If you live in a colder climate and love to jog and play outdoors, the American Eskimo dog, also called the Eskie, might be your perfect match. This small to medium-size white pup is a Nordic dog -- not part of the Eskimo culture -- descended from the spitz, keeshond and Pomeranian. The Eskie, once a staple of traveling circuses, is now mostly a companion dog.
American Eskimo dogs are intelligent, alert, friendly, fun-loving and easy to please. These traits make them easy to train. Eskies often receive the highest rankings in obedience classes, according to the Dog Breed Info Center. This breed needs lots of exercise -- a long daily walk or jog and plenty of playtime.
American Eskimo dogs are useful as watchdogs because they don't trust strangers, and they bark excessively when a stranger nears. But that's as far as the policing goes. Eskies typically don't threaten to bite or attack people. They can warn, but they typically don't protect.
The American Eskimo dog makes a good family pet because he's a sort of jack-of-all-trades, according to Dr. D. Caroline Coile in her book "American Eskimo Dogs." Eskies are watchdogs and companions, and they are good with children. They will chase away squirrels one minute and curl up on your lap the next. Because their ancestors were from the spitz family, Eskies learned to live in cold, harsh climates. Nordic dogs, to survive, had to be strong, determined and smart; the Eskie maintained all those qualities. Eskies are loyal and think of themselves as part of the family, so they are typically unhappy living in a yard apart from family members.
The biggest problems with American Eskimo dogs are barking and digging. Some can also be shy or hyperactive. If you don't establish yourself as pack leader, your Eskie could become aggressive and willful. Hyperactivity, sometimes shown by spinning in circles, can occur if you don't exercise your dog enough. Unneutered males might lift their legs inside, roam to find a female and fight with other unneutered males.
By Laura Agadoni
About the Author
Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.