The American Eskimo dog breed has its origins in the Spitz
family of dogs traced back some 6,000 years to the Peatbog
dog. The Spitz family of dogs, known as the northern or
Nordic breeds, include the Pomeranian, the Samoyed, the
Keeshond and Artic sled dogs. The family has wolf-like
characteristics with erect pointed ears and double coats.
The American Eskimo dog descended from the Spitz breed that
evolved around lakes in Switzerland some 700 years ago.
These dogs became known as German Spitz and first arrived to
America in the early 1900's. The German Spitz comes in
two different sizes. The larger Grossspitz is around 16
inches at the shoulder and is the breed that became known in
America as the American Eskimo dog. The Kleinspitz is a
small German Spitz with an eleven inch maximum shoulder
The United Kennel Club or UKC first registered an American
Eskimo Spitz in 1913. In 1923, the UKC renamed the breed to
American Eskimo. The first UKC Grand Show Championship won
by an American Eskimo was in 1978. The Champion was named PR
Richardson's Keta Shelton. (The PR is an acronym for Purple
Ribbon.) In 1981, the first American Eskimo to win
both the UKC Grand Show Championship and the UKC top award
for obedience was named PR Tank Iglu Sweet Love.
In the 1920's through 1950's when the circus was a very
popular form of entertainment, American Eskimo dogs were
used as circus performers. Performances included
dancing to music, performing with clowns, ponies, wire
walking and weaving in and out of moving wagon wheels.
This history helps to explain why your American Eskimo can
be such an agile rock climber and easily learns and performs
tricks for its master. In fact Eskies are known to
teach each other tricks and to invent tricks on their own
just to please their master.
The Breed Standard
For a detailed description of the American Eskimo Dog breed
standard, we refer you to the definition of the breed
standard provided by the American
Kennel Club (AKC) including General Appearance, Size,
Proportion and Substance, the Head, Neck, Topline, Body,
Forequarters, Hindquarters, Coat, Color, Gait, Temperament
Effective March 1, 2006, the Canadian Kennel Club,
(CKC), recognizes the
American Eskimo dog as a breed. Its cousin, the
red-haired Finnish Spitz is recognized by the CKC as well as
the Japanese Spitz which is also white in color and looks
very similar to the American Eskimo.