Characteristics and Care of the American Eskimo (Eskie) Dog Breed

Standing side profile of an American Eskimo Dog

The American Eskimo dog is a cheerful white dog that resembles a tiny husky in appearance. Despite its name, the dog breed is native to the Midwest of the United States, where it has long functioned as a farm dog. These talking dogs come in three sizes, all of which are white and have perky ears. American Eskimo dogs are playful and mischievous, and their high-energy antics keep their owners on their toes. For the proper owner, this breed is the ideal combination of intelligence and beauty.

Breed Overview


HEIGHT: 9 to 12 inches (toy variety); 12 to 15 inches (miniature variety); 15 to 19 inches (standard variety)

WEIGHT: 6 to 10 pounds (toy); 10 to 20 pounds (miniature); 25 to 35 pounds (standard)

COAT: Thick, glossy double-coat with thick ruff around neck and chest

COAT COLOR: Pure white, sometimes slightly cream-colored

LIFE SPAN: 13 to 15 years

TEMPERAMENT: Intelligent, alert, friendly, reserved, protective


ORIGIN: United States

Characteristics of the American Eskimo Dog

With strangers, this sensitive breed can range from pleasant and easygoing to overly vigilant and reticent. While many American Eskimo dogs make wonderful family pets, some struggle with the demands of daily life.

Affection Level Medium
Friendliness Medium
Kid-Friendly Medium
Pet-Friendly Medium
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness High
Energy Level High
Trainability High
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark High
Amount of Shedding Medium

History of the American Eskimo Dog

The Eskie, or American Eskimo Dog, was developed by German immigrants in the upper Midwest of the United States, not by Eskimos. German farm proprietors in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio introduced dogs, an all-around farm dog.

The German spitz, like most spitz breeds, featured a curled tail, a thick coat, and pointed ears. Over time, the species evolved into its bright all-white variety, and its endearing appearance and quick wit gained it a spot in circuses and theatrical acts. Pierre, an American Eskimo dog and tightrope walker from the Barnum & Bailey Circus, was one of the most renowned canines of all time.

Due to anti-German prejudice, the name of the German spitz breed was altered after World War I. The name "American Eskimo" was selected to commemorate the same-named Ohio breeding kennel. Despite having a lengthy history as an all-purpose farm dog in the Midwest, the breed was only recognized by the AKC in 1995.

American Eskimo dogs still make excellent training partners for trick dogs, obedience, agility, and more, but they’re generally kept as pets rather than working farm dogs.

American Eskimo Dog Care

Eskies are known for being "active" dogs who require far more exercise and mental stimulation than other petite, white, fluffy breeds such as shih tzus and bichon frises. Unlike those breeds, Eskies were once used as working dogs. Give your dog an hour of exercise each day, as well as three different training sessions each week. Toys that disperse food and trick training are both entertaining methods to keep your dog's mind active.


These dogs require both mental and physical challenges. A stroll or even a game of fetch would not enough. This breed quickly becomes destructive and noisy if not given enough exercise and stimulation. Bark collars may stop your dog from barking, but they are more likely to create misdirected frustration in the form of digging, gnawing, or other distress behaviors. Hikes, exercise walks, and are all good ways to keep your American Eskimo dog happy.


Grooming American Eskimo dogs demands continual attention since this petite, hairy breed may rapidly become out of control. Brushing these dogs many times a week will help keep their hair under control and prevent shedding. Mats around the harness, collar, ears, and rump should be worked out with great care. Grooming equipment for long-haired double-coated dogs often include rakes, bristle brushes, rotating-tooth combs, and wire pin brushes. Even in the summer, don't shave Eskies since it will destroy their double coat and impair their capacity to cope with heat and cold.


Because American Eskimo dogs are naturally stubborn, you'll need to train them or you'll end up with an obstinate puppy. Puppies will require socialization training, while older Eskies may require obedience training. With an Eskie, keep training lighter and fun, and don't expect perfection from this breed. If a session becomes too difficult, try to make it easy or end it for the day.

Common Health Problems

The American Eskimo dog is a relatively healthy dog breed, probably due to its recent history as a working dog. This breed is vulnerable to conditions such as: 

  • : This is a condition in which the dog's hip sockets form abnormally.
  • : This is a condition in which the kneecap dislocates from its normal position.
  • : The condition is a metabolism disorder in which the glucose-insulin connection doesn't work properly.

While diabetes has a strong hereditary component, it's also critical to feed your dog high-quality food on a regular basis. Even if your dog isn't overweight, free-feeding (offering food at all times) and high-fat diets can lead to diabetes.

Finding a competent breeder and ensuring that they perform necessary health tests will help you prevent some of these issues. Keep in mind that good health testing entails much more than simply a veterinarian examination—to rule out hereditary concerns, the parent dogs typically require genetic testing and/or medical imaging. With enough exercise and high-quality food, you can guarantee that your dog has a long and healthy life while it is in your house.

Diet and Nutrition

Despite its innate athleticism, the American Eskimo dog is prone to weight gain. This might be related to genetics or the fact that their thick fur makes it difficult to see if they're gaining weight. You may get a sense of your dog's genuine size by rubbing its ribs with your hands. You should be able to easily feel the definition in your dog's hips and a few ribs, albeit they should not protrude.

Puzzle feeders let your dog relax and burn off energy while still allowing him to enjoy his high-quality dog chow. Avoid high-fat foods with this breed since it may raise their diabetes risk, which is already high.

Where to Adopt or Buy an American Eskimo Dog

It may be difficult, but not impossible, to find this purebred dog in a shelter or rescue, therefore you may need to resort to a breeder. The American Eskimo Dog Club of America is a fantastic location to start your search for an adoptive Eskie from a breeder or rescue group. Just keep in mind that the club does not approve or supervise any of its breeding members' activities.

American Eskimo Dog Overview

  • Playful

  • Intelligent

  • Easy and fun to train

  • High-maintenance (require lots of attention and care)

  • Nuisance barker

  • Tends to destructive behavior if not provided sufficient stimulation

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

Before getting an American Eskimo dog, you should look at other comparable breeds to see how their personality and needs compare. To learn more, talk to owners, breeders, and rescue groups, as well as meet a few American Eskimo dogs in person.

If you’re interested in related breeds, check out:

Otherwise, check out all of our other . There’s the perfect companion out there for everyone!

  • Are Eskies good dogs for families with very young children?

    These dogs require a great deal of attention and care, making them tough companions for busy households. Their high-energy personality might be too much for smaller children, even though they frequently play nicely with older children.

  • Are American Eskimo dogs good apartment dogs?

    This breed is known for a wide variety of barks, yips, yowls, and even screams that can drive your neighbors batty if left unchecked. For this reason, Eskies can be too vocal for apartment dwellers.

  • What can Eskies be trained to do?

    This breed is often intelligent and easy to teach. Teaching different tricks to American Eskimo dogs, such as "wave" or "sit nicely," can actually serve as an exercise for your dog's back and core muscles. You might be inspired to seek an AKC Trick Dog Title after having so much fun training these pups.