history of the American Eskimo Dog

The American Eskimo Dog nicknamed “Eskie”, belongs to the “Spitz” group,one of the most ancient of dog breeds. In 500BC depicted on Greek vases’ were drawings of the Spitz. In Eurasian times (800-100BC) documentation was found on the Spitz breed. They are descendants of the White German Spitz dogs. This breed lived in the late stone age (approximately 3000BC), and were called “the dog of the lake settlement”, or the “Peat Bog dog”. Both names refer to locations where the skeletal remains were discovered. Dogs of this type were found in Germany, as well as Central European nations, and the Scandinavian countries.

Many White Spitz have been depicted on artifacts crafted by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. In 1400-1600's documentation appeared in Greek and Roman text. In the 1450's the first documented recording of the term “Spitz” (meaning “Sharp Point”) was made by Count Ederhard Zu Sayne. Early fiction writers from this period noted the “Spitz” as valiant defender of the home. There are statues in Stuttgart and Bochum, Germany which honor those vigilant guardians of the fields. Thomas Gainsborough(1728-1788) depicted the White Spitz dog in several paintings, most notably “The White Dog”, “The Morning Walk”, and “Mrs. Robinson”

Color and size changes began in England with the influence of Queen Charlotte. With the ascent to the throne of Queen Victoria, the breed would be changed forever. The forerunner of the toy breed “Pomeranian” we know today would begin to emerge.

The German Spitz dog came to the United States before the turn of the century by way of immigrants from Europe, and German settlers. The first German immigrants arrived in America in the 1600's. Today in their homeland they are still known as German Spitz, but as the breed traveled to other countries, it was given it’s own “special” name and Breed Standards. No one can pinpoint exactly when the breed arrived in America, but it is speculated to be in the late 1600's.

The United Kennel Club began registering the American Eskimo in 1913. The pre- World War I political climate was very tense and may well have contributed to the name change of the White German Spitz in the United States to “American Eskimo”. In 1985 the American Eskimo Dog of America was formed for the purpose of American Kennel Club recognition for the breed. The American Eskimo Dog was fully recognized by the American Kennel Club, July 1, 1995.

Watch dog duties were one of the earliest characteristics to develop in the Spitz breed. Guardians for human settlements, they alerted their owners to the presence of wild animals and other intruders. They were commonly seen as watchdogs on German farms and were specifically bred to guard the farmers family and property. Eskies were also used as guardian dogs in America. By his nature, he is an instinctive and territorial watchdog. The American Eskimo bonds closely with his family and considers them his property. Therefore he does not go readily to strangers and is initially mistrustful of them. A proud, energetic and lovable breed, the American Eskimo is devoted and loyal to his family.

He lives to please and protect them. Because of his superior intelligence, the breed was used widely in Circuses and Rodeos. (They were also used in Circuses in Germany.) Most notable among these was Barnum and Bailey Circus, whose troupe of “Eskie” performers delighted audiences across the country. This keen intellect has enabled this hardy breed to excel in Obedience. Having a sensitive and affectionate nature, the “Eskie” has an uncanny ability to understand people and human tone, thereby adapting himself to the various personalities of the household. He is a lovable and friendly dog in their presence. Evolving from a foundation stock of dogs who ate and slept close to their masters he must become a member of your family. He cannot be ignored nd left to his own devises. He is eager to please and wants approval. The American Eskimo is a medium to small size dog. It’s thick, snow white coat, beautiful mane, happy, smiling face, striking black points, erect ears and plume tail commands instant attention. His gait is bouncy and proud. Known as the “Dog Beautiful”, his expression is alert, eager, and lively.

Used with the permission of Nancy J. Hofman ©1994