation

What are the Exercise Needs of an American Eskimo Dog?

American Eskimo Dogs are large dogs in small-dog bodies. While 20 to 30 minutes of vigorous walking per day will suffice, they will be easier to handle if they get more exercise. American Eskimo Dogs who do not get their share of exercise can become destructive. They do well in busy households because their energy helps them keep up with everyone. Without playtime with kids, other dogs or toys to chew, they will become rambunctious and bored, which they usually express by barking, digging, and destructive chewing.

What is the Shedding Level of an American Eskimo Dog?

American Eskimo Dogs shed a lot, and they require frequent brushing to cut down on the amount of fur left around the house. Brushing also prevents matting. A thorough brushing two or three times a week is advised. However, Eskie owners might not realize that sudden changes in normal shedding volumes could be a red flag indicating underlying medical issues. The signs that might indicate the need for medical checks are listed below.

  • Poor nutrition
  • Food allergic reactions
  • Parasites, fleas, lice and so on
  • Pregnancy for female dogs
  • Bacteria problems
  • Cancer
  • Kidney, liver, thyroid diseases
  • Immune problems
  • Specific medication
  • Sunburn
  • Contact with irritating materials
  • Self-caused injury from licking

Discuss any unfamiliar excessive shedding in your American Eskimo Dog with a vet. You can avoid the most severe health conditions in your Eskie with early diagnoses.

What are the Social Traits of the American Eskimo Dog?

The social traits of dogs in the American Eskimo Dog breed are affectionate and lovable. They crave constant attention, and it is not uncommon for them to climb into the laps of their human family members without invitation. Their social traits are listed below.

  • Child Friendly: American Eskimo Dogs are kid-friendly and patient canine companions, making them ideal for families with children.
  • Family Friendly: Eskies are affectionate with their human families and submissive to their masters. The innate pack mentality will undoubtedly have the Eskie vie for pack leader status, needing a firm owner to take the lead.
  • Stranger Wary: American Eskimo Dogs watch their owners for cues on how to treat strangers. Any sign of threat to their family will trigger their protective skills.
  • Dog Wary: Properly socialized American Eskimo Dogs will be fine with strange dogs. However, Eskies tend to be jealous when a new arrival in the family receives more attention than they do.
  • Seniors Friendly:  American Eskimo Dogs are as friendly with older people as with other family members. Eskies are ideal for older people living in apartments, as long as they are taken for a daily walk and have lots of toys to keep them busy when they are inside. 

Is the American Eskimo Dog Playful?

American Eskimo puppies are very energetic, and they can never get enough of playing. Even if all the kids are at school, Eskies will find something to play with, and if there are no toys around, they may become destructive; digging up the garden or chewing furniture might be their choice of activity to stay busy.  

Is the American Eskimo Dog Protective?

American Eskimo Dogs are protective of their families, but they are typically wary and reserved with strangers. Therefore, care is necessary when you have visitors, especially if some guests are children. Strange children might be excited to see the fluffy Eskie and approach before your canine companion has deemed the strangers non-threatening.  

What are the Adaptability Levels of American Eskimo Dogs?

The American Eskimo dog will do well wherever you take it. However, their favorite climate is cold, snowy regions. It’s hard to explain the experience of watching an Eskie play in the snow. They could play in the snow and even water for hours without risking harm. However, they are adaptable and would live anywhere as long as their beloved humans are with them. Eskies will happily live in apartments, city homes, or even on farms or ranches. While they love playing outside, they love it most when the children join them. American Eskimo dogs are not happy being left alone and should not sleep outdoors at night..

What are the Personality Traits of the American Eskimo Dog?

American Eskimo Dogs are easy to train, fiercely intelligent, loving, and reasonably easy to groom. However, novice dog parents should know Eskies also need lots of physical activity and firm, ongoing physical and mental training. Only those who can keep up with endless play sessions and walks would make a good match with the endless source of energy of the Eskimo dogs. They do best if they have access to very secure yards to room and play. 

How to Train an American Eskimo Dog?

The intelligence and natural eagerness to please make American Eskimo Dogs easy to train, as any instruction that you can give them they’ll soak up and be ready for the next one. It is essential to start your Eskie’s training when it joins your family. And with Eskies, training will not last for six or eight weeks, and it must continue for as long as the Eskie lives. Eskies want to learn new tricks or challenges every day. Important, though, is that the entire family participates in the training to avoid the pup listening to only one person’s instructions. Note that positive training is best, with no punitive steps that will cause your Eskie to mistrust you. You don’t need to overload your Eskie with treats, a scratch behind the ears, and making a big fuss over achievements work just as well.

Physical exercise is not enough for highly intelligent dogs, and they need mental stimulation as well. Mental stimulation involves using the Eskie’s mind and external surroundings in activities involving puzzles and other interactive toys and games like scenting games involving hiding treats to be sniffed out. Hide and seek is another perfect way to stimulate American Eskimo Dogs. Exercise and movement are vital to ensure an American Eskimo Dog remains flexible and mobile, maintains a healthy weight and has a low risk of developing medical problems throughout its life. Mental stimulation is essential for an American Eskimo Dog to function optimally. 

Where to Buy or Adopt an American Eskimo Dog?

Prospective customers for purchasing American Eskimo Dogs should not rush into it. It is essential to do some research to find a reputable breeder. Fortunately, there are online services that bring breeders and clients together. Therefore, instead of researching several breeders, the online service can identify a reputable breeder in your area. You can speak to previous clients and, ideally, you should visit the breeder before purchasing. Take the time to ask questions and learn more about the breeder’s previous experience, the lineage of parent dogs, and the general living conditions of the animals. In addition, you should find out which vaccinations your puppy will come with and the documented proof that the necessary health tests are part of the purchase. A few American Eskimo Dog breeders are listed below.

  • Wasatch Eskimo Puppies in Utah Inc.
  • Greenfield Puppies Pennsylvania
  • Euro Puppy is an online Source for American Eskimo breeders for customers worldwide.
  • Paws ‘N’ Pups is an online source to bring American Eskimo breeders and potential customers together in the U.S.A., Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

American Eskimo Puppies are expensive, and buying from backyard breeders or puppy mills can cause significant financial losses. Although puppy prices could be between $800 and $1,500, some breeders advertise Miniature and Toy Eskies at around $3,500 and $4,000.

Where to find Rescue Clubs for American Eskimo Dogs?

American Eskimo Dogs of different ages can be found at rescue centers worldwide, and online rescue services are there to ease the search for the right pup. Still, people must remember the money-chasing puppy mills, backyard breeders, and even pet stores lurking online, offering puppies of questionable breeding techniques at discounted prices. Some even offer discount vouchers if you buy more than one puppy. Please do not fall into their trap.

A few reputable online services are listed below.

  • Adoptapet is an online service to direct prospective American Foxhound parents to rescue centers in their areas.
  • Foxhound Rescue – Nationwide
  • American Kennel Club Marketplace – Nationwide
  • The Westminster Kennel Club in New York directs prospective pet parents in the right direction.
  • Eskie Rescuers United American Eskimo Dog Rescue, Inc.
  • Heart Bandits is a nonprofit organization with chapters across the USA and Canada. 
  • The American Eskimo Dog Club of America, Inc.

Importantly, facilities like those listed here will not risk their reputation by putting people in touch with questionable breeders or rescue facilities. Rescue centers charge about $200 to $300 to cover the costs of caring for the puppies while they wait to be adopted. Although online services make life easier for those seeking Eskies, do your due diligence to ensure you get a healthy American Eskimo puppy.

What is the American Eskimo Dog’s History?

Eskie, or American Eskimo Dogs, originated in Germany and not in the U.S. The dogs descended from the German Spitz breed and came to the United States with their German immigrant owners. German Spitz dogs were used as livestock guards, herders and hunting dogs. However, they quickly became sought-after family pets after arriving on U.S. soil. 

The Eskie was not bred to be a sled dog, despite what its name might suggest. However, they love playing in the snow, and they are excellent agility dogs. American Eskimo Dogs were popular with traveling circuses in the late 19th century. They stood out for their ability to perform agility stunts and were easily trainable. Moreover, their bright white coats allowed them to stand out from the crowd. Their performances in the circus made them become popular companion dogs. Some claim American Eskimo Dogs were the first canines to walk the tightrope. Today, Eskies are still known for the wide variety of tricks they can perform.

How to Name an American Eskimo Dog?

Naming an American Eskimo Dog might require different criteria than new Eskie parents might expect. It is never the actual name the pup responds to; instead, it is the sound and how it is said.

The building blocks necessary include tone and syllables as listed below:

  • American Eskimo Dogs respond best to two-syllable names that are not short enough to be confused with single-syllable command words like “sit,” “come,” and “down.” However, the names are not long enough to become puzzling. Simple examples include Kiki or Karli for girl Eskies and Loki or Yuki for boy puppies.
  • American Eskimo Dog owners dead set on a specific single-syllable name can go with it. But then find a way to stretch the pronunciation of the name to sound like two syllables, such as “Max” stretched into “Maa-hax,” or add a bit when calling the dog, like “Maxi” and using two different tones when calling him.
  • American Eskimo Dogs respond most positively to high-pitched, excited and happy sounds when calling them and soothing, quiet sounds when they get nervous or overzealous.
  • Some American Eskimo Dog parents find their Eskies respond and recognize their names better if they say it in a sing-songy voice.

What are the Different Types of American Eskimo Dogs?

Although some dogs look similar to American Eskimo Dogs, they are not of the same breed. For example, the Canada Eskimo Dog is not of German origin. It is bred and used as a sled dog, and it weighs between 50 and 70 pounds, compared to the American Eskimo’s weight of 17 to 35 pounds.

However, the American Eskimo dog comes in three sizes, Standard, Miniature, and Toy-size. Their sizes are listed below.

American Eskimo Dog Size

Height at the withers


Standard Size Eskie

15 to 20 inches

18 to 35 pounds

Miniature Size Eskie

12 to 15 inches

10 to 17 pounds

Toy Size Eskie

9 to 12 inches

6 to 10 pounds

What Dog Breeds are Similar to the American Eskimo Dog?

American Eskimo Dogs are classed with the Spitz group of breeds. Spitz, a German word that means ‘pointed,’ is used for more than 40 breeds worldwide. They are characterized by their thick, long fur and their pointed ears. Although a significant percentage of them have white coats, many have darker coats of all shades between white and black. They have fluffy tails often curled over their backs. Larger breeds resemble wolves, and the smaller breeds are somewhat fox look-alikes. The origins of many Spitz breeds are not known, but the known ones are from Siberia or the Arctic region. Some of the Spitz breeds resembling the American Eskimo dog with its white coat are listed below.

  1. German Spitz
  2. Japanese Spitz
  3. Pomeranian (often biscuit color)
  4. Samoyed
  5. Indian Spitz
  6. Norwegian Buhund
  7. Volpino
  8. West Siberian Laika
  9. Hokkaido
  10. Korean Jindo
  11. Yakutian Laika
  12. Kishu
  13. Pugsan dog
  14. Canadian Eskimo Dog
  15. Tonya Finosu

Those listed here cover sizes from toy size to large breeds, and they are mostly white. 

See more:

Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.