Shetland Sheepdog vs American Eskimo Dog - Breed Comparison

Shetland Sheepdog vs American Eskimo Dog - Breed ComparisonShetland Sheepdog is originated from United Kingdom but American Eskimo Dog is originated from United States. Shetland Sheepdog may grow 7 cm / 2 inches shorter than American Eskimo Dog. Both Shetland Sheepdog and American Eskimo Dog are having almost same weight. Both Shetland Sheepdog and American Eskimo Dog has almost same life span. Both Shetland Sheepdog and American Eskimo Dog has almost same litter size. Shetland Sheepdog requires Moderate maintenance. But American Eskimo Dog requires High maintenance


shetland sheepdog - historyThe Shetland Sheepdog was crossed with working collies and brought to the islands. They were bred on the Shetland Islands, United Kingdom.

These little dogs have always been particularly valuable to farmers who used them to herd their sheep.

During the early 20th century other crosses occurred an in 1909 and the little dog received recognition by the English Kennel Club. The first Sheltie to be registered by the American Kennel Club was in 1911.

american eskimo dog - historyThe American Eskimo is derived from the Nordic Spitz breed and most closely related to the German Spitz in particular. There were many German Spitzes in the United States at the time of the second World War and anti-German sentiment caused its name to change to the American Eskimo Dog. However, as the breed developed over time in the States, the American Eskimo became its own separate breed. In addition to the German Spitz, the American Eskimo is also related to the white Keeshond, the Samoyed, the white Italian Spitz and the white Pomeranian. The history is beginning to show that the Spitzes that were brought to the US in the early 1900’s was white. This color was not popular in Europe but was quickly the favorite in the United States. They were originally working dogs on farms and ranches. They have excellent herding instincts, make goo watch and guard dogs, and good law enforcement sniff dogs. However, their first introduction to the American public was through the Cooper Brothers’ Railroad Circus and Stout’s Pal Pierre at the Barnum and Baily Circus. Eskimo puppies were sold after the circus show.

It was then that the breed became one of America’s favorite breeds and they quickly became house pets. Following World War II, Japan exported the Japanese Spitz into America and it was crossed with the Eskimo also. The American Eskimo Dog breed was not recognized by AKC until 1985. Still in 1958 there was no official breed club in the States but there were growing numbers of the dogs. It was not until 1970 did the National American Eskimo Dog Association (NAEDA) come into being. They collected the pedigrees of the first 1750 dogs to be AKC registered.

Since the American Eskimo Dog is not recognized internationally, those wishing to participate in international competition such as England’s prestigious Cruft’s Dog Show must register their dogs a German Spitz. Despite this the American Eskimo and German Spitz remain two very different breeds.


shetland sheepdog puppy - descriptionThe small Shetland Sheepdog stands at between 33 to 41cm and weighs roughly between 6 and 12kg for both males and females. The long double coat of this dog sheds consistently, he will need to be brushed regularly.

The coat is golden, black or a steel grey color with white. The ears are erect and the tail long and feathery and the expression on this dogs face is sensitive, alert and gentle.


Shelties make wonderful pets for their human families and are great with children too. They’re protective, making good watchdogs. They are somewhat wary around strangers.

Smart and alert, you can train this little dog plenty of tricks because he is quick to learn. They’re such agile little dogs and are great athletes. It’s always a good idea to keep such a smart little dog busy so he doesn’t become bored.

He is able to adjust to life in the city or the countryside, so long as he is kept busy, otherwise he takes to a piercing kind of bark.

american eskimo dog puppy - descriptionThis small to medium dog is beautiful and resembles a miniature Samoyed. There are three sizes of American Eskimo – the standard, miniature, and the toy. The Eskimo’s head is wedge shaped with tall, triangular, erect ears. It has a heavily plumed tail with a sharp curl over the back. The Eskimo can burst into bold action due to their good legs and feet.

The coat is a double one with a harsh outer coat and plush inner one. The coat is always white or white with cream or biscuit markings, and visible skin in gray or pink. The American Eskimo’s ruff or mane is very heavy, and the nose, eyelids, pads and gums are black. They have dark eyes and blue are not allowed.


shetland sheepdog dog - characteristicsYou’re certainly not going to have one dull moment with the Shetland sheepdog – its such a lively, intelligent, entertaining, playful and also eager to please - that's your Sheltie.

They also have a gentle, quiet side. They love the company of their human family and are able to adapt to life in the city or countryside, so long as he gets lots of attention and exercise.

They’re highly strung dogs, and an excitable child can get them barking in a high pitched way which wont be good if you live close to your neighbors.

Shelties are essentially peaceful dogs who prefer a home where its quiet and orderly. If you give this dog what it needs, just like you would for any family member of yours, you’ll be blessed with an awesome pet and companion.

american eskimo dog dog - characteristicsThe Eskimo is affectionate, playful and love children of all ages. They are intelligent and want to please you. They can be trained easily and are champions of the obedience trial. They are fun and confident. At the same time, they need a confident pack leader. He is prone to Little Dog Syndrome where the dog thinks they oversee the home and display all sorts of behaviors. Under these circumstances the American Eskimo can become obsessive, aggressive, and engaging in obsessive resource guarding and barking.

Health Problems

shetland sheepdog puppies - health problemsEvery dog, no matter how healthy, can succumb to any one of the many dog illnesses there are.Some of the dog illnesses to look out for include cancer, bloat, ear infections, dental problems, hypothyroidism, skin allergies and obesity among others.


This illness occurs when the dog’s body doesn’t maintain sufficient levels of thyroid hormones. Your pet will be sensitive to the cold, the thick hair will be thinning and there will be weight gain. It will be wise to have your dog checked out by your vet as this is an ailment which can be managed with medication.

Collie Eye Anomaly:

This is an inherited condition that can lead to blindness in some dogs. It can occur in both eyes. It can be diagnosed by your vet but regrettably there is no treatment. Not spaying or neutering your dog will mean that if the have puppies the gene can be carried down to the puppies.


This is an inherited disorder that can cause skin lesions but also affect the muscles. Skin lesions can appear on the head and the front legs and there can be hair loss.

american eskimo dog puppies - health problemsThe American Eskimo Dog is prone to hip dysplasia. Their eyes and tear ducts are potential issues with progressive retinal atrophy. They are allergic to fleas and have a tendency to be overweight.

We deal with PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy in greater detain in a following section but it is not as destructive as it used to be. It is much more treatable now.

There are potentially some dental issues that soem American Eskimo Dogs are prone to.

Caring The Pet


shetland sheepdog dogs - caringThese little dogs have always been farm dogs and they will need a lot of exercise. Even so, with their small size, they can adapt to life in the city or the countryside, but will always need exercise.They love going for walks and playing games with the kids.


Your Sheltie will need brushing every day because the hair can so easily pick up leaves, twigs and burrs. In the warmer months some people prefer to trim the coat themselves or take the dog along to a professional groomer.


It is best to feed adult dogs two meals a day instead of one. One can make your dog want to gobble up his food too quickly and this can result in a life threatening condition known as bloat.

How much any adult dog eats will depend on his size, his age and his activity levels.The quality of dog food you buy also makes a huge difference – the better quality the food, the more satisfied your Sheltie will be.

Some of the best commercially manufactured dog foods are convenient and they can be good if you go with the best brands that have high levels of vitamins and minerals in them. Dry kibble can be made more enticing when you add some homemade food into it.

Boiled chicken, sweet potatoes, brown rice or pasta, carrots and spinach will do him the world of good. Chop it up and add small portions to the kibble about twice a week. His wagging tail and prancing antics will be all the thanks you need.

Some raw meat added in occasionally will also contribute to your pet’s heath. Make sure he is never without a constant supply of fresh, cool water.


american eskimo dog dogs - caringYour American Eskimo Dog needs a high quality food so they will not get overweight. Make sure you know how much is appropriate for your particular dog and her specific age. The puppies should be fed twice a day but adults only once.

Health issues

As previously mentioned the American Eskimo Dog is prone to eye issue such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy or (PRA) – this disease is inherited and used to cause blindness as the rods in the retina died. New medical discoveries mean this is no longer a hopeless disease. Their eyes are also susceptible to other issues so make sure you check them and the tear ducts regularly.

Like so many other breeds the American Eskimo is also susceptible to hip dysplasia and a moving patella in the knee. For this reason watch their weight. They can also be very allergic.

Exercise and games

This small dog has more energy than his size can handle. He needs a lot of exercise and a place to run. If he will become hyperactive and destructive. They are prone to disturbing behaviors such as spinning (spinning in circles) when they don’t get enough exercise. The American Eskimo Dog is smart and agile, Play games like catch or agility. They are also great at herding, competitive obedience or detection.

Basic Information

Herding dogs
Herding dogs
United Kingdom
United States
Height Male:
33 - 41 cm
12 - 17 inches
23 - 48 cm
9 - 19 inches
Height Female:
33 - 41 cm
12 - 17 inches
23 - 40 cm
9 - 16 inches
Weight Male:
6 - 12 kg
13 - 27 pounds
4 - 16 kg
8 - 36 pounds
Weight Female:
6 - 12 kg
13 - 27 pounds
3 - 12 kg
6 - 27 pounds
Life Span:
10 - 14 Years
13 - 15 Years
Litter Size:
4 - 6
1 - 5
Small dog
Small dog
Other Names:
, Spitz
Colors Available:
Mix of colors - golden, black or a steel grey color with white
White with cream or biscuit markings
Long and thick
Heavy, thick, double
Moderate, Seasonal
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Docile, Energetic, Friendly, Gentle, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Quiet, Responsive, Sweet, Territorial
Affectionate, Alert, Courageous, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Stubborn
Moderate maintenance
High maintenance
Kids Friendly:
New Owners Friendly:

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