We are a very smart, devoted and beautiful dog breed. "American Eskimo Dog" is a really long name don't you think? Many people call us Eskies because it's shorter and fun!
Is an Eskie a Sled Dog?
It might sound like we are Eskimo sled dogs -- Nope, not us! That's just our name that confuses everyone. We are called "companion" dogs because we like to keep you company. As we mature, we do a pretty good imitation of a "couch potato" and prefer to sit on the sofa and watch Animal Planet than pull an arctic sled! Some people say we are "Velcro" dogs because we will follow you everywhere and stick to you like Velcro!
Our ancestors came from Europe and were called "Spitz" dogs. If you have seen a Pomeranian dog or a Keeshond, then you've seen two of our many ancestors. We're cute and cuddly dogs and we learn very quickly. We are not related to the Samoyed, although we do look very much alike.
How did we get to the United States?
In the 1800's German immigrants brought some of us with them to America. At that time we were called German Spitz Dogs; after World War II we were referred to as American Spitz Dogs. We were a favorite breed of dog for the circus and we would prance around and dance on top of horses and entertain audiences all over the United States. It wasn't until we were officially recognized by the UKC that our name changed to "American Eskimo Dogs" after a breeder's kennel name. So you see, our name "Eskimo" has nothing to do with our breed traits or heritage! (This is why rescuers worry that people who aren't familiar with our breed think of us as outdoor sled dogs - our beautiful coat and our name is a little misleading.)
What do Eskies Look Like?
Eskies are pure white or white with biscuit color markings. Biscuit is like a very light brown. Markings can be small spots or an entire body part, like an ear. We have brown or black eyes, noses and lips. Our ears are alert and should stick straight up (except when we are puppies -- then they flop over). We have beautiful curled tails; the shape is called a plume, like a feather.
Our coat is called a double-coat with soft, thick hair underneath and long hair on top. We do shed a lot and we shed our undercoat once or twice a year so we are cooler in the summer. We call this blowing our coat! Our hind legs look like we are wearing "pantaloons" with a puff of hair on the top half. Male eskies have a "ruff" that is a mane of hair like a lion's mane. It grows bigger as the males get older.
Eskies are small dogs and we come in three sizes:
TOYS are 9 - 12 inches high (about the size of a Chihuahua)
MINIATURES are 12 - 15 inches high (small enough for you to pick me up)
STANDARDS are 15 - 19 inches high (I would come up your knees)
Some of us resemble arctic foxes, while others have a teddy bear look -- either way, we sure are cute aren't we?
Is An Eskie the Right Dog for Me?
We are a GREAT breed of dog, but we are not the right dog for everyone. We are alert, friendly and very smart and trainable. I'm going to tell you some general things about my breed but not all eskies are alike, this is just a "rule of thumb" and some of us "reskies" have had a sad start in life and need extra TLC and training to help us fit into daily family life. You need to ask your rescue contact or foster about the eskie that you are interested in to find out if that particular dog is characteristic of the breed or not.
We do like to protect our family and we are called "alert barkers". That means we will bark to tell our family that something new is happening or someone is at the door. Not everyone likes this barking.
We are very loving and affectionate and want to take part in all family activities. Families who are active and don't have time for a dog like me should probably not choose an Eskie. I want to be with you all the time and give eskie kisses (licks) and get belly rubs and be the center of attention! If we don't get it we might develop separation anxiety.
We have a gorgeous coat, but we are a long-haired breed -- weekly combing will keep our coat healthy and mat-free and prevent too much shedding. But we do shed, so if you are looking for a dog that doesn't leave fuzzy balls around, we are not the dog for you.
We are very loyal and protective of our family. Many eskies are wary of strangers. If we don't have a chance to meet and be with lots of different people when we are young, we can be quite suspicious of strangers -- so when you bring a new friend to the house, I might need some time to warm up to them.
We are sometimes called a "dominant" type of dog -- that means we NEED TRAINING! If we aren't told that you are the boss, then we will try to take over the household! So if you decide to add an Eskie to your family, you must be prepared for puppy classes and dog obedience classes. An untrained Eskie will lead to all sorts of mischief and trouble. Willful and obstinate are words often used to describe an untrained Eskie. We are so cute when we are puppies many families do not do their homework first to see what kind of dogs we become. If you like all the things I've told you about Eskies and are prepared to train us, we could make a wonderful addition to a family!
Where Can We Get an Eskie?
Well from Eskie Rescuers United of course! You can also find Eskies who are looking for homes at shelters, humane societies and other rescue groups. These are groups that look for homes for orphaned eskies and can be found on online services like: 1-800-SaveAPet, Pets911 and Petfinder and other online services. If your heart is set on a puppy and you are unable to find one in rescue, please choose a good, reputable eskie breeder who will match the right puppy to you. A reputable eskie breeder is deeply committed to the American Eskimo breed and will only place healthy, well socialized dogs with qualified families and owners. Please do not get an Eskie from a pet store. These poor dogs are the product of puppy mills -- their parents are kept in filthy pens their entire lives and bred over and over without any concern for producing healthy, well socialized offspring.