American Eskimo Dog

American Eskimo Dog Grooming

The American Eskimo Dog ("Eskie" for short) is often called "The Dog Beautiful"--and for good reason: the breed has a spectacular white coat. And caring for and maintaining that gorgeous coat takes a bit of work--but not as much as one might think.

See below for details on American Eskimo Dog grooming, including info about brushing, bathing, and paw care--and find out why your beautiful Eskie's coat should never be shaved.

American Eskimo Dog Coat Care

The amount of necessary Spitz grooming varies depending on the breed. The Eskie, in particular, will need more than most other Spitz dogs. Since they shed regularly (and heavily during shedding season), they'll need to be brushed 2-3 times per week; luckily, Eskies' gleaming white coats are pretty dirt-repellent, so they'll only need baths every 2-3 months (or when they're especially dirty or stinky); and though many owners like to give their Eskies fashionable hairstyles, this breed (or any Spitz dog, for that matter) should never be shaved. All this put together means American Eskimo Dog grooming can be a little time-consuming overall.

Though all this coat grooming can be done at home, it's recommended that owners take their Eskies to a professional groomer at least once. The groomer can demonstrate the proper methods in caring for the dog's coat, and offer tips on how to groom an American Eskimo Dog in general.

For specific instructions on maintaining your Eskie's coat, see the sections below.


Brushing your Eskie will need to happen 2-3 times per week (and daily during the twice-yearly shedding seasons). The best brush for an American Eskimo Dog is actually not a brush at all, but a 2-in-1 comb. To brush: first wet the coat with mist from a spray bottle; mix in a bit of de-tangling solution if desired. Starting at the shoulder ruff, go through the coat section by section with the comb, moving in the direction of hair growth. If you encounter a tangle or mat, first try working it out with your fingers, then continue working through it with the comb if needed.

Brush daily during during the 2- to 3-week shedding season--and during that time, you can use a shedding tool like the FURminator to help the shedding process along.


Owners can give their Eskimo Spitz a bath either in the tub or in an outdoor kiddie pool using a garden hose. Bathe as follows: first give the coat a thorough brushing, then wet the coat entirely. (And since the Eskie's coat is water-resistant, it helps to hold the shower or hose nozzle close to the dog's body; also "massage" the water into the coat so it gets wet all the way to the root.) Next apply a quarter-sized amount of shampoo to the dog's back and lather well, working downward as you go. Make sure to use canine shampoo and conditioner, as the kind made for humans can irritate the dog's skin. Lather the legs, underbelly, and tail, then finish by using a washcloth to clean the head, ears, and face. Rinse completely (which you may have to do more than once to remove all the shampoo).

Repeat the above-described process with conditioner. After the final rinse, towel-dry the coat, then give it another quick comb-through to make it look clean and neat.

American Eskimo Dog Styling & Haircuts

Though many an owner likes to give their American Eskimo Dog a haircut, groomers, veterinarians, and enthusiasts acknowledge: if an American Eskimo Dog is shaved, it will do irreparable damage to the coat. Here's why: this breed (as with all Spitz dogs) has a double-layered coat, with temporary, re-generating undercoat hairs (the ones that shed) and more permanent outer "guard" hairs. This outer coat is thicker, and has naturally water-resistant oils. Overall, the coat is designed to trap cool and warm air to regulate the dog's body temperature.

When an Eskie is shaved, the thick outer hairs are completely removed, and they take years to grow back, if they ever grow back at all. Shaving an American Eskimo Dog basically eliminates the coat's natural effectiveness: it's no longer water-resistant, it can't regulate temperature, and the coat is fuzzy and soft instead of strong and protective.

So if your desire is to give your American Eskimo a Puppy Cut (in which the coat is cut to 1-2 inches) or something similar, by all means consult a professional groomer first!

Paw Care

Paw maintenance for your Eskie will mainly consist of trimming the hair between the paw pads, and trimming the nails. Spitz dogs' nails will need cutting about every six weeks, or if you hear them "clicking" when the dog walks or runs on hard surfaces.

Use standard nail clippers to cut the nails so they aren't touching the floor. Be sure not to clip too close, as doing so will cut into the "quick" (the vein running through it), making the nail bleed and be painful.

If the hair between your Eskie's paw pads is long, it'll collect dirt and debris--which can scatter dirt all over the house and even become infected. Use standard scissors to trim the hair even with the paw pad. (Note that show dogs shouldn't have their paw hair cut at all.)

If your Eskie spends a lot of time on hard, rough, or uneven surfaces, the paw pads can become dry and cracked. If this is the case, you can apply paw moisturizer (available at most pet stores) about once a week.

Other Care

Your Eskie will also need regular maintenance in these areas:

  • Teeth: Just like a human's, American Eskimo Dog teeth need regular brushing to reduce the buildup of plaque and tartar, and to minimize that Eskie bad breath! Brush the dog's teeth 2-3 times per week with a regular toothbrush--but be sure to use canine toothpaste (available at pet stores or online), as the kind made for humans can make dogs sick if they swallow it.
  • Tear Stains: Though they're naturally occurring and painless, American Eskimo tear stains can look quite unsightly. Tear stains on lighter-colored dogs are caused by liquid discharge from the dog's eyes (which contains a lot of iron) drying on the hair below the eyes, which stains the hair reddish-brown. And though numerous remedies and commercial products exist, vets say the best fix is to wipe the areas with a solution containing boric acid (such as contact lens cleaner). Twice a day, vets say, put the solution on a cotton ball and wipe beneath the eyes; the stains should fade or even disappear within a few days.
  • Ears: If your Eskie's ears aren't cleaned periodically, they'll collect dirt, grass, and other debris, and even get infected--which could lead to hearing loss. Clean the dog's ears monthly with canine ear cleaning solution (available at pet stores or online). Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions, and always use cotton balls (never Q-Tips!) to wipe out any excess solution.
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About this Article

Authored by:Dog-Learn
Updated:April 2, 2020