The American Eskimo Dog is a Spitz-type dog with impressive appearance and wonderful temperament. Bred in America somewhere in the XIX century as a working dog it gradually became a popular companion animal in its native land. This intelligent and sociable dog requires sizeable amount of both grooming and exercise so it’s certainly not for everyone.
Photo: © American Eskimo Dogs Organization Of Vancouver (americaneskimodogs.org)
The foundation stock of the American Eskimo Dog contains a few European Spitz varieties including the white Pomeranian from Germany, the Volpino Italiano, and others white Italian and German Spitzs. These dogs were wide-spread among German immigrants in American communities in the midst of the XIX centuries. The result of their interbreeding was nicknamed the American Spitz.
Apart from being a great companion animal, this plucky and highly intelligent breed became known as a talented performer in lots of American travelling circuses. The audience admired its dexterity and spotlessly white coat, while handlers treasured it for these qualities along with its inborn resourcefulness, swiftness and trainability. Furthermore, this breed was widely used as a versatile assistant by American farmers and actually it was its original role.
The American Spitz was granted with its current name – the American Eskimo Dog – in 1917 when its first specimen was registered with the UKC (United Kennel Club). Nonetheless, it has nothing in common with big and tough sled dogs that were created in the northern regions of American continent. It’s very likely that the «Eskimo» was substitute for the «Spitz» because of the political situation in the U.S. in the wake of the World War I. The «Spitz» is loosely translated from German as «sharp point» and it’s utilised in this country to depict northern canines with sharp muzzles, upright ears, curled tails and thick coats. So the breed’s name was changed to its modern version in order to dissociate the dog in the United States from its German roots.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognised the American Eskimo Dog in 1995. This dog stands out for exceptional agility of mind and therefore excels in such completely dissimilar tasks as herding, guarding, narcotics and bombs detection, competitive obedience and fulfilling tricks. Today the vast majority of its members are acquired solely for companionship although the breed is virtually unknown outside its homeland.
The American Eskimo Dog is an ultimate example of a companion animal, which is highly gentle with its masters but very reserved with strangers. This dog usually forms tight bonds with its family and feels absolute distaste for loneliness. If you have a very busy working schedule it would be a good idea to acquire your pet one or several canine companions. Be mindful that jerky movements of small kids can irritate this dog so it’s better suited for families with older children who know how to behave themselves around domestic animals.
As it has already been said, the American Eskimo Dog demonstrates outmost suspiciousness to unfamiliar people. Timely socialization is required if you don’t want to get the pet that will snap at houseguests. This breed makes a fabulous watcher because of its propensity to immoderate barking. Of course, this habit also can fray your neighbours’ nerves so make sure to train your dog to keep quite at the command. The American Eskimo Dog is always ready to apply force to defend its territory and special people and will become a very reliable guardian.
In general, this breed is ok with other dogs and rarely enters in a conflict with them. But the American Eskimo will take a dare from its counterpart of any size so the master should exercise extra caution when introducing it to other canines. This dog will treat other pets (including household cats) respectfully if the animals were raised together since a very young age.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· hip dysplasia;
· eye problems;
· Legg-Calve-Perthes disease;
· patellar luxation.
The American Eskimo Dog requires quite a few grooming. However, this dog is a year-around average shedder, which will blow its entire coat in the spring and autumn. Even with daily brushing its owner will have to put up with rather great amount of the dogs’ hair in the house. Frequent bathing isn’t advisable as its white fur naturally repels dirt and grime and almost always looks clean.
This breed doesn’t need any professional trimming or manual stripping of its coat. Regular nail clipping, weekly teeth brushing and periodic ear cleaning are essential for sound health as well as neat appearance.
The training of the American Eskimo Dog will take away very trivial amount of your time and efforts. This breed is simultaneously quick-witted and docile and commonly makes an eager and quick learner. Nonetheless, it will never obey your orders blindly and may choose to ignore them if you fail to win its respect as a pack leader.
The best methods of training for this breed are based on principles of consistency and positive reinforcement with an ascent on the dog’s favourite food incentives. Avoid punishing your pet for its occasional pranks since such a treatment may instigate it to even more wilful actions.
The American Eskimo Dog is a playful and inquisitive breed that needs lots of both physical and mental exercise. Remember that the boredom is the most common reason of destructive behaviour of any dog and pay enough attention to the activity level of your pet.
After a long walk with the master or an hour of a free run in a safely enclosed yard this breed usually stays calm and relaxed for the rest part of the day. The American Eskimo Dog welcomes any type of outdoor games especially fly ball and agility. This breed makes a wonderful playmate for older kids.