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Are American Eskimo Dogs Good for First-Time Owners? Breed Necessities & Facts

Sarah Psaradelis

By Sarah Psaradelis

American Eskimo dog

The American Eskimo dog is an ancient breed from the Spitz family with a fluffy white coat and small body. This is a sociable and affectionate breed that has a higher exercise requirement than other dogs since they can be quite active and get bored easily.

If you are a first-time dog owner, the American Eskimo is not considered a good breed of dog to start with. These dogs are considered high maintenance, and meeting their needs can be quite challenging, which we will discuss in this article.

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About The American Eskimo Dog Breed

The American Eskimo is an excellent breed of dog that has all the desirable qualities a first-time dog owner is looking for. By understanding this breed’s history and care requirements, you will be able to determine whether this dog might be a right fit for you.

American Eskimo Dog standing on grass
Image Credit: Scarlett Images, Shutterstock


American Eskimo dogs were created by German immigrants in the upper Midwestern United States and kept as all-purpose farm dogs. They originated from Germany and belong to the Spitz dog family.

After World War I, the name became the “American Eskimo” to honor the Ohio breeding kennel that had the same name. The American Eskimo was originally a circus dog in America and many of these dogs’ ancestry lineage can be traced back to these circus dogs. They were only recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1995, even though they were popular pets in the early 1900s.

The breed’s history dates back to a hard-working farm dog which explains their high energy levels and eagerness to please their owners.


American Eskimo dogs vary in size according to their varieties. So far there are three accepted varieties of this dog breed, a toy, miniature, and standard variety.

The toy variety is the smallest, ranging in size from 9 to 12 inches, while the miniature variety ranges from 12 to 15 inches in size, and the standard variety from 15 to 12 inches in size. The American Eskimo is considered a small to medium-sized dog that can weigh between 15 to 40 pounds.

All varieties are known for having a fluffy double coat with white as the most recognizable coloration.


The American Eskimo is highly intelligent, friendly, social, and protective which has gained their popularity as pets aside from their attractive appearance. Most American Eskimo dogs are protective and alert enough to be considered watchdogs, without being considered aggressive.

Their friendliness and loyalty make the American Eskimo a great family-orientated dog with high trainability. Some American Eskimo dogs can be reserved and even shy, but they should soon warm up to you and any guests in the house once they have gotten used to you.

This dog breed is good with older children, but they don’t seem to appreciate being handled by younger children. The breed’s hardworking nature and protective instincts make them a good watchdog, but American Eskimo dogs have a bigger bark than bite. They rarely show any signs of aggression, but they will not hesitate to bark to alert you to potential danger.

American Eskimo dogs can get along well with other dogs and cats if they have been socialized properly, however, small pets like rodents and birds can be a distraction for this dog.


The American Eskimo is an active dog breed that needs plenty of mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom. Young American Eskimo dogs will need around an hour of exercise a day which includes taking them for a walk, a run in the park, or allowing them to play with toys or run in a secure yard.

They can be quite busy dogs, so this is something you will need to consider if you are unable to spend time during the day ensuring your American Eskimo dog is kept busy.

American Eskimo Dog running
Image Credit: Stephaniellen, Shutterstock


This dog breed has a white and fluffy double coat that might be difficult to groom if you don’t have much experience grooming dogs. American Eskimo dogs are heavy shedders, and their thick coat needs to be brushed regularly throughout the week if you want to reduce the number of hair clumps you will find around the house.

Aside from needing to be brushed to control their shedding, the American Eskimo’s coat can easily become tangled or matted, so brushing will help prevent this from happening.

Their white fur can easily pick up dirt and become stained or have a slightly yellow hue when it gets dirty, so a monthly bath with gentle cleansing shampoos and a good conditioner will help keep their fur looking clean.

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Why Aren’t American Eskimos Good for First-Time Owners?

The American Eskimo dog breed might be sociable and affectionate, but they are not the best option for first-time dog owners. There are several reasons why—as loveable and affectionate as they are.

  • American Eskimo dogs bark a lot, especially when they are bored, seeking attention, or have been left alone for a long time.
  • They need plenty of physical and mental exercises because they are a naturally active dog breed.
  • American Eskimo dogs are considered high maintenance which can be too overwhelming for first-time dog owners to keep up with.
  • These are heavy-shedding dogs that are not ideal for people with allergies. You will also have to keep up with their high-grooming requirements.
  • American Eskimo dogs require training and proper socializing with other pets and guests in the household.
  • These dogs love attention and do not enjoy being left alone all day, which is something to keep in mind if you go to work for the day and they are left alone. American Eskimos enjoy human interaction and can get stressed and suffer from separation anxiety if their social needs are not met.
  • They are not ideal for apartment living, as their activity levels are better suited for larger homes with yards.

This dog has challenging traits that can sometimes outweigh all the positive ones for new dog owners. American Eskimos can be problematic for first-time dog owners who will need more experience with handling and caring for dogs before settling on this dog breed.

You may also find that the American Eskimo dog is not the best breed for busy families that are on the go even though they can get along well with older children and are generally considered family-orientated dogs. This is because the amount of care and attention they require is more than most busy families have the time to provide.

American Eskimo Dog
Image Credit: Mohan Nannapaneni, Pixabay

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Final Thoughts

The American Eskimo is an amazing dog breed with plenty of desirable traits, however, they are not the right canine companion for most first-time dog owners. These dogs shed quite a lot, meaning you will need to keep up with their high grooming requirements.

They can also bark a lot and need proper training to prevent any behavioral issues in the future. They need a lot of attention from their owners and meeting these dogs’ needs can be quite overwhelming for first-time dog owners.

Featured Image Credit: Cameron Archibald, Shutterstock

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