Guide to Dog Breeds (See Full List)

American Eskimo Dog

(AKC Non-Sporting Group)

American Eskimo

Height: 9 to 19 in.

Size: Small to Medium.

Weight: 6 to 40 lbs.

Availability: May take some effort to find.


The American Eskimo Dog is a beautiful snowy white Spitz-type dog that looks like a miniature Samoyed. The breed comes in three size varieties: Standard (15 to 19 in.), Miniature (12 to 15 in.) and Toy (9 to 12 in.). The breed has a wedge-shaped head, triangular prick ears, and a heavily plumed tail carried loosely over the back. The brown eyes have white lashes. Pads of the feet are dark with white toenails. The profuse double coat is pure white or white with biscuit cream. The nose, lips, and eye rims are black. The coat is heavy around the neck, creating a ruff or mane, especially in males. The coat is surprisingly easy to care for. A once or twice weekly brushing is generally quite satisfactory.


No one knows exactly when and how the American Eskimo Dog originated. However, the American Eskimo Dog is one of the Spitz family of Nordic breeds, and is possibly related to the White German Spitz, Samoyed, and White Keeshond. Evidence suggests that "White Spitz" dogs were first brought to the United States by German settlers. A couple named Hall, in 1913, was the first to register the breed with the UKC. Their kennel name was "American Eskimo," which became the name of the breed. The Barnum and Bailey Circus spread the American Eskimo throughout the United States, as the dogs were part of a popular circus dog act. One such dog, Stout’s Pal Pierre, was the first dog ever to walk a tightrope. The North American Eskimo Dog Association was formed in 1969, and the stud book was closed. The American Eskimo Dog Club of America formed in 1985 for the purpose of achieving AKC recognition, which occurred in 1995.


Naturally wary of strangers. One Eskimo owner says, "No stranger can enter our home until we’ve told our Eskies it’s OK." This breed should be thoroughly socialized when young to avoid potential aggression-related accidents. Eskimos need to be part of the family; they tend to engage in nuisance activities when isolated. Handle them gently but firmly. This breed needs attention and loves to bark. The American Eskimo Dog has been exploited by those who sell inferior quality animals with poor temperaments and other serious problems. Buy only from a reputable source.


Watchdog, guarding, narcotics detection, agility, competitive obedience, and performing tricks.


Charming, affectionate, and loving. Hardy and playful. Highly intelligent and willing to please. Alert. Easily trained; often ranks among the top scorers in obedience trials. Some individuals have a willful streak, but most like to work. Dogs whose ancestry displays nervousness, hyperactivity, or viciousness should not be bred.


Children: Excellent with children.
Friendliness: Moderately protective.
Trainability: Very easy to train.
Independence: Moderately dependent on people.
Dominance: High.
Other Pets: Generally good with other pets.
Combativeness: Not generally dog-aggressive.
Noise: Likes to bark.

Grooming and Physical Needs:

Grooming: A little grooming needed (once or twice weekly).
Trimming & Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed.
Coat: Fluffy coat.
Shedding: Above average shedder.
Exercise: Moderate exercise needed.
Jogging: A good jogging companion.
Apartments: Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised.
Outdoor Space: A small yard is sufficient.
Climate: Does well in most climates.
Longevity: Long (15 or more years).