Physical characteristicsOverall, the American Eskimo dog looks like a miniature Samoyed. The dog is compactly built and well balanced, with good substance and an alert, smooth gait. The body is strong but not cobby. The chest is deep and broad with well-sprung ribs. The shoulders are firmly set and have adequate muscles that are not overdeveloped. The triangular ears are set relatively high on the wide wedge-shaped head. The slightly oval eyes are brown with white lashes. The nose, lips and eye rims are black. The teeth meet in a scissor bite. The tail is heavily plumed and carried loosely over the back.
Eskies weigh 20 to 40 pounds and their height is 15 to 19 inches. There are also two smaller varieties of the American Eskimo dog: miniature and toy. The miniature's height is 12-15 inches. The toy's height is 9-12 inches.
TemperamentThe American Eskimo dog is smart, alert, and friendly. Sometimes, however, it is known to be slightly conservative. It is neither too shy nor aggressive but tends to be protective of its home and family, although it usually does not threaten to bite or attack people. Nonetheless, a good socialization is necessary to avoid potential aggression-related accidents. A happy Eskie is charming, affectionate, and playful. Some individuals have a willful streak but, generally, Enkies like to work. Very intelligent, they learn new tasks and tricks very quickly and are eager to please.
This breed is a wonderful watchdog. A warning bark will always announce the arrival of a stranger. One Eskimo owner says, "No stranger can enter our home until we've told our Eskies it's okay."
Coat and groomingThe thick double coat is snow white and straight, with no curl or wave. A few cream markings can be present. The coat is longer and heavier around the neck, forming a prominent lion-like ruff, especially in males. The outer part of the ear is well covered with short, smooth hair, with longer tufts of hair growing in front of the ear openings. Hair on the muzzle is short and smooth. The backs of the front legs are well feathered, as well as the rear legs down to the hock. The tail is covered with long hair. Surprisingly, this luxurious coat is easy to take care of. Weekly brushing should be fine.
Photo by ccho
HealthEskies are hardy and naturally healthy dogs. Possible health problems include tear-staining, overweight, and dental issues. Some lines are prone to PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), luxating patella, and hip dysplasia.
The lifespan of Eskies is quite long - 15 years and more.
Other interesting factsOther names of this breed are the Eskimo Spitz, American Spitz, and German Spitz.
In spite of its name and appearance, the American Eskimo dog does not come from Alaska. This dog's heritage is traced back to Northern Europe. The breed's ancestor was the German Spitz, but due to anti-German prejudice during the First World War, it was renamed into the "American Eskimo Dog".
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