Pippa Elliott
Dr Pippa Elliott (BVMS MRCVS, University of Glasgow)
Photo of adult Eskapoo
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The Eskapoo is a hybrid dog breed, which is a cross between the American Eskimo Dog and the Poodle. They can vary in size from a small to medium-sized dog, depending on whether the Poodle parent was toy or miniature. These are sweet-looking dogs with bright eyes and an abundant hairy coat. They make for great companion dogs but do require daily exercise and an outlet for their quick minds.

The Eskapoo is intelligent but can be stubborn. Their coat requires daily care and may shed heavily. Health problems that occur in the parent breeds that may show up in their offspring include patellar luxation, under active thyroid glands, and hip joint problems.

About & History

The Eskapoo is a relatively new breed and therefore hasn’t had time to establish its own history. Therefore, their backstory is that of the two parent breeds.

The American Eskimo Dog

The American Eskimo Dog, as the name suggests, is a relative of the Nordic spitz type breeds. Indeed, this parent dog’s history is hazy, despite having been established a little over a century ago.

The breed was initially known as the American Spitz up until 1917 when they were renamed. It seems likely the breed developed from white Spitz and Pomeranian dogs that accompanied German immigrants to the US.

The Poodle

The hugely popular Poodle is strongly linked with France, as they were famously the companions of 18th century French aristocrats. However, this is misleading because the breed developed in Germany, as a hunting dog.

Indeed, the word ‘pudl’ from which ‘poodle’ is derived is German for puddle, a reflection of the water-loving heritage of these hunting dogs. In the modern day, their intelligence and good nature, plus a low shedding coat, has reinvigorated their popularity as an excellent choice for creating new hybrids.


Eskapoo Large Photo
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The Eskapoo is a small to medium-sized, athletic dog, depending on the size of the parent poodle. In a hybrid litter, the pups have a wide variety of looks, since any individual may take strongly after their mother or father. For those pups that are a true mix are well-proportioned, with a tucked up waist, and tail often held curled over their back.

The Eskapoo has a sweet-face with drop ears that frame dark, intelligent eyes. They have an abundant soft, thick coat with a slight curl. Given that the American Eskimo dog has a white coat, this means lighter colours predominate the Eskapoo with white, cream, or pale apricot being the most common colourations, but also blue, grey, caramel, and brown are possible.

Character & Temperament

In part, the Eskapoo’s temperament depends on their experiences in early life; well socialised pups grow into clever, quick, and playful adults that inherit the Poodle’s intelligence and American Eskimo Dog’s self-determination.

The Eskapoo needs an outlet for this bright, inquiring mind and if this doesn’t happen may become bored and frustrated. This could result in destructive behaviours or excessive barking. Overall, the Eskapoo makes a loving companion, who is both playful and jolly, but may be wilful at times.


The Eskapoo has the intelligence to take obedience training to a high level. However, the American Eskimo Dog can be stubborn, so successful training depends on finding a strong positive motivator so that the dog engages with enthusiasm. It is important to use positive training methods, which reward the dog for thinking problems through, rather than punishing them for wrong-doing.


As a hybrid dog, and a relatively rare one at that, there is little data about the health problems to which the Eskapoo is prone. However, it is reasonable to look at the parent breeds since their health issues stand a chance of showing up in their offspring.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation, or wobbly kneecaps, is a condition common in many smaller breeds. It is the result of the kneecap’s anatomy allowing it to slip to one side as the dog strides out. This causes a typical skipping gait on the affected back leg. Mild cases require rest and pain relief, but more severely affected individuals require corrective surgery to be fully mobile and pain-free.


The Eskapoo’s parents are prone to under active thyroid glands. Thyroid hormone governs how quickly the dog burns calories, and when this hormone’s levels are too low, the dog is sluggish, lacks energy, and gains weight easily. Happily, this problem is easy to diagnose with a screening blood test and corrected with a daily supplement of synthetic thyroid hormone.

Legge-Perthe’s Disease

Legge-Perthe’s disease affects the hips of growing pups, causing pain and lameness. It occurs when the blood supply to the thigh bone is damaged, or the bone grows outstrips its blood supply. The result is weak, crumbly femoral head (the bone that sits in the cup formed by the pelvis), leading to grating and pain with every step. Typically surgery is required to remove the femoral head (to leave a muscular sling which makes for smooth movement of the leg) or hip replacement surgery.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Although a small dog, the Eskapoo is a lively, spritely fellow and thrives on regular daily exercise. They are a jolly companion on walks, and although they don’t need marathon distances, they enjoy a reasonable length walk that leaves them feeling pleasantly tired.

Equally important as physical exercise is mental stimulation that gives their active mind a workout. This makes the Eskapoo a great candidate for dog sports, such as agility, or even obedience training to a high level.


The coat care needed by an Eskapoo depends on which parent they take after. If this is the poodle, then their coat grows readily and requires regular clipping and parlour trips. In addition, they need daily combing to prevent tangles and knots forming. Should they lean toward the American Eskimo Dog, they have a thicker, double coat that sheds heavily. This needs slightly different treatment in that a daily slock over with a deshedding tool is advisable to reduce the drifts of dog hair in the home.

As with all dogs, dental hygiene is important. Tooth brushing is equally as important for a best buddy as for us. From an early age get the Eskapoo pup used to having their mouth handled and teeth brushed. Establish a routine of daily tooth brushing and this pays off in the long term by reducing plaque, preventing tartar, and delaying the onset of dental disease.

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