Breed American Eskimo

BreedsAbout the Breed: American Eskimo

American Eskimo Dogs are companion dogs who need to be treated as a family member. They are an intelligent, challenging, and delightful breed that requires a smart, strong human leader who can accommodate a mentally active dog—they learn quickly and are eager to please.


The American Eskimo Dog breed was developed in the United States from the German Spitz of Northern Europe.

As a Nordic-type dog, Eskies have a double coat, plume-like curled tail, and erect triangular ears. They usually have distinctive black noses, lips and eyelids. They are often mistaken as a small or mixed Samoyed.

Although once used as a circus dog, The American Eskimo is primarily a companion dog that benefits from participating in mental activities including conformation, obedience and agility competitions.

Best with:

  • A smart, strong human leader.
  • People who treat them as companion dogs and a family member.
  • An “alpha” owner who is willing be a strong leader so the Eskie will not inappropriately take charge.
  • People willing to provide positive reinforcement training, mental activities, and attention.

Not for:

  • First time dog owners;
  • Homes where the dog will be left alone, ignored, or unattended all day/night; left alone too much they may become bored, destructive, and bark excessively.
  • Apartment dwellers who cannot commit to providing the dog with mental activity on a daily basis;
  • People who will not/can not properly train and socialize the dog;
  • Families with overzealous youngsters;
  • People who don’t have time to provide positive reinforcement training and attention;
  • Households with regular visits from strangers including children, unless the dog has been properly socialized.


The American Eskimo is one of the most intelligent of all canine breeds and can be trained to do most any task. They are very curious. They will examine changes in their environment with a wary, yet inquisitive eye, which makes them great household watch dogs. Their antics while playing will often cause you to grin or laugh. Eskies are very social and very aware of their family. They are very loving and always seem to know when a family member needs to be cheered up, or to simply be loved.


Shedding; wary of strangers; can be very vocal; can become over-protective of their humans and property if not well socialized.



Males 26-28” at the withers (shoulders), and approximately 60 pounds in weight. Females 24-26” at the withers (shoulders), and approximately 50 pounds in weight.


Red, Black, Cream, Blue (grey/silver), Black & Tan, Black & Silver (a light to white cream), Brindle (“striped” in a combination of colors). Some with a “black mask”, some referred to as “Domino” (a “reverse mask”, dark “widows peak” on the head; light colored coat with dark “saddle”). The picture above is an example of a “Black Masked Red”.

Energy Level:

Indoors, “couch potatoes”. Outdoors, activity level is very high. They require sufficient amounts of exercise to maintain adequate mental and physical condition.

Life expectancy:

On average, 10-14 years, though reports of some dying younger as well as some living much longer are not uncommon.


Afghans can and do live harmoniously with children, but are not generally considered to be “good with children” as a whole, especially very young children who tend to pull tails and coat. Afghans raised with “respectful” children and conscientious, supervising adults do fine. Note: No dog of ANY breed should be left unsupervised with very young children.

Other animals:

The Afghan is a hunting dog who kills, versus the hunting dog who locates game for the owner to kill (as in retrievers, setters and pointers) so great care must be taken to ensure that the Afghan doesn’t mistake the family kitty as “prey”. Early socialization and training is a MUST if the owner has other small pets. In any case, care must be taken to never leave an Afghan unsupervised/unattended with such critters as hamsters, gerbils, etc. Though not generally “dog aggressive”, they can, on occasion be “same sex aggressive” with other dogs if not properly socialized. Most Afghans can and do live quite harmoniously with other pets such as birds, cats and other dogs. Only on rare occasions will they need to be the “only pet in the household” (usually from lack of early training and socialization in adult dogs).


Though not commonly thought of as an “intelligent” breed they are! (and wickedly clever!) Afghans can, and do excel at just about anything their owners are willing to do with them as long as the activity and the training are fun and non-punitive (Afghans respond best to “positive/motivational” training methods). Such activities include Obedience, Agility, Herding, Lure Coursing, Tracking and Therapy work.


To maintain an Afghan in it’s signature “long, flowing, silky coat” requires a MINIMUM of weekly (every 7 days) bathing and blow drying which will take approximately 2-4 hours each time. Many pet owners choose to keep their hounds “clipped down or clipped short” to make the Afghan slightly easier to maintain. Afghans also have a trademark “saddle” (short, close hair along the back) that is evident in “intact” (non-neutered/spayed) males and females, which requires plucking or “stripping”. This “saddle” is often non-evident in neutered/spayed animals.


Though not rampant in the breed, health concerns can include: Bloat/Torsion, Cancer, Cardiomyopathy, Cataracts, Ear infections, Elbow & Hip Dysplasia, Hyper/Hypo Thyroidism and PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy).