American Eskimo Dog Breed Overview
The American Eskimo Dog is a fluffy, white-coated breed that comes in Standard, Miniature and Toy sizes. So how big are American Eskimo Dogs? The Standard American Eskimo weighs approximately 30 pounds, and stands 15-19 inches. The Miniature weighs approximately 20 pounds, and stands 12-15 inches. The Toy weighs approximately 10 pounds, and stands 9-12 inches.
The origin of the American Eskimo, commonly known as the Eskie, is not really known. It is believed, though, that they are the descendants of white Keeshonds, Pomeranians and German Spitz dogs that were brought to the United States by German immigrants. Originally, the Eskie was referred to as the American Spitz. For reasons unknown, in 1917, the name was changed to American Eskimo.
Eskies are highly intelligent dogs, and in fact were mainstays in travelling circuses throughout the 19th century. This helped to draw attention to the breed, although the Eskie didn’t really gain a great deal of popularity until the latter part of the 20th century. In 1985, the American Eskimo Dog Club of America was founded. Ten years later, the American Kennel Club recognized the Eskie. So what group is an American Eskimo Dog in? The AKC classifies it as a “non-sporting dog.”
Eskies are active dogs, and make wonderful companions for athletic owners. Properly trained, an American Eskimo Dog can give a family, or a single owner, years of friendship and fun. Keep reading to learn more about this amazing breed!
American Eskimo Dog Price
As is the case with many of the good things in life, quality American Eskimo Dogs don’t come cheap The cost for an Eskie can vary quite a bit, depending on factors like availability, pedigree, litter size, and the reputation of the breeder.
So how much are American Eskimo Dogs going to set you back? At a bare minimum, you can expect to pay around $600. You might get one for less if you don’t care about papers, but in that case it’s buyer beware, and once the breeder has your money, you could actually find out that there’s a little more than just Eskie in your Eskie! That’s just one reason you should make sure to buy only from a reputable breeder (more on that later).
If you’re looking for an Eskie that comes from a superior line, you can expect to pay more. You should also expect to pay more for a dog that is represented as being of show quality. If you want breeding rights, that can also drive up the price. A show quality American Eskimo Dog with papers and breeding rights could set you back anywhere from $1,600 to $4,500, if not more.
Basically, it depends on what you’re looking for. If all you want is a loving companion, American Eskimo Dog prices will tend to be on the lower end of the spectrum. If you want to excel at show, expect to pay accordingly.
American Eskimo Dog Puppies
One of the most wonderful, enjoyable things about owning an American Eskimo Dog is watching him grow from a fluffy, bouncy puppy into a handsome adult. You want to make sure that your Eskie pup is well trained and properly socialized, though, so it’s best to begin training early. Fortunately, American Eskimo Dog puppies are generally intelligent and eager to learn.
The first thing you need to do, even before you bring your Eskie puppy home, is make sure you’re your house is safe. Puppies are a lot like small children – they seem to gravitate toward anything that’s dangerous. So make sure all electrical cords are out of reach, and that cleaning products and other potential toxins are in an area that your puppy can’t get at. Take a good, hard look for any other potential hazards. In other words, puppy-proof your home in the same way that you would child-proof it.
An Eskie puppy should never be left alone. No matter how careful you are, things can happen. So don’t let him wander the house without you. If you can’t keep an eye on him, that’s what crates are for.
Of course we’re not suggesting that you crate your puppy for long periods – only when you’re not at home and able to supervise. Another way of supervising your puppy is the “umbilical cord” method. Basically, you take a long leash – one that, once attached to your puppy’s collar, with the other end tied around your waist, will reach to the outer limit of any room you’re occupying. That way, no matter where you go in the house, your puppy is with you.
Now, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of training your American Eskimo Dog puppy. There are seven basic things every puppy should learn, regardless of breed.
This is absolutely the most important part of your American Eskimo Dog’s training, and it’s the very first thing you want to deal with. Simply stated, a dog that jumps on people is a nuisance. A dog that doesn’t know how to sit, stay, lie down, come and walk at heel might put himself in danger. A badly socialized dog, though, can put humans and other animals at risk. Accordingly, you must begin socializing as soon as you get your puppy home.
Fortunately, socializing your Eskie is easy. All that’s involved is exposing him to as many other animals, people, and situations as possible. Take him with you when you go shopping, and when you’re in the parking lot and people come over to your vehicle wanting to know if they can pet your puppy, let them. Take walks around the neighborhood and let him meet people and other dogs. Invite the neighbors over to meet your new best buddy. You get the idea.
2. House Training
The second thing your Eskie should learn is where you want him to do his business. When house training your Eskie, you need to keep in mind that most puppies need to do their business every couple of hours, and usually about a half hour after they’ve eaten. Take your puppy outside regularly, and wait until he’s done his thing. Then bring him inside. Eventually, that fine American Eskimo mind will kick in, and he’ll get the idea that you want him to do his business in the yard, not in the house.
Keep in mind, though, that accidents are going to happen. When they do, don’t get upset, and don’t punish your puppy. He’s just a baby, and it will be a while before he’s able to hold things in. Just clean up and move on. Make sure to do a thorough cleanup, though, with an odor-busting cleaner. You might not remember where your puppy messed, but he’ll pick up on the least little smell.
With house training out of the way, you can move on to basic obedience. These are skills that every dog needs to learn in order to be a good companion and canine citizen.
Teaching your Eskie to sit is the first step toward everything else you’ll teach him, and it’s a very easy command to learn. Fill your pockets with treats. Face your dog, and hold a treat over his head, moving it slowly toward his rear end. Tell him “Sit.” Inevitably, he will react by putting his butt on the floor as he follows the movement of the treat. Praise him, and give him the treat. Repeat until he’s responding to the command regardless of whether or not you’re offering a treat.
This follows from “Sit.” So, place your dog in the sit, but this time, don’t move the treat over his head. Instead, lower it in front of him, and pull it closely toward you, telling him “Down.” As the treat moves away from him and toward you, he will likely follow the movement. When he’s lying down, give him the treat. Repeat until he responds to the command without the treat.
“Stay” can be a bit difficult, but it’s an important command, and one that could save your dog’s life. Why is it difficult? It’s because your dog wants to be with you, and to tell him that he must maintain a distance from you is contrary to his natural inclination. In fact, if you’ve heard of a dog “flunking out” of obedience class, chances are that it was because he wouldn’t stay on command.
Stay follows from “Sit” or “Down,” so choose whichever position you think your dog is most likely to hold. Hold your hand out, palm forward and upright, and say “Stay.” Back away a few steps. If your dog holds the position for even a few seconds, give him a treat and praise him. If he moves toward you, withhold the treat, and put him back in position. Repeat the process several times, each time increasing the distance and the length of time you expect your dog to stay.
This is a very important skill because a dog that will stay is not generally at risk of running into traffic or encountering other dangers.
Obviously, you don’t want your Eskie to stay without knowing what’s going to happen next. You need a way of taking him out of the “stay” position. So, once he’s mastered “Stay,” hold out a treat, and with the hand that isn’t holding the treat, touch your opposing shoulder while saying “Come.” He’ll move toward you to get the treat. Before giving him the treat, place him in the sit position.
As previously mentioned, even a Standard American Eskimo Dog isn’t going to weigh any more than 30 pounds. Just the same, an active dog that’s basically bouncing all over the place and running out to the end of his leash can be hard to handle. So it’s important to teach your Eskie how to walk at heel.
This is actually pretty easy. Take your dog out on leash, and let him do what he wants for a while. Once he’s calmed down, take a treat out of your pocket, speak your dog’s name, say “Heel,” and then move the treat toward your knee. As your dog moves in to take the treat, say “Heel” again, and praise him. Keep doing that until he moves toward your knee on command, without the treat. If he veers off, a gentle tug on the leash will probably bring him back in line. It’s just that simple!
That’s s how you train an American Eskimo Dog. Not all that difficult, right?
The main thing to remember when training your American Eskimo Dog is that you have to be the leader. Your Eskie looks to you for guidance. You need to be firm but kind, and always consistent. Remember, your dog wants to please you. You just have to show him how that’s done.
American Eskimo Dog Breeders
The American Eskimo Dog is a fairly popular breed today, but actually very nearly became extinct in the late 1960s. Even with the resurgence in popularity, there are only about a thousand registered Eskies in the United States today. This stands out in sharp, startling contrast to other breeds, like the Labrador Retriever (an astounding 70-90 million), the German Shepherd (over 78 million), and the Golden Retriever (a very popular breed, but comparatively low at 750,000).
What this tells you is that despite the public recognition of the American Eskimo Dog, and its increasing popularity, there just aren’t all that many breeders out there. It also tells you that if you want one of these dogs, you should be prepared to spend some time on a waiting list.
We really can’t stress enough the importance of finding a reliable breeder. Breed clubs and the AKC can guide you in the right direction, but you still have to do your homework. Most breeders care very much about their dogs, and want to see them placed in homes where they will be loved and well cared for. It’s actually pretty easy to tell the difference between good breeders and bad breeders.
A good breeder will allow you to meet your puppy’s parents and the rest of the litter – in fact, they’ll probably insist that you do so. They’ll question you extensively about your living arrangements, whether you have other pets or children, where your dog will sleep, who will look after your dog if you’re away from home, and more. They may even ask you for references and permission to contact your veterinarian. In short, they’ll have a high level of interest in what kind of life you’re going to give the puppy.
Bad breeders won’t bother to question you – they just want you to hand over the cash and take the puppy. A really bad breeder will be reluctant to allow you access to the parents and the rest of the litter, and may have a ton of excuses as to why it’s not possible. This type of breeder may also suggest that you meet them in a parking lot, or some other location when it’s time for you to take the puppy. If you encounter this type of behavior on the part of a breeder, there’s a good chance that you’re dealing with a puppy mill operator, and you should never buy a puppy under such circumstances.
Because American Eskimo Dogs are fairly rare, there aren’t all that many breeders in North America, and as previously suggested, you can expect to be placed on a waiting list. If you’re determined that this is the only breed for you, click here to find Eskie breeders.
American Eskimo Dog Temperament
American Eskimo Dogs aren’t just beautiful; they’re also highly intelligent, curious and eager to learn. They love being active, and are very well suited to obedience trials, agility, and other pursuits that allow them to exercise their fine brains as well as their bodies.
As previously noted, training is extremely important. Eskies have an independent streak, and can be a bit stubborn if they don’t get enough physical and mental stimulation.
Eskies are small dogs with big attitudes, and make good watchdogs. They tend to be a bit suspicious of strangers, and will alert you by barking. This shouldn’t be discouraged – when your dog barks to let you know that a stranger is approaching, he’s just doing his job. With Eskies, this sometimes escalates into problem barking, but it’s less of a concern than with some other breeds.
American Eskimo dogs love being with their family members, so if your lifestyle is one that would require leaving a dog alone for long periods, you might want to consider another breed. Although most Eskies will be fine left alone for a few hours, provided they have toys with which to amuse themselves and that they’ve been properly exercised, being left alone for hours on end can lead to separation anxiety.
Eskies are typically good with children and other pets. Of course it should go without saying that you should never leave any dog, of any breed, alone with young children.
The Eskie temperament is ideally suited to people who enjoy being active and engaging in vigorous play with their dog. An Eskie will also happily snuggle up with you at the end of the day. Essentially, there is much to praise when it comes to Eskie temperament, and very little to criticize.
American Eskimo Dog Shedding
Do American Eskimo Dogs shed a lot? The fact that we’re devoting an entire section to shedding should be a tip-off!
Yes, Eskies do shed quite a bit. This is because they’re double coated. Eskies have a long outer coat over a dense undercoat. Their legs are feathered, they have a thick ruff at the neck, and the tail hair is very thick.
Eskies need to be brushed regularly – daily is best – in order to prevent matting and to reduce the amount of hair that is deposited around your home. If you’re a “neat freak” who obsesses over every single hair deposited on your carpets or furniture, you may find keeping up with an Eskie’s grooming needs to be a bit much to handle. There’s no shame in admitting this and considering another breed, although we consider the Eskie to be well worth the effort.
American Eskimo Dogs don’t require a lot of bathing – regular brushing will take care of the shedding, and the natural oils in the dog’s hair tend to repel dirt. A bath every fewmonths will generally do the trick.
Now, let’s do a quick Q&A. These are ten questions that people often ask about American Eskimo Dogs, but that don’t really warrant a full section.
1. Are American Eskimo aggressive?
American Eskimo Dogs will bond closely to their humans, and tend to be protective. They are, however, not considered to be aggressive, and will warm up nicely to strangers once they get to know them.
2. What is the best dog food for my American Eskimo?
Eskies do best on grain-free foods that include protein from real meat, and carbs from real vegetables and fruits.
3. Can American Eskimo Dogs handle hot weather?
The Eskie’s double coat insulates him from all types of weather, so although Eskies prefer cooler temperatures, they will do well in hot weather. Make sure that your Eskie has access to plenty of fresh water on hot days.
4. Can you shave an American Eskimo?
Well, technically you can, but you shouldn’t. Doing so exposes your dog to the elements and robs his skin of the oils it needs to be healthy.
5. What is the average lifespan of an American Eskimo Dog?
With proper diet and exercise, and regular veterinary care, you can expect your American Eskimo Dog to live for 13-15 years.
6. What happens when a dog’s eye turns white?
The eyes of senior dogs often develop a whitish haze. This could be due to lenticular sclerosis, cataracts, or glaucoma, all conditions which can adversely affect your dog’s vision. If this happens to your Eskie, you should seek veterinary advice.
7. Is an American Eskimo a Husky?
The Eskie does look something like a small Husky, but it’s not a Northern breed.
8. Are American Eskimo Dogs hypoallergenic?
Not even close! There’s actually no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog, but people with allergies might be better advised to choose another breed, due to the Eskie’s tendency to shed profusely.
9. What dogs don’t shed?
10. How many puppies can an American Eskimo have?
It depends on how many eggs get fertilized. Large litters can happen, and so can small litters, but the average size litter for an Eskie is 5 puppies.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the American Eskimo Dog. If you’ve decided that the Eskie is the breed for you, you’ve made a great choice – much happiness to you and your new best friend!