American Eskimo Dog vs Japanese Spitz: Are They Different At All?

The American Eskimo Dog and the Japanese Spitz are two separate breeds. They share the same features, however, like pointy ears, long, narrow snouts, and furry white coats. What sets them apart is mostly their origin and temperament. 

Also, these two dogs are joined along by the Samoyed when it comes to physical commonalities. They’re all small to medium-sized pooches that are lovable, playful, and friendly, which is why they’re popular in the dog community.

Let’s compare both the American Eskimo and the Japanese Spitz so you’d know the differences behind their similarities.  

Breed Origins

American Eskimo Dog

The American Eskimo comes from the line of one of the ancient breeds in the world that dates back to the Stone Age. Often, the American Eskimo is referred to as the “beautiful dog” thanks to its immaculate-looking coat.

Despite the name, the American Eskimo isn’t actually from the US. They’re originally from Germany, and the German Spitz are their known progenitors. Though there lacks any genetic link to the American culture, the American Eskimo’s name was changed during the first half of the 20th century to show anti-German sentiments. 

The present breed’s name was chosen in honor of the Ohio breeding kennel that bears the same name. 

Japanese Spitz

The Japanese Spitz is a new dog that hails from Japan. They were developed less than a hundred years ago, and their ancestry is still a topic of discussion among aficionados and experts.

Some claim that this breed descended from the line of the German, American, and Russian Spitz. Others would say that this comes from the Siberian Samoyed dogs that were developed in a much smaller size.

The Japanese Kennel Club only recognized the Japanese Spitz after WWII in 1948. The popularity of these dogs spread like wildfire when exported to Europe and other parts of the world.

Size, Appearance, & Coloring

American Eskimo Dog

The American Eskimo has a balanced combination of agility, bravery, strength, and beauty. They’re proportionate in build, have a smooth gait, and are physically compact. Due to how their muzzles look, the American Eskimo may resemble a fox, only that they’re white. 

There’s no other natural color for this breed except white and biscuit, and no markings are present anywhere. They have slightly oval-shaped eyes with black rims. The fur is long, soft, smooth, and dense on the undercoat.

The AKC’s ideal proportions for the Eskie include a height of 9-19 inches and a weight of 6-35 pounds. It varies depending on whether you’re getting a toy, a miniature, or a standard Eskie.

You might be interested to read: Dogs That Look Like a Fox: 14 Fox-Like Dog Breeds

Japanese Spitz

The Japanese Spitz is also known for its white coat, but no other natural colors are found in this breed. They’re longer than tall, a trait you can bear in mind so you’d know how to differentiate them from the Eskie. 

Like any other Spitz-type breed, the Japanese Spitz has erect, pointy ears, long muzzles, black lips, and a black button nose. Generally, they’re only 12-15 inches tall and 10-25 pounds heavy with no variations in size compared to the Eskie. 

The tail is carried to the back and is curled up in a fancy manner while covered in dense, double-coated fur.


American Eskimo Dog

The American Eskimo Dogs are bred to be vocal, so they tend to alert their owners in case they notice something. They’re not aggressive and are usually dedicated and affectionate toward their family.

As companion dogs, the Eskie finds it easy to mingle with other people, kids, and even cats, though it’s a different case if you’re introducing smaller pets. These dogs have a high prey instinct which would make them chase after squirrels or hamsters. 

Read next: 8 Tips on How to Get a Cat to Like a Dog

Japanese Spitz

No doubt, the Japanese Spitz is one spirited dog. They’re great alert dogs who tend to be vocal about anything they spot. However, they need training and corrections as they tend to overdo it. Also, early socialization keeps them from becoming overly protective and suspicious of strangers.

They’re attentive though, and would always be keen to observe a new face. Generally, they’re easy to train, but a few of them can be stubborn. Do note as well that these are companion dogs which makes them incapable of being alone for a very long time. 

Exercise Needs

American Eskimo Dog

Eskies need regular exercise that lasts at least 60 minutes each day. These are no couch potatoes, so outgoing owners are the best fit for them. Indoor games would suffice as long as these thoroughly stimulate them physically and mentally.

Bring them outdoors from time to time so they can run freely, and it’s assured that they have gotten their full doggy workout. 

Japanese Spitz

Unlike the Eskies, the Japanese Spitz only needs at least 45 minutes of exercise daily. They’re medium in activity levels, so make sure they don’t get over-exhausted. 

As small dogs, the workout drills have to be divided into smaller sessions. Aside from the usual walk in the neighborhood, you can include agility, obedience, and other advanced pieces of training to keep them healthy and mentally boosted. 

Grooming Requirements

American Eskimo Dog

Since the American Eskimo sheds a lot, hypersensitive dog lovers should rethink their decision to get this puppy. The Eskie needs daily brushing to prevent their coat from matting and tangling. A gentle bristle brush can help a lot in maintaining the cleanliness of their fur.

To add, this breed needs loads of care as their skin can be sensitive to some dog products. You also have to take care of their eyes as they’re prone to issues. Use your vet’s recommended ear cleaner as well to maintain the normal pH balance. 

Japanese Spitz

Thankfully, the Japanese Spitz likes to stay clean. Their fur also doesn’t quickly get muddy or dirty, but overall, the grooming maintenance falls under moderate. Baths are only required if they become stinky, but other than that, wash them only every 6-8 weeks to prevent their skin from drying.

A pin comb is needed to keep the hair tangle-free, and clippers would help trim down their nails. Check their ears, too, as the area can easily develop infections.

You can also read about: Can I Bathe My Dog at Night? Tips and Top Questions Answered

Health Problems

American Eskimo Dog

The pooch is considered robust and relatively healthy with the American Eskimo’s working history. Unfortunately, the breed is not immune to medical problems. They’re often prone to:

  • Diabetes.
  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Patellar luxation.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy.

Japanese Spitz

Most Japanese Spitz dogs are generally healthy. But remember, not one dog is immune to health problems. Some may be prone to a few issues, so the pooch must be brought regularly to your vet.

Here are some of the complications known to the breed:

  • Allergy.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Runny eyes.
  • Collapsing trachea.

Breed Popularity

The AKC has set up a popularity list that ranks all recognized dog breeds. Here’s how both dogs are doing:

American Eskimo Dog: 122nd

Japanese Spitz: Indefinite