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Miniature American Eskimo Dog

Nicole Cosgrove

Miniature American Eskimo

The Miniature American Eskimo Dog is American developed but originates from a German Spitz type dog. Famous for its white coat and popular as a performer in circuses it is mostly kept as a companion dog today but does do well in agility, obedience and conformation dog competitions. There are three sizes, the standard, the miniature and the toy. It is nicknamed the Eskie, or for this size the Mini or Miniature Eskie but other names can include Mini American Eskimo Dog, Miniature Eskimo Spitz and Miniature American Spitz. This small dog has a life span of 12 to 15 years.

The Miniature American Eskimo Dog at a Glance
Name Miniature American Eskimo Dog
Other names Mini American Eskimo Dog, Miniature Eskimo Spitz, Miniature American Spitz
Nicknames Mini Eskie
Origin Germany and the US
Average size Small
Average weight 10 to 20 pounds
Average height 12 to 15 inches
Life span 12 to 15 years
Coat type Short under coat, longer outer coat, thick
Hypoallergenic No
Color White, cream
Popularity Somewhat popular – ranked 122nd by the AKC
Intelligence Very good
Tolerance to heat Good
Tolerance to cold Excellent can handle even extreme cold climates
Shedding Above average and even heavier seasonal times – will be a lot of hair around the home
Drooling Low – not particularly prone to slobber or drool
Obesity High – likes to eat so watch it gets enough exercise and measure its food
Grooming/brushing Average to above average – brush twice a week or daily for seasonal shedding times
Barking Frequent – a good idea to train it to stop on command and may be an issue with close neighbors if in an apartment
Exercise needs Somewhat active but being small easy to meet its needs
Trainability Moderately easy for those with some experience
Friendliness Very good to excellent, very social
Good first dog Good but best with an experienced owner
Good family pet Excellent with socialization
Good with children Excellent with socialization
Good with other dogs Very good with socialization and supervision
Good with other pets Good with socialization, can get jealous
Good with strangers Good but need socialization and can be wary
Good apartment dog Excellent due to size but its frequent barking may be an issue
Handles alone time well Low – does not like being left alone and can suffer from separation anxiety
Health issues Fairly healthy but some issues can include hip dysplasia, allergies, eye problems and obesity
Medical expenses $435 a year for basic health care and pet insurance
Food expenses $75 a year for dog treats and a good quality dry dog food
Miscellaneous expenses $495 a year for license, grooming, basic training, toys and miscellaneous items
Average annual expenses $1005 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $900
Rescue organizations American Eskimo Dog Rescue, check local shelters and rescues
Biting Statistics None reported

The Miniature American Eskimo Dog’s Beginnings

In the early 20th century a large number of European and in particular German immigrants went to America for a better life. With them came their Spitz type dogs and it is actually these dogs that were used to develop the Miniature American Eskimo Dog, the Inuits had nothing to do with them. They were developed to be companions, to act as guard and watch dogs and to work on farms. This is why this dog is so territorial.

When circus owners saw how good at trick learning and performing these dogs were they were then used in circuses. By 1917 this really increased the breed’s popularity. The name was changed from German Spitz after World War I when everything German was not viewed with any favor. In the 1940s and 1950s the breed reached the peak of their popularity but there was still no breed club or official breed standard for the it.

New Lease on Life

That breed association was finally started in 1970 and called the National American Eskimo Dog Association. Then the American Eskimo Dog Club of America was started in the 1985 in order to gain recognition from the AKC, and that then happened a decade later in 1995. While the CKC has also recognized them in 2006 it is not recognized elsewhere in the world. Interestingly the CKC names the Miniature Eskie separately and the toy too. The AKC though recognizes just the American Eskimo Dog but states that it comes in three sizes.

The Dog You See Today

The Miniature American Eskimo Dog is a small dog weighing 10 to 20 pounds and standing 12 to 15 inches tall. It is in the middle of sizes for the Eskie, a smaller version being the toy, the larger being the standard. It has the typical Spitz type tail with it being bushy and carried over its back. The back is level and the head is wedge shaped. The muzzle and its skull are actually about the same length, it has black lips, a black nose and black eye rims and foot pads. The ears are triangular and erect and its skin is pigmented grey or pink.

This dog has a very recognizable coat, thick, double, white or cream in color. It is a short inner coat that is dense to keep it warm and the outer coat is straight and longer. The coat is longest around the neck where there is a mane or ruff, especially noticeable in males. There is some feathering too on the back and front legs.

The Inner Miniature American Eskimo Dog


The Mini Eskie is ideally suited to being a good companion and family dog. First time owners can own it but need to be firm with it as its willful nature means it will try to take advantage if you are too meek. Owners with more experience will know how to deal with that! It is a good watchdog, it is alert and will bark to let you know if someone is approaching or trying to get in. Even though it is small it does have protective instincts, it will want to defend its territory, it just might not be that effective at it, at just 10 pounds! That barking though can become frequent so a command to stop it should be a part of its training. It can be vocal in other ways too, so is not the dog for you if you want one that is more quiet.

This is a cheerful, lively, spirited and intelligent dog and it is also very sensitive so is best in homes that are calm and with owners who do not scold or physically punish. It is very affectionate and loyal, it can be a great lap dog if you want a companion to snuggle with in front of the TV, but it also has energy and needs to play and explore. It does demand a fair amount of attention and does not like to be left alone, it loves to perform and be the center of attention. It can develop separation anxiety so is best in homes where at least one owner is home more than out. It is good but wary with strangers so socialize it well so it does not become snappy in fear or suspicion.

Living with a Miniature American Eskimo Dog

What will training look like?

The Eskie is small but it has a big personality and is strong willed, meaning it can be stubborn. While it enjoys training when done well and loves to spend time with you, if you are inexperienced or less than firm it will try to get its own way. If you over spoil it or do not train it in at least basic obedience and good socialization you can end up with a dog that has small dog syndrome. Hard to live with, vocal, destructive, bossy. If you keep training positive, be patient and consistent and reward, encourage and use things like treats to motivate you will have more success. It is an intelligent dog and coming from a performing past can easily learn tricks or take training further with experienced owners. Early socialization means broadening its horizons, different people, places, sounds, smells, animals and situations. Then it can learn how to react to them and be a happier dog.

How active is the Miniature American Eskimo Dog?

Mini Eskies are of a size where it would seem that they are well suited to apartment living as long as they get outside daily for one moderate walk or two short ones. However it is vocal and that noise may be an issue for apartment rules. It will get some activity with its play indoors and while it does not require a yard to be happy it does love to explore and even a small yard is great for that. It can also be taken to a dog park though being small supervision is needed. Some parks have fenced off areas for smaller dogs so check that out. It is a good place to have safe off leash run time and to socialize. Make sure it gets plenty of mental stimulation too, buy toys that make it work hard, keep some kind of training going.

Caring for the Miniature American Eskimo Dog

Grooming needs

When it comes to good maintenance and grooming the Miniature American Eskimo Dog has above average needs but being smaller that is more manageable. It sheds all the time so expect hair around the home and on clothing, and it will need daily cleaning up. This also means it should be brushed at least once every other day. However it also has even heavier seasonal shedding where clumps fall out. At this point brushing should go to daily to try to control it using a firm bristled brush. Some opt to have the coat trimmed every few months by a professional groomer. Avoid bathing too often though so its natural coat oils do not get damaged and only use a shampoo designed for dogs.

Other needs your dog will have in terms of grooming include having its nails being trimmed as needed, its ears being checked and cleaned and its teeth being brushed. The nails can be done at home with proper dog nail clippers and being careful not to cut too low. Canine nails are not like ours, in the lower part there are live blood vessels and nerves which if cut will hurt your Eskie and cause bleeding. You can have your the groomer take care of it when they trim the coat. Weekly checks should be done of the ears for infection. If they are free of swelling, discharge, wax build up or a bad odor you need to wipe them clean (but no inserting anything into them). Using proper dog toothpaste and a dog toothbrush give its teeth a clean at least two to three times weekly.

Feeding Time

Your Mini American Eskimo Dog will likely eat between ½ to 1¼ cups of a good quality dry dog food each day. This amount should always be divided into at least two meals a day to prevent problems with bloat. Exactly how much your Eskie needs is going to vary depending on its metabolism, level of activity, health, age and build. Make sure it has fresh water that is changed regularly.

How is the Miniature American Eskimo Dog with other animals and children?

Miniature American Eskimo Dogs are good with children with socialization and especially if raised with them but being small supervision is a good idea especially with young children who do not know to touch gently yet. With older children they are less wary and are more playful, they both get up to a good amounts of mischief together, and can perform tricks together! They are also protective and loving towards children. It can get along with other dogs with socialization but supervision is a good idea when it is around dogs that are a lot larger. Interestingly socialization is important with other non canine pets it can get jealous of any attention other pets get over it!

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

The Miniature American Eskimo Dog has a life span of 12 to 15 years and is somewhat healthy but there are some issues that can come up. They include hip dysplasia, eye problems, allergies, weight gain, patella luxation and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease.

Biting Statistics

When looking at data recovered from reports that cover the US and Canada, looking at 35 years of dog attacks causing bodily harm against people, there is none mentioning the Mini Eskie. People should not assume that size has anything to do with a dog’s aggression level, however in this case it is not people aggressive and is unlikely to get mixed up in such events. Keep in mind though that any breed can have a bad day, so as a responsible owner take care of certain things. You should ensure it is well exercised and stimulated, has at least basic level obedience training and is well socialized, and that you give it enough attention.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

The Miniature American Eskimo puppy is going to be priced at around $900 from a good pet quality breeder. If you are looking to get your dog from one of the top breeders expect to pay for that extra experience, double or even more of what you might pay for a pet quality puppy. If you are a little more flexible about the age of your new pet and the breed it is, there is the option for checking places like rescues or shelters. Adopting such a dog will cost around $50 to $400. Avoid breeders that do not have a good reputation or are unsavory like backyard breeders, puppy mills and pet stores.

Once you have chosen your new best friend and are ready to bring it home with you be prepared for some initial costs for things you need and some initial medical concerns. Items will include things like a crate and carrier, collar and leash or harness, bowls and so on. These will cost around $130. Taking it to a vet once it has settled for a physical, shots, deworming, blood tests, spaying or neutering and micro chipping will cost about $260.

There are then costs of pet ownership that are ongoing like feeding costs, insurance, basic medical care and grooming for example. The food should be a good quality and along with treats will cost you around $75. Then another $435 a year should cover basic health care and pet insurance. Miscellaneous costs like toys, grooming, license, basic training and miscellaneous items come to about $495 a year. This gives a yearly starting figure of $1005.


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The Miniature Eskimo Dog is a very appealing dog for people looking for a smaller dog with a lot of personality and playfulness and has striking looks with its dark eyes and nose contrasting with its white coat. However it is not a dog for people wanting no hair on the home, and it does still need mental stimulation and some physical activity. It is not a complete lazy lap dog happy to snuggle all day, it needs some play and activity in between cuddles. It is also important not to spoil and baby your little dog as it will not reach its great potential and becomes a harder dog to live with.

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Featured Image Credit: Bikenbark, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.