Around fifty years ago, there was a circus trainer, Caleb Thompson, who toured the United States and Canada with two primary animal acts that featured white horses and small white dogs. He bred these animals, raised them, and then trained them on his Ranch in Nebraska. The breed of dogs that featured in his circus were the American Eskimo dogs―a tiny Spitz breed with a colorful and convoluted history.
Other than their typical northern-dog type appearance, these dogs are also known for their bright and appealing temperament. They are very fast in picking up tricks, which―along with their beautiful snowy coat―makes them one of the most sought-after breeds in circus.
Many different types of Spitz dogs came to the United States along with German immigrants towards the end of the 19th century; the American Eskimo breed was one of them. While the real development of this dog breed has been lost in records, there is no denying the fact that the breed came from Germany. At the same time, it's also worth noting that the American Eskimo is not a 'miniature Samoyed' as some people claim.
It has a well-proportioned body, pointed muzzle, triangular ears with rounded tips, double coat, small eyes, curled tail, and a steady and smooth gait. While it is mainly bred as a domestic dog or companion dog, the American Eskimo looks more like a sled dog, and is also at home in regions with ice-cold temperature and snow.
The dog's body is compact and strong with ribs that are well sprung, deep chest, and straight, muscular loin and back. Like with most other Nordic dogs, its feet are generally tight with tough pads. The tail has long hair and curls over the dogs back; a tight curl is considered a fault in this breed.
The coat in males is thicker than in females, and is thickest around the neck. The undercoat is soft and thick, and when the dog starts to shed, it will send soft tufts of fur wafting through the air. The topcoat, on the other hand, is stiffer and longer, and forms a protective layer from extreme weather conditions. Breed disqualifications include blue eyes and deafness.
This is an alert, bright, and intelligent breed that is more than willing to guard his family when the situation calls for it. The high levels of energy though, can be a problem at times as the dog can become destructive and noisy if not kept busy. A well-bred American Eskimo is a well-mannered city dog as long as he gets his morning and evening walks. He enjoys human company and has a penchant for playing games and learning new tricks, which makes him a good companion for any family. It is considered ideal breed for novice owners.
Unfortunately, the breed has suffered greatly at the hands of ignorant backyard breeders and handlers at puppy farms. Many of these dogs are bred with absolutely no regard for their temperament. A badly-bred Eskimo can be nervous, high-strung, painfully shy, and yappy. Their coat has to be brushed a couple of times every week to prevent tangles and mats, especially around the tail and ears. Eskimos can shed a great deal at least once a year.
This is a long-lived breed with very few problems that have been identified. Even though the breed is anywhere between small to medium-sized, the chances of hip dysplasia cannot be ruled out. Flea allergies can be a problem, as can urinary tract stones. The Eskimo should be trained with consistency and kindness as it is unforgiving of harsh methods, and can turn into a troublemaker or shrinking puppy if not treated properly.
It is important to be around the dog throughout the day. Eskimos need at least an hour of vigorous exercising every day. You should never leave them alone as they become very destructive if left isolated for a long time. They require a lot of love and attention. It is best if you have a large home and backyard. They can adjust to apartments only if they spend a large part of the day outdoors. They are as active indoors as they are outdoors, and thus, you will have to provide them with plenty of toys to play with.