What Is an American Eskimo Dog?--by Natalie F. Harris


The American Eskimo Dog ("Eskie" for short) is a medium-to-small thick-coated dog that is always pure white or cream colored. The breed comes in three sizes: Standard, Miniature, and Toy. The breed standards of the American Kennel Club (AKC) and United Kennel Club (UKC) vary; but Standard Eskies are generally 15" to 19" tall at the shoulder and typically weigh up to 30 pounds. Miniatures are around 12" to 15" tall at the shoulder and usually weigh up to 20 pounds.




Toy Eskies, which are recognized by the AKC but not the UKC, are around 9" to 12" at the shoulder and weigh up to 10 pounds. Male Eskies tend to be larger than female Eskies and have thicker fur.


American Eskimo Dogs are part of the "Non-sporting" AKC breed group, but they are really a Northern or Spitz breed, often mistaken for a sled dog breed. Other spitz dog breeds include the Keeshond, the German Spitz, the Japanese Spitz, and the Pomeranian. The Eskie used to be known in North America as the White Spitz or Eskimo Spitz in some regions. The American Eskimo Dog, like most Spitz breeds, is very close in appearance to its wild canine cousins. Eskies have very thick coats with a thick mane of fur around the neck, a foxlike head with short, erect ears, a heavily plumed tail carried over the back, brown eyes (never blue), black skin around the eyes and mouth, and black noses. Pink mouth, eye, and nose skin is not uncommon, but is not acceptable by either the AKC or UKC breed standards. The skin underneath their fur is typically pink, and dark freckles are not uncommon. Some Eskies have a tendency toward tear stains underneath their eyes. This is sometimes caused by blocked tear ducts, but is usually just a cosmetic concern and is not condemned by either kennel club. Cream or biscuit-colored patches of fur on an other wise all-white coat are common and are permissible by the breed standards.