American Eskimo Dogs

Temperament: Playful, Perky, Smart

  1. Height: 9-12 inches (toy), 12-15 inches (miniature), 15-19 inches (Standard)
  2. Weight: 6-10 pounds (toy), 10-20 pounds (miniature), 25-35 pounds (standard)
  3. Life Expectancy: 13-15 years
  4. Group: Non-Sporting Group 

The American Eskimo Dog combines striking good looks with a quick and clever mind in a total brains-and-beauty package. Neither shy nor aggressive, Eskies are always alert and friendly, though a bit conservative when making new friends.


The American Eskimo Dog, a loving companion dog, presents a picture of strength and agility, alertness and beauty. It is a small to medium-size Nordic type dog, always white, or white with biscuit cream. The American Eskimo Dog is compactly built and well balanced, with good substance, and an alert, smooth gait. The face is Nordic type with erect triangular shaped ears, and distinctive black points (lips, nose, and eye rims). The white double coat consists of a short, dense undercoat, with a longer guard hair growing through it forming the outer coat, which is straight with no curl or wave. The coat is thicker and longer around the neck and chest forming a lion-like ruff, which is more noticeable on dogs than on bitches. The rump and hind legs down to the hocks are also covered with thicker, longer hair forming the characteristic breeches. The richly plumed tail is carried loosely on the back.

About the American Eskimo Dog

The American Eskimo Dog comes in three sizes—standard, miniature, and toy—standing as tall as 19 inches at the shoulder or as short as 9 inches. Distinctive traits include a dense, sparkling white coat with a lion-like ruff around the chest and shoulders; a smiling face, with black nose, lips, and eye-rims that convey a keen, intelligent expression; and a plumed tail carried over the back. Some Eskies have markings with the delicious colour name “biscuit cream.” They move with a bold and agile gait.

Eskies are social animals and can develop problem behaviour when neglected or undertrained—they insist on being part of family life. Among the most trainable of breeds, the clever, kid-friendly Eskie practically invented the phrase “eager to please.”

NUTRITION The American Eskimo Dog should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING The American Eskimo Dog’s fluffy, white double coat — a short, dense undercoat below the longer outer coat — is surprisingly easy to keep clean. However, Eskies shed almost constantly. A thorough brushing two or three times a week will remove dead hairs before they can be shed, as well as help to prevent matting. The oil on an Eskie’s fur prevents dirt from adhering, so a good brushing is usually enough to remove it. It is OK to bathe an Eskie occasionally, but doing so more than once every few months can make his skin dry and irritated. As with all breeds, the Eskie’s nails should be trimmed regularly.

EXERCISE An active dog with lots of energy, the Eskie is also quick and curious, requiring lots of exercise and mental challenges. An Eskie who is left alone or who doesn’t get enough exercise can quickly become destructive. A securely fenced yard and an assortment of toys will help provide good exercise and stimulation to keep an Eskie out of trouble. He shouldn’t just be left out in the yard by himself all day, however. Despite his warm coat, the Eskie is an indoor dog, and he forms strong bonds with his people and is happiest interacting with them. Once they pass middle age, Eskies often become more sedate.

TRAINING As with all breeds, early socialisation and puppy training classes are recommended. Fortunately, the American Eskimo Dog is among the most trainable of all breeds. Back when travelling circuses, vaudeville troupes, and Wild West shows crisscrossed the map, Eskies were mainstays of trained-dog acts. They are highly intelligent and eager to please. They learn new commands quickly — sometimes just by watching other dogs. An Eskie craves companionship and interaction with his owners and will tend to develop problem behaviour if left alone too often for long periods of time.

HEALTH A responsible breeder will test his or her breeding stock for health issues such as hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy. As with all breeds, an Eskie’s ears should be checked weekly to remove debris and avoid a buildup of wax, and the dog’s teeth should be brushed regularly.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • PRA Optigen DNA Test
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

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