The American Eskimo dog is not, as the name suggests, actually American or Inuit in origin at all! They are a companion dog breed from the Spitz family group, which originates in Germany. The breed’s main ancestors were the German Spitz breeds of dogs, but the breed was renamed after the First World War, due to the anti-German sentiment that the war generated at the time. The breed is noted for being a popular companion pet and good watchdog, and they were also widely used in circuses as performing dogs during the 20th century, mainly within the USA.
With their wolf-like faces, luxurious white coats and happy, outgoing natures, they do have the potential to make good pets, but they are not among the easiest or most laid-back dogs to care for.
If you are considering ownership of an American Eskimo dog, this article will tell you a little more about the breed and their traits.
The American Eskimo dog is most at home in the outdoors, and loves to play and run around in all weathers, even ice and snow! They are very high-spirited, energetic dogs that can be rather rowdy, and are always ready to play!
They also heartily enjoy the company of people of all ages, and need plenty of social interaction to be happy, becoming fully involved in family life. They are highly intelligent and able to think laterally, meaning that without enough company, exercise and mental stimulation, they will soon become destructive within the home.
Despite their loving, personable natures, they can be wary of strangers, and take their job as guardian and watchdog seriously! They are quick to bark and make a fuss if someone approaches, and require plenty of human socialisation from an early age to prevent them from becoming overly distrustful or wary of people that they do not know.
They are happy kept in a multi-dog household, and generally play well with other dogs that they do not know, assuming that they are well socialised. However, they do have something of a tendency to get jealous if they feel that their people are giving more attention to another dog than to them!
They are fast learners, highly intelligent and capable of retaining a wide range of complex commands, as evinced by their circus history. But this can also make them challenging to train if you cannot keep up with their thought processes, and they need firm, kind handling and clear boundaries in order to avoid wilfulness and misbehaviour.
The American Eskimo dog is one of the most long lived of all of the pedigree dog breeds, with an average longevity of around 16 years. This is several years older than most pedigree dog breeds of a similar type are generally expected to live to, reflected by the breed’s general hardiness and good health.
However, the American Eskimo dog does have a tendency to put on weight easily if not adequately exercised, and obesity and weight-related health conditions may then become a problem. The breed also has a predisposition to some genetically inherited health defects, including patellar luxation, progressive retinal atrophy, and hip dysplasia. These conditions are not as prevalent within the breed as they are in some other breeds of dog, but nevertheless, responsible breeders will generally undertake health testing of the parent dogs before making the decision to breed.
They are also potentially prone to various allergies, and overactive tear ducts leading to tear staining of the face. Over all, however, the American Eskimo dog, when correctly fed and adequately exercised, should be one of the healthiest and most long-lived dogs around!