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ESKIE ESSENCE AND INSTINCTS ~ By Diana L. Allan                ©  (copied with permission from the author)

 

    THE AMERICAN ESKIMO DOG ..... What is it? What are its natural instincts? What was the breed originally bred to do? What is it that sets the AED apart from all other breeds? Rather simple questions, until you talk about Eskies. So many stories have been told sometimes it is hard to tell fact from fiction. The American Eskimo Dog is one of the few breeds that its history was changed for many years, then forgotten. Why? Not because of anything derogatory but because the breed became popular in a time of our history when its country of origin was unpopular. The American Eskimo Dog's countryof origin is Germany. It was originally bred as a multi purpose working dog of the farm. In Germany the breed was referred to as "Deutsche Spitz". The word "Spitz" is translated as "sharp point". The dogs were referred to this as when alerted their ears would quickly come to a "sharp point".There are a number of breeds that are called "Spitz Breeds". Spitz breeds are also called "Nordic Breeds". The two terms are interchangeable. The reference to "Nordic" instead of "Spitz" came about with the anti German sentiment during WWI and WWII. All of the Spitz Breeds have the same characteristics. They have erect ears, wedge shaped heads, double weather resistant coats, are trotting breeds, tails are well plumed, and they all have been used to assist man. They have been used as herders, hunters, haulers, guardians, and devoted companions. These are just a few of the many services that they did for man. What ever their job, they worked closely with humans and thus have a strong human bond. The Spitz in Germany was used to assist humans in a number of tasks on the farm. Farms in Germany are different than what we are used to seeing in the US. In Germany farmers lived in villages and went out each day to the farm. Sheep and cows lived in the village at night and had to be taken out to pastureeach day.The dog was an intricate part of the farmer's life.In an average day, the dog would preform a number of tasks. They went with the farmer to take the sheep out to pasture. They gathered sheep from the pasture and searched for any animals that were strayed. The dogs would go with the children to watch over sheep that grazed in unfenced fields, and remained on the job even if the children were sidetracked with play. They watched the gates that were left open, round up the chickens and put them up at night. The family farm dog would do any number of t What is it? What are its natural instincts? What was he breed originally bred to do? What is it that sets the AED apart from all other breeds? Rather simple questions, until you talk about Eskies. So many stories have been told sometimes it is hard to tell fact from fiction. The American Eskimo Dog is one of the few breeds that its history was changed for many years, then forgotten. Why? Not because of anything derogatory but because the breed became popular in a time of our history when its country of origin was unpopular. The American Eskimo Dog's country of origin is Germany. It was originally bred as a multi purpose working dog of the farm. In Germany the breed was referred to as "Deutsche Spitz". The word "Spitz" is translated as "sharp point". The dogs were referred to this as when alerted their ears would quickly come to a "sharp point".There are a number of asks that that may need doing. The dog was also used to serve as a watch dog for the property and family. They were even noted to go with the farmer to hunt on occasion to bring home dinner. The dog would not only keep away predators of animal and human out of its territory, the dog needed to know the difference between its own livestock and livestock that was trespassing. The dog served as a "babysitter" for the children, and was a formable vermin catcher. The Spitz was an intelligent thinking dog. It was robust and hardy, with a strong natural desire to please. The Spitzwould do its best to accomplish any task that was asked of it. At harvest time the Spitz could be found riding the vegetable carts into market protecting against thievery. The Spitz association with the circus also began in Germany. Gypsies were noted to have Spitz traveling with them. The dogs would readily warn of an  approaching stranger, this also included the local law enforcement. Since the breed was easily trained, eye catching, and intelligent, the gypsies would train the dogs to do tricks. They would then invite the local townspeople to come and watch the dogs,.. .for a fee of course. Some of the circuses in Europe began to use the Spitz in their acts. In Germany the Spitz is found in colors other than white. They are also found in black, chocolate, and red. The German circuses did use the Spitz, but no more or less than any other breed or mixed breed. When the German settlers came to the US, their dogs came with them, so came the Spitz. Many of the German settlers settled in the Midwest and New England as these areas look very much like the German countryside. German settlers also went to southern Texas and the Spitz became popular there. The Germans used the breed very much in the same manner as they did in Germany.

 ~The first written standard of the breed was printed in 1958 by UKC (United Kennel Club), along with an official history for the breed.

  The breed became a formable watchdog of the farm. The breed worked closely with man and animals. Why the white variety was the most popular color is unclear. UKC (United Kennel Club) registered he breed in 1913. Only the white variety was registered. There was a fire in the early days of UKC. Many of the records were lost. The first "recorded" registration of the breed was in 1922.There were 7 dogs registered under the breed name of "Spitz". The first recorded dog registered was a bitch by the name of "Patsy Pall", and given the UKC registration number of 109765. The first male to be recorded was "Rob Roy", UKC #113765. In 1923 an additional 13 were registered as "Spitz". By 1924, there was considerable anti-German sentiment in the United States arising. Many of the German breeds were being chastised and discrimina!ed against. UKC changed the name of the breed to "American Spitz". In 1925 the breed name was changed again to "American Eskimo Spitz". This name was adopted from the kennel name of Mr. & Mrs. Hall who raised Spitz along with a number of other breeds. Their kennel name was "American skimo Kennels". In 1926, the "Spitz" was completely taken off the name. The breed was still was referred to for many years as "Spitz" or "Eskimo Spitz". In the July 1936 issue of Bloodlines an article is written about the name of the breed. Its states that the word "Spitz" was a name that was "not in the dictionary and didn't mean anything anyway". It states that he breed name came from the Hall's kennel name. A copy of that article is reprinted in this article. There is also another article written in the September 1934 issue of bloodlines that shows how much the people of that time did not want the American Eskimo to be associated with Germany nor the name "Spitz". It states in the article "Those fanciers living today have he privilege to call them "Spitz" American Eskimo (Sptiz) or anything they wish to, but they are registered under the breed name of American Eskimo and the next generation of fanciers won't know anything about that word (Spitz)." Quote is from Page 6 . At about this time there was a story of the the P.T Barnum and Bailey circus using a "Spitz" in one of its circus acts. It was said that itwas the only dog to be trained to walk a tight rope. This dog was named "Bido". In some of the old pedigrees of that time a dog by the name of "Bido" can be found. He stemmed from the Midwest. There isn't a record of the dog in the museum of the Barnum Bailey circus although. There was also a story of a dog named "Trixie" that was said to be used as a circus dog. Research has found a child's book of that time about a circus dog named Trixie. The dog looks to be of the size of a Pomeranian. Whether this was a real dog that waswritten about or just a child's storybook is unknown. The circuses used many dogs in their acts. There were the famous "Football" dogs that were Boxers. There was a Cocker Spaniel that was known for his performances. Poodles, Pugs, Great Danes, and a mired of mixed breeds were also used. The American Eskimo Dog was undeniable used in circus acts but was never developed or bred to be a circus dog.

    The first written standard of the breed was printed in 1958 by UKC, along with an official history for the breed. A copy of both is attached to this article. Note that its states that the breed was bred down from large sled dogs, and nothing to do with its German origin. It even stated that the Eskies "should look like a "Samoyed in miniature". At this time there were also a series of articles written about registering the Japanese Spitz as American Eskimos. These articles are reprinted elsewhere in this article. What may have triggered those articles was the single registration of one dog. This dog was "Conner's Fuji". Fuji was whelped in Japan on April 26th, 1955 and was registered with the Japan Kennel Club as a "Spitz". Mr. H. Conner, an American serviceman stationed in Japan owned him.. When Mr. Conner returned to the States, he brought Fuji with him to his home in San Antonio, TX. He applied for single registration of Fuji and on May 26, 1958 Fuji was registered with UKC. Fuji was sired by "Pitou" out of "Deko". The breeder was F. Kizaki.A rare picture of Fuji taken in Japan when he was about 4 months of age can be found elsewhere in this article.

Fuji grew to be a 45 Ib standard male. Larger than the Japanese Spitz that we know.(Please see picture of Japanese Spitz photo in this article). Fuji was bred to Mrs. Chandley's "Snow-White" dogs and a number of the "Hillcrest" dogs. Mrs. Chandly and her "Snow-White" dogs were very well known in the 1950's and 1960's. In some of the old Bloodlines pages reprinted in this article you can see some of her ads. She also wrote a number of articles in Bloodlines during that period. Fuji is behind many of the dogs of today. To give you and example, Fuji was bred to Dutchess of Hillcrest to produce "Princess Gypsy" Princess Gypsy was bred to Yukon Luke. This produced Callaways Cindy Lou who is behind most of the "Jo- Em" and "Newsom" dogs. Callaway's Cindy Lou is grandmother to "Whiskey Joe of Jo-Em who was bred to Ch Sierra's Gnt'l Persuasion, Fuji is the only dog that can be found that was single registered from Japan. After the series of articles in Bloodlines magazine, UKC decided not to register any of the Japanese dogs as American Eskimo Dogs. Fuji may have been registered, as his registration certificate did not say "Japanese Spitz", just "Spitz", which was the original registered name of the breed. In 1968UKC re-printed the official standard and history. (A copy of both the standard and history are reprinted in this article) Note that it states that the breed was imported from Germany, and that the breed name came from the Halls. It also states that the breed is between 15 to 20 inches at the shoulder and that it is a working dog. It also stated that since the name of "American Eskimo" had been adopted that "hundreds" had been registered, not thousands.

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