Some dogs seem perpetually popular, such as the Siberian Husky, or Alaskan Malamute. It’s easy to understand why, what with their fluffy fur, bright eyes, and loud personality. But while the Alaskan Klee Kai sure looks a lot like a miniature version of these breeds, there are quite a few differences.
Pocket-sized Husky lookalike
The name Klee Kai is an Inuit term that simply means “small dog”, which makes sense when you look at how similar it is to the bigger Husky breeds. But unlike their bigger cousins, the Alaskan Klee Kai is, for one thing, much better suited for the life of a companion dog. Husky breeds are working dogs, after all, with a love for the wild outdoors and the space and freedom it offers. Not much of a couch potato, in other words.
The Alaskan Klee Kai is a relatively new breed, not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club. Despite this, many other kennel clubs recognize it, and breed standards have been established. Since it is so new, however, there is a lot of variation within the breed, and some breeders are working to ease some particular traits, skittishness being one of them. As of now, there are few breeders who raise the Alaskan Klee Kai, at all.
Originally, the Alaskan Klee Kai was developed in Wasilla, Alaska, by a woman named Linda S. Spurlin, and her family. Inspired by a small version of a Siberian Husky she saw, Spurlin wanted to create a smaller, Husky-like, companion dog breed. She didn’t breed dogs with dwarfism, however, which is often the go-to method when trying for smaller versions of breeds. Instead, she bred smaller breeds like the Schipperke and Alaskan Eskimo Dog with Siberian and Alaskan Huskies, to get smaller puppies with the Husky look. For the past 15 years or so, the Alaskan Klee Kai has been recognized by the American Rare Breed Association, and with Surlin now being retired, other breeders have taken over.
Size and appearance of the Alaskan Klee Kai
The Alaskan Klee Kai comes in three sizes; toy, miniature, and standard. Though, there isn’t much difference between them. While the toy Alaskan Klee Kai is only 13″ tall, miniatures are 13″ to 15″, and standards 15″ to 17″. The Alaskan Klee Kai usually weighs around 10-15 pounds, but this can still vary by several pounds from one dog to another.
The Alaskan Klee Kai is sturdy and strong, with the markings of its related Husky breeds. The three coat colors recognized are red and white, gray and white, and black and white. There have even been cases of a solid white Alaskan Klee Kai, or two. Regardless of if they have a standard or full-coat, it’s a double coat, which means they tend to shed quite a bit and need a lot of brushing. A fun fact about the Alaskan Klee Kai, though, is that they generally don’t develop that typical dog odor. They also like to groom themselves, so you may end up with an overall cleaner dog.
Temperament and personality
Husky breeds are generally very vocal and lovable, and the Alaskan Klee Kai shares this trait. Unlike its cousins, though, the Klee Kai loves spending its time with its family indoors, and is well-suited for a more conventional kind of life. It does require a lot of exercise and stimulation, being descended from such active breeds, but it’s perfectly content with a large backyard rather than a forest. They’re intelligent and quick to learn, and a long walk with some playtime and a training session should render the Alaskan Klee Kai done for the day. Make sure to keep the dog leashed on walks, though; their strong prey drive can cause them to bolt if they spot an animal.
The Alaskan Klee Kai is a loving and social breed, but is still wary of strangers, by nature. It’s important to socialize these dogs from an early age, and keep it up constantly. Unfamiliar faces can unsettle the Alaskan Klee Kai, which on the other hand makes for an excellent watch dog. Make sure to give the Klee Kai all the attention it needs, because this dog can be sensitive, and will very clearly make its displeasure known if its needs aren’t met. It’s not quite as loud and dramatic as its Husky cousins, but will still bark and whine if it wants to.
This is a high-energy breed, and it’s important to make sure that its exercise needs are met. Otherwise, you may end up with a high-strung dog that’s prone to barking, chewing, and anxiety.
Things to consider
The Alaskan Klee Kai is an active, intelligent, and social dog, while still wary of strangers. It needs a lot of attention from its human(s), and may become restless and unhappy if those needs go unsatisfied. They’re generally not considered hyperactive, though, like its Husky cousins, or other small breeds. Their intelligence can be a challenge if you’re not up for spending that time and energy, and the Alaskan Klee Kai is also known for being quite the escape artist. Due to their hunting instincts, it’s best to keep a very close eye on them around rodents and other small animals. They’ll get along just fine with cats, as long as they’re raised with one and grow accustomed to having one around. In short, the Alaskan Klee Kai is a rare, particular type of dog, with challenges that not just anyone may be up for. But if you are, this high-energy, loving breed might just be for you.