The American Eskimo Dog’s Interesting Personality and History

Sometimes referred to as the Dog Beautiful, the Eskie is soft, white, fluffy, clever, active, and mischievous. This breed is cheerful, affectionate, sometimes rowdy, and very smart—so smart they’re thought to be one of the most intelligent dog breeds. They’re independent thinkers and are curious, with an uncanny ability to problem-solve. They also love to entertain and impress people and prefer joining in on all family activities. Neither shy nor aggressive, Eskies are always alert and friendly, though a bit reserved when making new friends.

Read on to understand why the Eskie acts this way.

Interesting Facts About the American Eskimo Dog

They were originally bred to guard people and property.

Eskies are not friendly with strangers because their ancestors were bred to become watchdogs. Until now, Eskies take their watchdog duties very seriously. It is not considered an aggressive breed, but due to its watchdog history, American Eskimo dogs are generally quite vocal and territorial. They announce the comings and goings of strangers by barking and can indeed become a problem barker if not controlled. When meeting new people, their first instinct is to be suspicious. So while their size is perfect for apartment living, their noise level might not be unless someone is home to control them.

White was not always a recognized color in the Spitz family.

The Eskie’s breed originates in Germany, and its progenitors were the German Spitz. The European immigrants who brought their Spitz pets with them to the United States preferred white Spitz dogs. In a display of patriotism in the era around World War I, dog owners began referring to their pets as American Spitz rather than German Spitz, due to anti-German sentiment at the time.

It’s only called the American Eskimo dog in America.

The name American Eskimo Dog is a misnomer: Eskimos had nothing to do with the founding of the breed. The breed’s German name was changed to American Eskimo dog, after the name used by a Spitz-breeding kennel in Ohio. Thus the American Eskimo Dog is not entirely an internationally recognized breed, and fanciers wishing to participate in certain international dog shows will register their American Eskimo Dogs as the very similar German Spitz. The American Eskimo dog is known as the German Spitz in several countries outside of the United States, and it is not uncommon for German Spitz breeders to incorporate imported American Eskimo bloodlines into their breeding program to broaden the gene pool, and vice versa. However, the two breeds did develop somewhat differently ever since the American Eskimo was relocated to North America over a century ago.

They used to be circus entertainers.

After World War I, the small white Spitz dogs came to the attention of the American public when the dogs became popular entertainers in the American circus. This part of the breed’s history developed their unique “eager to please” personality. In 1917, the Cooper Brothers’ Railroad Circus featured Eskies. A dog named Stout’s Pal Pierre was famous for walking a tightrope with the Barnum and Bailey Circus in the 1930s. Barnum and Bailey also sold Eskies after the show, contributing even more to the Eskies’ popularity. Many of today’s American Eskimo Dogs can in fact trace their lineage back to these circus dogs. 

They come in three sizes.

The American Eskimo Dog comes in three sizes: Toy, Miniature, and Standard. Toys stand 9 to 12 inches and weigh about 10 pounds. Miniatures stand 12 to 15 inches and weigh about 20 pounds. Standards stand 15 inches to 19 inches and weigh about 30 pounds. Although weight is not specified by the breed standard, toy dogs usually range from 5 to 10 pounds, miniature dogs from 10 to 20 pounds, and standard-sized dogs from 15 to 40 pounds.

They like to have a good time.

The Eskie twinkles up at you with a keen, alert expression. They love to have a good time and are always ready for an adventure. Their curious and comical nature is sure to make you laugh several times a day. Because of this, they may be sensitive and will dislike discord among family members, so don’t argue in front of an Eskie; they won’t like it.

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