These endearing little dogs come in three sizes: toy, miniature and standard. They are highly intelligent, playful characters. They are so delightful that circuses used them in the shows, Barnum and Bailey had a tightrope walking American Eskimo dog! Beautiful in appearance and charming in character, you'd be hard pressed to find a more engaging and entertaining dog.
They are also known as "Eskies" and Miniature Eskimo dogs. Descendents of larger Nordic Spitz dogs, the Eskie was bred to its current size in Europe where they were kept as watchdogs. They were brought to the United States in the early 1900's where they became known as American Eskimo dogs.
Highly active and curious individuals, these dogs require a lot of care and attention if they are to develop into well behaved dogs. Not given the necessary mental and physical stimulation they need, they can become aggressive and destructive and can turn into barking machines! They make great pets for children as they can engage in endless hours of play, in fact they'd love nothing better! They do fine in a yard but need to be walked regularly as well in order to satisfy their pack and migration instincts.
Eskies have long white coats with a dense undercoat that needs regular grooming. They are prone to flea allergies so special care should be taken to avoid flea infestation. The breed sheds a lot and isn't recommended for people with allergies. Ideally they should be bathed no more than once a month as they have dry skin and can develop allergies; frequent grooming will usually keep them clean and ensure their coat stays in top condition. Some individuals have blue eyes but blue eyed Eskimo dogs can be prone to deafness and can't be used as show dogs.
The breed's life expectancy is around 13-15 years and although it is a hardy breed it is prone to breed specific conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy and luxating patella. Special care should be given to the eyes as this breed is susceptible to progressive retinal atrophy. Hip dysplasia is another common condition in the breed.
American Eskimos make terrific pets but do your research before getting one; these dogs require a lot of care and attention and may not be suitable for the laid back dog owner. If you live in a pet intolerant neighborhood or apartment building, think twice before getting an Eskie as they are master barkers!