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Alternative Name

German Spitz, American Eskimo Spitz (nick: Eskie, Eskimo, Spitz) (The Performer)

Basic Info

The Spitz is a breed of companion dog originating in the United States of America (probably in New York City) in the twentieth century. The breed was formerly called a German Spitz or a "Spitz". It is a member of the Spitz family of dogs. It achieved a high degree of popularity in the 1930s and 1940s in the U.S. as a circus performer. The very first dog to walk a tightrope was this breed. The breed became popular as circuses would sell the puppies during their travels across the nation. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1994 and set the current standard for the breed. The United Kennel Club had recognized the breed long before 1994, and there is no difference between the two breed standards. They are known for their playfulness. The standard for the Spitz calls for them to be white or white & biscuit cream, with brown eyes (blue eyes, such as those found on the Siberian Husky, are a disqualification and a sign of poor health or breeding), and a compact body. The dog's length should be only slightly greater than its height at the shoulder. The muzzle is long and lupine (in contrast to the muzzles of Pomeranians). The ears are held erect and alert, and the tail should be feathered and curled on the dog's back. These dogs look very much like smaller versions of the Samoyed, and come in three standard sizes. The toy is from 9 to 12 inches (23 to 30 cm) at the withers; the miniature is from 12 to 15 inches (33 to 38 cm); the standard is from 15 inches up to and including 19 inches (39 to 48 cm). The Eskie, as with all Nordic breeds, has erect, triangular ears ("prick ears"), a tail that flips onto the dog's back in a spiral, and two coats of fur: an undercoat that is softer and helps insulate the dog, and an outer coat that's harsher and acts as a weather "repellent".


The American Eskimo lives on average between 12 and 14 years, although some individuals might as long as 20 years or longer. They are prone to hip dysplasia, patella luxation, progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, epilepsy, urinary stones and allergies that can lead to acute moist dermatitis or "hot spots". The Spitz has a tendency to develop severe allergies to fleas. One flea on an Eskie can result in frantic scratching and gnawing on their skin, which results in painful "hot spots" and skin lesions.



American Eskimo's were bred to be companion dogs, not just the family dog to put outside when they bother their owners. They thrive on being a part of their human family. Eskies love their families, and a well-socialized dog is more of a pleasure to own. Eskies are easily trained and very intelligent, as well as being strong-willed and independent. At home, Eskies make excellent watchdogs, barking to announce the presence of strangers. The Eskie can be protective of its home and family, but it shouldn't threaten to attack or bite a person. They must be trained early in age to come to their master. They do not respond well to aggressive dicipline. Spanking an American Eskimo for its mistake may result in a growling war instead of punishment. Make sure to research the dog's parents as their temperament may vary due to inheritance. Puppy at 11 weeks, many people find the puppies of Eskimo dogs to be very cute and purchase this breed as a puppy without doing sufficient research, such as discovering the longevity and needs of this breed. This breed can take longer to mature than other breeds, and Eskies can behave more like puppies than like adults for up to two years, when they finally start to mature and grow their adult coats. They are also an extremely intelligent dog and need to be stimulated. When their intelligence is not stimulated or they are ignored, they can develop behavior issues. Owners can avoid this problem by socializing their Eskie through obedience training or participating in dog sports, such as dog agility, flyball, or dancing.


United States


The American Eskimo, or "Eskie" as it is often called, is most likely derived from the German Spitz, the Finnish Spitz, the Pomeranian, the Keeshond, and possibly the Samoyed, although the latter is not universally accepted. The Spitz family of Nordic dogs is one of the least altered by human husbandry and reflects most nearly the prototypical dog, from which stock all others have been derived. Archeology suggests that Neolithic dogs living with humans would today pass for spitzes.