The UKC Breed Education file – updated 2015 by Diana Allen

The Essence of the Breed

  • A double coated Nordic type working dog, intelligent, strong and powerful for its size.
  • Quick and agile.
  • Willing to work closely with people.
  • Cosmetic flaws (such as a snow nose, or biscuit spots in the coat) should never remove from competition a dog that is sound, well balanced and of correct Nordic type that moves effortlessly and efficiently.

History of the Breed

  • The American Eskimo is one of the Nordic/Spitz breeds.
  • Widely used as a utilitarian farm and guard dog in Germany, brought to the US by immigrants.
  • Recognized by UKC in 1913.
  • Name changed from “Spitz” to “American Eskimo” in 1926

Breed Development

  • Continued to be used as watch dog and multi purpose working dog of the farm.
  • National American Eskimo Dog Association formed in 1969.
  • First size divisions were by weight, not height.
  • Today excels in agility, obedience, tracking, herding, lure coursing, dock dog diving, just to name a few of its talents.

General Appearance

First Impression – The American Eskimo is a well balanced typical model of a working type Nordic/ Spitz dog. The body is well balanced, proportioned, agile. and strong. appearing neither clumsy or racy. It is a trotting breed with an alert smooth carriage, presenting a picture of natural beauty, alertness, strength, and agility.

The American Eskimo is Not –
A scaled down Samoyed, a Keeshond, or a white Pomeranian.

Instead, it is a unique breed with distinctive type characteristics of its own.


Intelligent, alert and energetic, the Eskie is well suited as a family companion, obedience, agility, tracking, & performance dogs.

May be conservative with strangers, but overly shy or aggressive. (Dogs should be penalized in the show ring).

Eskies have a natural love of water!

The American Eskimo temperament readily lends itself to the UKC Total Dog concept.

  • Heads are a defining characteristic of this breed.
  • Must be wedge shaped and in proportion to the overall size of the dog.

Head Shape

  • Skull is broad and not flat – slightly arched (crowned) from stop to occiput.
  • Stop is well defined but not abrupt.
  • Muzzle is nearly the same length as skull, full and strong, never narrow, weak or snipey.
  • Bite-scissors preferred, level permissible.


  • Eyes are dark
  • Foreface is high
  • Bridge of muzzle is flat
  • Corners of mouth reach outer corner of eye, no further


  • Eyes are medium in size, set well apart and oval in shape.
  • Color is dark to medium brown.
  • Expression is alert and intelligent.


  • Here is an eye shape comparison-the dog in the center has round eyes which are incorrect.


  • A the correct bite is a scissor or level. A full compliment of teeth is preferred


  • Eyes rims, nose and lips are black to dark brown.
  • Many Eskies will snow nose during winter or with age.
  • Snow nose is distinctive by having black edges with loss of color in center of the nose.


  • Erect. Triangular in shape


  • Ears conform to balance with size of head

Head Faults

  • Lack of pigment.
  • Overshot or undershot bite.
  • Light eyes.
  • Flop ears.
  • Saggy flews.
  • Snow Nose is not a lack of pigment
    • Blue Eyes

Outline & Proportion

  • The American Eskimo is a compactly built, strong dog with an arched neck and a level backline.


  • While you might think that determining neck length under all that hair would be difficult, a look at these two photos; shows that a neck with correct length and arch can be readily seen.

Front Assembly-Shoulders

  • The well angulated shoulder, called for in the standard, sets the elbows back under the withers and creates a “lot of dog” in front of a line drawn from withers to ground, as opposed to a straight built front. Straight fronts also create long underlines (from elbow to knee).

Front Assembly-Forelegs

  • Legs are straight with elbows held close to body.
  • Pasterns are strong yet flexible enough to add spring to movement.

Front Assembly-Forelegs

  • Standard defines a 20 degree slope of front pastern.

Front Assembly-Leg Length

  • This is a trotting breed, and should have leg length that is one half the height at the withers.
  • Coat can create the optical illusion of short legs so you have to feel for correct leg length when judging.


  • The American Eskimo is a swift, agile breed and should have strong yet moderate bone that conforms to body size.
  • Again, coat is very illusionary. These photos are of the same bitch, in coat and out. You must FEEL the bone under the coat.

Body Properties

  • Strongly built with a broad, level back and a well muscled loin of moderate length.
  • Well sprung ribs with slight tuck up.
  • Spring of rib is oval, not barrel.

Body Properties-Chest

  • Chest is broad, and deep to elbow.
  • Please get your hands under the hair when judging this breed and feel for correct body development and strong muscles.


  • Well laid back shoulder vs incorrect upright shoulder


  • Thighs are well developed and muscular.
  • Hock joint is sharply defined.
  • Rear pastern is short.
  • Angulation balances with front.


  • A well angulated rear with hocks well let down


  • Length of body is measured from the point of shoulder to the ishium (point of buttocks)
  • Height is measured from top of withers (scapula) to the floor.


  • Compact with tough, deeply cushioned pads.
  • Oval in shape.
  • Front dewclaws MAY be removed.
  • Rear dewclaws SHOULD be removed.


  • Set moderately high.
  • Profusely coated.
  • Carried over the back.
  • Length to hock joint.
  • Faults-tight curl, double hook, or loose “flag” (see bottom photo).


  • Dense, double, and free of curl or wave.
  • Length will vary, coat quality is more important that quantity.
  • Males will carry heavier coat than females on the whole.

Coat Pattern

  • The Coat of the American Eskimo has a distinct pattern of the hair growth.
  • May be more pronounced on males than females.
  • The coat pattern of the American Eskimo is functional to the dog

Coat is Illusionary

  • Differing lengths and amounts of coat can give the illusion of light or heavy bone, long or short legs, large or small ears, long or short bodies, etc.
  • You must be HANDS ON when judging this breed.


  • Pure white is most desirable.
  • White with biscuit cream, and solid cream, are permissible.
  • Any color other than those above is a disqualification.

< White with biscuit spots


UKC recognizes the American Eskimo in 2 sizes:

  • Miniatures –
    • Males from 9 inches up to, and including 15 inches.
    • Females – From 9 inches up to, and including 14 inches
  • Standards –
    • Males – over 15 inches up to and including 19 inches.
    • Females – over 14 inches up to and including 18 inches.


  • The American Eskimo is a natural, endurance trotter. At the trot he is efficient, balanced, vigorous, light on his feet and maintains a firm level topline.


  • The dog will have excellent reach of the forequarters matched by a strong driving rear. Feet are only lifted high enough to clear the ground
  • Excellent foot timing is essential for correct reach and drive.
  • This dog has correct side gate according to our standard. There is the same distance between the front two legs as there is with the rear.
  • Feet are meeting under the body.
  • Back remains strong level, and firm.

Gait – Moving Away

  • Dog on right is moving correctly, dog on left is moving close.
  • The American Eskimo is a single tracking breed.

Gate – Coming

  • This dog is moving correctly towards you.

Front Movement

  • First if correct
  • Elbow out – incorrect
  • Padding – incorrect
  • Moving wide – incorrect

Scale of Points

What does this mean?

  • Basically, that the whole is
    greater than the sum of a dog’s
  • No one single fault should
    eliminate a dog from
  • All dogs have faults and as that is true, dog judging should be focused on rewarding virtue, not finding the dog with the fewest “faults”.

Breed Specific Disqualifications

  • Blue eyes
  • Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Any color other than those stated in the standard as acceptable.
  • Any alterations of the dog other than those allowed by the standard.

The Essence of the Breed

  • A double coated Nordic type working dog, intelligent, strong and powerful for its size.
  • Quick and agile.
  • Willing to work closely with people.
  • Cosmetic flaws (such as a snow nose, or biscuit spots in the coat) should never remove from competition a dog that is sound, well balanced and of correct Nordic type that moves effortlessly and efficiently.
Create a Picture In Your Mind

Thank you for your attention

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