American Eskimo Dog is a breed of companion dog originating in Germany. The American Eskimo is a member of the Spitz family. The breed’s progenitors were German Spitz, but due to anti-German prejudice during the First World War, it was renamed “American Eskimo Dog”.
Although modern American Eskimos have been exported as German Spitz Gross (or Mittel, depending on the dog’s height), the breeds have diverged and the standards are significantly different.
In Northern Europe, smaller Spitz were eventually developed into the various German Spitz breeds. European immigrants brought their Spitz pets with them to the United States, especially New York, in the early 1900s, “all of them descended from the larger German Spitz, the Keeshond, the white Pomeranian, and the Italian Spitz, the VolpinoItaliano.
“After World War II, the dogs continued to be popular pets. Postwar contact with Japan led to importation into the United States of the Japanese Spitz, which may have been crossed into the breed at this time.
The breed was first officially recognized as the “American Eskimo” as early as 1919 by the American United Kennel Club (UKC), and the first written record and history of the breed was printed in 1958 by the UKC.
At that time there was no official breed club and no breed standard, and dogs were accepted for registration as single dogs, based on appearance. In 1970 the National American Eskimo Dog Association (NAEDA) was founded, and single dog registrations ceased.
In 1985 the American Eskimo Dog Club of America (AEDCA) was formed by fanciers who wished to register the breed with the American Kennel Club (AKC). Following the AKC’s requirements for breed recognition, the AEDCA collected the pedigree information from 1,750 dogs that now form the basis of the AKC recognized breed, which is called the American Eskimo Dog.
The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1995. The stud book was opened from 2000 to 2003 in an attempt to register more of the original UKC registered lines, and today many American Eskimo Dogs are dual-registered with both American kennel clubs.
In spite of his diminutive size, the Eskie thinks big. He’s an excellent watchdog and will announce the comings and goings of strangers with barking — in fact, he can become a problem barker if left alone too long. Although he’ll warm up in time to those he doesn’t know, his first instinct is to be suspicious.
The Eskie takes his watchdog duties very seriously, though he isn’t overly aggressive. If you want a breed that has a lot to say, consider the American Eskimo Dog. This breed is very vocal, engaging in barks, yowls, and even mumbles. Many owners claim that their Eskies “talk” to them.
When it comes to activity, the American Eskimo Dog tends to be busy. He likes to keep moving, especially when young. (Older Eskies often become more sedate, preferring being petted and cuddled to running around.)
Many owners keep more than one Eskie so the dogs can keep each other entertained, though lone Eskies do very well in busy households. Eskies make excellent apartment dogs as long as they are walked regularly and given plenty of opportunities for exercise.