American Eskimo Dog

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American Eskimo dog breed
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Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:

13 to 15 years

Size:

Small

Maintenance Level:

High

Shed Level:

Very High

Temperament:

Social ButterflyEnergeticSuper Smart

Coat Color:

WhiteWhite & Biscuit
Blue Ribbon

Best For

Once stars of the big top, American Eskimo Dogs are energetic pups best for pet parents who can provide plenty of attention and socialization and don't mind spending time grooming their fluffy coat. They can thrive in big and small spaces, and can live well with two- and four-legged friends.

American Eskimo Dog Traits

American Eskimo Dog Temperament

The American Eskimo Dog (aka the American Spitz) has an outgoing, intelligent and friendly temperament, which means this breed is very trainable and makes a fabulous best friend. These extroverted pups form strong attachments to their people and want to spend every moment with their loved ones.

Eskies are known to be friendly and social, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t socialize your pup! Early socialization helps your dog make new friends (either two- or four-legged) throughout their life. If they’ve had plenty of socialization as puppies, they can live well with cats, other dogs and kids. Because they’re on the small side, small kids and babies may accidentally hurt your pup, so be sure to supervise all pupper/kiddo playtime. The Eskie’s personality is full of charm, and they live to be the center of attention.

How to Care for a American Eskimo Dog

With a dog this gorgeous, maintenance is required. American Eskimos shed, and that coat needs a lot of care to keep it fluffy and fabulous. Eskies are also high-energy pups, which means you’ll spend a lot of time exercising and training them. But hey—that just means you have more time to bond with and love on this wonderful pup.

American Eskimo Dog Health

American Eskimos have a life expectancy of 13-15 years, and they don’t have a lot of health issues. Many of these issues are hereditary, so only purchase your puppy from a reputable breeder who screens their pups. If you’re adopting an Eskie, be sure to get a copy of the vet wellness exam to see if the dog already suffers from one of these health problems. 

  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a condition where the hip joint isn’t formed properly. Dogs with this condition can experience difficulty walking, and the condition can get worse over time. In some cases, hip dysplasia is hereditary. Although the severity can vary, treatments like pain medication, joint supplement, physical therapy or surgery are often recommended 
  • Patellar Luxation: Genetics play a significant part in an American Eskimo potentially developing patellar luxation. This is a common condition where the kneecap can shift sideways (called luxating). In severe cases, surgery may be recommended, but mild cases may be treated with joint supplements or medications.    
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: American Eskimos can inherit progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which is a degenerative disease that gradually causes blindness. While there currently isn’t a treatment for PRA, the disease isn’t painful or life-threatening. A pup who loses vision can still lead a happy life. Genetic testing can be performed on breeding dogs to ensure it isn’t passed on to future generations. 
  • Juvenile Cataracts: Just like humans, dogs can develop cataracts and experience vision loss. Juvenile cataracts develop during the early stages of a dog’s life and can be hereditary. In some cases, surgery may be an option. 

American Eskimo Dog History

The American Eskimo breed has its origins in dogs who lived 6,000 years ago. These Nordic breeds, also called the German Spitz dogs, included the Pomeranian, Samoyed and Keeshond. These pups possess many of the distinctive traits the Eskie reflects today, including double coats and pointed ears.

During the early 1800s, German immigrants began settling in America. These farmers brought along their beautiful and easily trainable companions: German Spitz dogs. Around this time, traveling circuses were very popular, and, slowly but surely, the dogs “ran off with the circus” and became circus performers. Barnum and Bailey famously featured Eskies who danced to music alongside clowns! Their brilliantly white coats, perky personalities and remarkable intelligence made the American Eskimo Dog’s ancestors born performers.

In 1917, America entered World War I, and the German Spitz’s name was changed to the American Eskimo Dog due to a nationwide scorn for anything of German origin. (Today, the German Spitz and the Eksie are two separate breeds.) The American Kennel Club registered the American Eskimo Dog in 1995, and the rest (as they say) is history.

Are you ready to make this pup your companion dog? You can find a list of reputable American Eskimo Dog breeders on the American Kennel Club’s website. The price for a puppy ranges from $1,200 to $3,000. But for that price, you’re likely getting a pup who’s been screened for health and temperament issues and may come with pedigree papers. You can also contact a local Eskie rescue, watch for the breed at your local shelter or search Chewy’s database of adoptable dogs in your area.

FAQs

Do American Eskimos shed?

American Eskimos shed a lot. In addition to blowing their coats twice a year during the spring and fall, they shed daily. (Blowing their coat means they shed chunks of fur instead of individual hairs.) Be prepared to spend lots of time grooming your dog, and keep a heavy-duty vacuum and lint roller at the ready!

How long do American Eskimos live?

American Eskimos live between 13-15 years. Feeding your dog a high-quality food, keeping an eye on their weight and taking them to the vet for regular checkups can help keep them healthy and make them more likely to live a long and happy life.

Are American Eskimos good family dogs?

American Eskimos can be good family dogs as long as they’re well-trained and well-socialized. This breed is highly social and affectionate, and your Eskie will quickly become an important member of your family.

Do American Eskimos bark a lot?

Yes, American Eskimo Dogs bark a lot. They can become especially vocal if they lack proper socialization or exercise. Eskies may channel their excess energy into barking and other destructive behaviors, so make sure their exercise needs are met and that they receive the attention that they crave.

What are the most common American Eskimo mixes?

  • American Eskimo-Pomeranian mix (Eskiranian or Eskipom)
  • American Eskimo-Husky mix (Huskimo)
  • American Eskimo-Poodle mix (Eskapoo)
  • American Eskimo-Shiba Inu mix (Imo-Inu)
  • American Eskimo-Chihuahua mix (Chimo)

Note: These are not purebred dogs but mixed breeds.

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Top Takeaways

American Eskimos are highly energetic and very smart pups who need an active pet parent able to give them the exercise and attention they crave (and to care for that gorgeous coat). These dogs are a great choice if you’re looking for a loyal and loving companion who will become the center of your universe.

Expert input provided by veterinarian Dr. Carol Osborne, DVM, a board-certified diplomate of the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine and founder and director of the Chagrin Falls Veterinary Center and Pet Clinic, and certified dog trainer Carol Saunders, CTC, PCT-A, CTDI, owner of Positive Pooches.

Breed characteristic ratings provided by veterinarian Dr. Sarah J. Wooten, DVM, CVJ, a veterinarian at Sheep Draw Veterinary Hospital in Greeley, Colorado; dog trainer and behavior consultant Irith Bloom, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA, CDBC, owner of The Sophisticated Dog, LLC, in Los Angeles; and certified animal behavior consultant Amy Shojai, CABC, in Sherman, Texas.

The health content was medically reviewed by Chewy vets.

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Top American Eskimo Dog Names

These are the top American Eskimo Dog names as chosen by Chewy's pet parents!

Female Names

  • Luna
  • Sasha
  • Daisy
  • Elsa
  • Aspen
  • Bella
  • Lucy
  • Mochi
  • Winter
  • Lily

Male Names

  • Milo
  • Zeus
  • Charlie
  • Loki
  • Max
  • Buddy
  • Ghost
  • Mochi
  • Leo
  • Toby