Did you know?
The first dog to ever walk a tightrope was an American Eskimo Dog. The Barnum and Bailey Circus used the dogs extensively to perform this trick.
American Eskimo Dog (miniature)
Dogs understand your moods and your thoughts, and if you are thinking unpleasant things about your dog, he will pick it up and be downhearted. – Barbara Woodhouse, Irish author/dog trainer
The American Eskimo Dog, or Eskie is a member of the Spitz group, one of the most ancient of the dog families. The word “spitz” is German and means “sharp point”. It refers to the shape of the muzzle. The Eskie has the typical pointed face of the Spitz family.
These dogs are descendants of the White German Spitz dogs who date from the late Stone Age.
Around the time of the First World War, the name was changed to American Eskimo Dog as a reaction to the tense political climate.
From their earliest times, these dogs have been guardians of human settlements against unwelcome animals and people.
The Eskie is a robust dog who lives approximately 12 to 15 years.
Photos displayed courtesy of Paula Wakely, Paula’s Polar Pups, British Columbia
The Miniature is the middle-sized of the three types of American Eskimo Dog and stands between 12 and 15 inches (30.5 to 38 cm) high at the shoulder.
He has a thick, fluffy, white, double coat and carries his tail curled up over his back. In the Spring, this dog doesn’t just shed, he “blows coat”! The Eskie’s coat has a natural oil that repels dirt, and he has no body odor. The Eskie is a clean living dog and is even known to wash his face like a cat.
Specifically bred to guard people and property, the Eskie is territorial. Accustomed to eating and sleeping close to his people, this dog bonds very closely with his family and is happiest when in the family circle. The Eskie is noted for being gentle and playful with children. He is not a dog to be left alone for long periods.
A lovable and friendly dog of high intelligence, the Eskie is easy to train and has been used in rodeos and circuses where his eager-to-please personality was a guaranteed crowd pleaser. In 1917, the Cooper Brothers’ Railroad Circus showcased a dog called Stout’s Pal Pierre who became famous for walking a tightrope with the Barnum and Bailey Circus in the 1930s.
Lively and eager, the Eskie has a high activity level and requires regular exercise which should include long walks. He also enjoys active play and some rough housing. Properly trained and socialized, the Eskie is good with children and other pets.
These dogs are naturally curious and love to investigate. Without enough mental and physical exercise, they can become hyperactive and high-strung, spinning in circles. A good outlet for all that energy is any of the various dog sports such as agility and flyball. With their willingness to please, Eskies often do very well in obedience trials.