It may surprise you to know that American Eskimo Dogs—also affectionately called “Eskies”—are neither from the United States nor of indigenous Arctic origin. “Eskimo” was part of the name of a kennel that bred them. This dog hails from Germany, but in the wake of the first World War, American breeders changed the name to something less controversial. American Eskimo Dogs worked as tightrope walkers in American circuses at the beginning of the 20th century; now they're more likely to keep an eye on your kids and your homestead.
This is a highly intelligent, moderate-energy, and small breed. Miniature American Eskimo Dogs can grow to between 10-20 pounds and live for 13-15 years. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1994 and is classified as a member of the Non-Sporting breed group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Mini sled dog
Breed Group: Non-Sporting
Average Lifespan: 12-14 years
Bark Factor: Moderate
AKC RANKING 102
FAMILY spitz, Northern (companion)
AREA OF ORIGIN United States
DATE OF ORIGIN early 1900s
ORIGINAL FUNCTION companion, performer
TODAY'S FUNCTION companion
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 12-15 Weight: 11-20
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 12-15 Weight: 11-20
OTHER NAME none
Energy level Medium energy
Exercise needs Medium
Playfullness Very playful
Affection level Moderately affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly
Friendliness toward other pets Very friendly
Friendliness toward strangers Friendly
Ease of training Hard to train
Watchdog ability High
Protection ability Not very protective
Grooming needs Moderate maintenance
Cold tolerance High tolerance
Heat tolerance Low tolerance
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A MINIATURE AMERICAN ESKIMO DOG'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
American Eskimo Dogs make friendly companions and lively, eager play partners. Active, fearless, and intrepid, this dog will keep you on your toes. They're usually obedient and make for bright, well-mannered companions. American Eskimo Dogs get along well with children and other pets, including dogs, but play is always best supervised (as with any dog).
WHAT IS MINIATURE AMERICAN ESKIMO DOG BEHAVIOR LIKE?
American Eskimo Dogs belong to you and you alone, happy to jog along at your side or curl up with you on the couch. They can be wary of strangers and don't always understand why you'd need another pet (canine, feline, or otherwise). This breed makes for vigilant watchdogs, though they won't be very protective of you or your home.
Most make for good dog park citizens. The out-of-doors sights and sniffs of your short daily walks or backyard games will help mentally stimulate this smarty-tail. Teaching them tricks and playing games together will also help keep their sharp minds active.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A MINIATURE AMERICAN ESKIMO DOG?
This is a trainable breed, and they're fast learners, but American Eskimo Dogs of all sizes know their own minds. Start early and be patient and consistent; they respond to training that uses treats and games as rewards. Socialize them young to help them acclimate to new people. They can be somewhat prone to barking; you'll want to nip this behavior in the pup (er, bud).
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO MINIATURE AMERICAN ESKIMO DOGS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
American Eskimo Dogs' harsh outer fur conceals a soft, dense undercoat. Their winter-proof coats are great in chilly weather, but they can overheat in the summer months.
These fluffballs are above-average seasonal shedders, and should be combed and brushed at least twice a week to keep their dense coats from matting. (Regularly check the fur around their tushes, too — they sometimes need help in the hygiene department.) But if you keep up with brushing and combing them, they shouldn't require frequent professional grooming.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO MINIATURE AMERICAN ESKIMO DOGS HAVE?
These are fairly healthy dogs, but do keep an eye out for slipping kneecaps, hip dysplasia, and eye problems in adult American Eskimo Dogs. Diabetes is sometimes an issue as well.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE MINIATURE AMERICAN ESKIMO DOGS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list American Eskimo Dogs among its breeds recommended for folks with allergies.
You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after you've been playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, and so produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind when you're deciding which size American Eskimo Dog might be right for you and your family! Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT IS A MINIATURE AMERICAN ESKIMO DOG'S BEST DAY?
Get out before the day warms up and your Miniature American Eskimo will be right there with you. After breakfast (or even during), practice your puzzles and tricks with her to get her mind active and engaged. Of course, don't forget to challenge those tightrope-level agility skills. While yours may not appreciate an actual tightrope, American Eskimo Dogs have been known to excel at musical canine freestyle, so get those dancing shoes on.
SHOULD I ADOPT A MINIATURE AMERICAN ESKIMO DOG?
If you hail from sunny Southern California and want to teach your dog to surf, the American Eskimo Dog probably won't hang ten with you. (She'll be eager to rise to a new learning challenge, but the heat could wipe this dog out.)
But if you're in Minnesota, in search of a distinctive-looking, playful pet who wants to romp in the cold with your kids and then sit at your feet while you all warm up, the American Eskimo Dog might be your snow angel.
Have you decided that a Miniature American Eskimo Dog is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.