Showsight Presents The American Eskimo Dog

AMERICAN ESKIMO DOGS: JACK OF ALL TRADES, MASTER OF ONE

by HELEN DORRANCE

W hen it comes to perfor- mance events and per- formance titles, Ameri- can Eskimo Dogs seem to excel at pretty much anything they are asked to do. In fact, many Eskie owners subscribe to the philosophy that a well-rounded Eskie has titles at both ends of its name. However, when it comes to the sport of agility, Ameri- can Eskimo Dogs are one of the best kept secrets of the Non-Sporting Group. Although they love being active with their humans in all AKC sports such as rally, obedience, nose work, cours- ing trials and barn hunts; they particu- larly excel in agility. When the breed was developed in America, their intel- ligence, agility and trainability made them candidates for performing as trick dogs in circuses and other types of per- formances. These same inherited traits, coupled with a willingness to work and an eagerness to please their owners, all contribute to making the Eskie the per- fect teammate in agility competitions (or any kind of performance competi- tion). Eskies live long and are active well into old age. They have very few health problems with a low hip dysplasia rate which adds to their appeal as a long- lived, hard-working agility dog. With

lots of drive and a good work ethic, Eskies are excellent jumpers and rarely knock bars. And size, big or small, is no deterrent—the first Master Agility Champion American Eskimo Dog was an 11-inch toy. Eskies qualify each year for the AKC Agility Nationals and the AKC Agility Invitational (5 dogs competed in both in 2014). Eskies frequently make the finals in both and/or place at the Invitational. Last year two Eskies made it into the finals at the Invitational, with Shirley Michaels and MACH12 Artcrose’s Livin On The Edge MXC3 MJC4 (“Emma”) placing fourth in the 12-inch jump height class and Denise Schneider with MACH13 Sr Extreme Curiosity MXB4 MJS4 MXF MFB TQX T2B4 (“Kody”) placing fourth in the 16-inch jump height class. Emma was also the top agility American Eskimo Dog in both 2013 and 2014. There is no end to what Eskies are capable of as shown by MACH3 Kessona Too Much Caffeine MX6 MJB2 NF (“Tweek”), owned by Jay Kessel, who was the first American Eskimo Dog to make the US Agility World team. In 2013, Jay and Tweek travelled to South Africa to represent the United States and were one of the four teams

competing on the small dog team, which jumps at the international height of 14-inches. The small dog team won the silver medal for team jumping! Four Eskies competed at the second annual Westminster Kennel Club Agility Trial and Lynn Ancona and MACH2 Kes- sona Life In The Fast Lane MXS MJG XF not only made the finals but they finished fourth in the 12-inch height class. And for the first time, the Ameri- can Eskimo Dog Club of America was able to host two days of Eskie only agil- ity at their 2014 National Specialty at Purina Farms. More than 20 American Eskimo Dogs competed with over 40 runs each day. People always seem surprised at how good Eskies are at agility. Many people think because Eskies are a Nor- dic type breed they must be indepen- dent and stubborn. Although Eskies are thinkers—and sometimes think they know the course better than their human team member—I don’t find them stubborn or willful. They are always eager to please and play the game by the human rules. They can surprise you with the amount of drive they can exhibit. I remember one of my very first agility trials where my Eskie in the 12-inch Novice Standard

“THEY ARE ALWAYS EAGER TO PLEASE AND PLAY THE GAME BY THE HUMAN RULES.”

Biz on dog walk. (Photography by Furry Fotography)

298 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A PRIL 2019

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