American Eskimo Dog

Originally known as the American Spitz, the dog acquired its new name in 1917. Its nick-name is the Eskie. It was bred exclusively as a household companion dog.


The breed has been popular in America since the beginning of the 20th century, but it is little-known elsewhere. Its main ancestors first arrived in the US during the 19th century with German immigrants who could not bear to be parted from their white spitz dogs. At about the same time, Volpinos from Italy, Keeshonds from Holland and Pomeranians from Germany were also appearing in American cities, and some of these other European spitz breeds may have contributed in a minor way to the ancestry of the new, American breed.

Note: Several recent authors have suggested that the German white spitz dogs arrived in the United States in the 17th century, but this is incorrect since major German immigrations did not occur until the 18th century and it was not until the middle of the 19th century that Germans of the social class most likely to have kept these little companion dogs arrived in the New World.

Although this is a snow-loving breed, the American Eskimo dog is badly named, because its modern title misleadingly suggests that it is a miniature version of the big, sled-pulling Canadian Eskimo Dog, rather than a descendant of German spitz breeds. The explanation for the change in name from Spitz to Eskimo is simple. The political atmosphere in America during WW I was such that nobody wished to have a dog with obvious German connections. The German term "Spitz", meaning "sharp point", which was first introduced by them in the 15th century to denote northern dogs. Just as the German Shepherd Dog became the Alsatian, so the American Spitz became the American Eskimo, and thus distanced itself from its true, Germanic origins.

In 1985 the American Eskimo Dog Association was formed and the breed was officially accepted by the AKC in 1995.


Looking rather like a miniature Samoyed, with its thick white coat, dense ruff, pricked ears, and heavily plumed, up-curled tail, this hardy breed was gradually reduced in bulk by careful, selective breeding, until it was the ideal size for a household companion.


Its owners claim that it has the perfect canine personality, being unusually intelligent, sensitive, alert, playful, energetic, cooperative, trainable, devoted and ideal with children. Although a good watchdog, it only barks and never bites. Some owners admit that it can occasionally be stubborn and headstrong, but point out that with proper training, this is not a problem.

American Eskimo Toy

For many years, the smallest American Eskimo Dog was the Miniature, but then, after years of selective breeding, an even more reduced breed was created, to be called the Toy American Eskimo.

This breed is 9-12 in (23-31 cm) in height and 16-10 lb (3-5 kg) in weight. There is still argument as to whether it should be classified as a separate breed, but if its popularity increases, this distinction will eventually gain general recognition, as it has with other types of diminutive companion dog.

Gallery of American Eskimo Dog