The American Eskimo Dog is a breed of companion dog originating in Germany. The American Eskimo is a member of the Spitz family. Despite its name and appearance, the American Eskimo dog is not from Alaska; the dog's heritage is traced back to Northern Europe. The breed's progenitors were German Spitz, but due to anti-German prejudice during the First World War, it was renamed "American Eskimo Dog". Although modern American Eskimos have been exported as German Spitz Gross (or Mittel, depending on the dog's height), the breed standards are actually significantly different. In addition to serving as a watchdog and companion, the American Eskimo dog also achieved a high degree of popularity in the 1930s and 1940s United States as a circus performer.