The Alaskan Klee Kai (AKK) is a rare breed of small husky-like dogs hailing from Wasilla, Alaska. Their spitz-type appearance reflects their Northern roots with wolf-like characteristics.
And while they’re loyal, intelligent, and protective, they’re just as affectionate and playful.
This article explores this high-energy dog breed’s traits and qualities and what makes the Miniature Husky such a great companion dog for many.
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The history of the Miniature Husky
The Klee Kai is a miniature version of the Alaskan Husky that has been crossed with the Alaskan Eskimo to be smaller.
It’s a relatively new breed from the early 1970s when a woman named Linda Spurlin from Alaska saw a small Husky and instantly fell in love with it.
Spurlin and her family then developed a type of small dog that would serve as a companion rather than a sled dog.
Combining the Alaskan and Siberian Huskies with smaller spitz-type dogs like the American Eskimo and the Schipperke gave birth to the Alaskan Klee Kai dog breed.
Her approach to the breeding process was notoriously brutal to some, as she would “use the best and cull the rest” — carefully selecting dogs based on her high standards for appearance, soundness, and temperament.
In 1988, the Mini Husky was finally made available to the public.
As a new breed, the AKC (American Kennel Club) has yet to recognize the Alaskan Klee Kai as a purebred dog. Despite that, they are categorized under their Foundation Stock Service Group.
Meanwhile, the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA) and the United Kennel Club (UKC) have recognized this dog breed since the 1990s.
The Alaskan Klee Kai Association of America, the American Canine Registry (ACR), the Dog Registry of America (DRA), the American Pet Registry, Inc. (APRI), the Continental Kennel Club (CKC), and a few more recognize the breed as well and help maintain breed standards.
What does an Alaskan Klee Kai look like?
Apart from being a small breed and its striking resemblance with the Siberian Husky, this dog’s most noticeable feature is its “facial mask,” a dark-colored mask around its eyes and muzzle.
AKKs have a wedge-shaped head, ears that stand fully upright, and a fluffy tail that curls over the back. Their nose is brown or black.
Darker-colored Klee Kais will have darker-colored noses as it will depend on the colors of their fur.
Their forelegs and hindlegs are long and straight, and they also have very lean bodies.
According to the breed standard, partial or completely black lips on dogs with coat colors in shades of red with white are considered disqualified.
What is the difference between Alaskan Klee Kai and Siberian Husky?
Many believe that the Alaskan Klee Kai is a smaller version of the Siberian Husky. They do look very much alike!
The AKK is a small-sized dog with black, grey, or white color patterns and facial masks. They have dark-rimmed eyes, fluffy tails, and well-furred coats.
Meanwhile, the Siberian Husky is a medium-sized dog with adult Huskies reaching its maximum size around 24 inches (60 cm) and 60 pounds (27 kg).
They have blue or brown eyes with a well-furred coat, but not so long as to conceal its figure.
However, the most significant difference between the two is that the Siberian Husky is a working dog. The Alaskan Klee Kai, on the other hand, is a “beloved little companion dog,” according to Spurlin herself.
What are the Alaskan Klee Kai sizes?
Its name translates to “little dog,” which is an appropriate fit considering its size. But even so, this breed comes in three different sizes: standard, miniature, and toy.
Toy-sized Klee Kais
These dogs are up to 13 inches (33 cm) tall, and, as the name suggests, they are the smallest of the breed. They can weigh as little as 5 pounds (2 kg). Their size resembles that of a Maltese or Chihuahua.
Mini-sized Klee Kais
The mini Klee Kais are 13 to 15 inches (33 to 38 cm) tall. They make up the “average” size for the AKK, serving as the middle ground between the toy and standard sizes.
They can weigh between 13 and 18 pounds (5 and 8 kg) at full maturity, similar to a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Standard-sized Klee Kais
The standard-size AKK is between 15 to 17.5 inches (38 to 44 cm) tall, while anything taller is considered a fault.
They’re slightly smaller than a Shiba Inu and can weigh up to 22 pounds (9 kg). They are the largest size of the breed — which still isn’t that big!
What kind of coat does a Mini Husky have?
The Alaskan Klee Kai has a double coat made up of a short, soft undercoat and a longer, coarser outer coat. This physical trait protects the dog from the extreme weather, making them able to handle the cold well.
The coat colors include:
- Black and white
- Gray and white
- Red and white
- Solid white (though this is rare)
Ever wondered how Alaskan Klee Kai change their coat color from a puppy to an adult? Watch this video to see the transformation!
Temperament: What kind of personality does a Klee Kai have?
Alaskan Klee Kais are notably energetic, lovable, and great family dogs. However, they’re NOT friendly with strangers and usually wouldn’t want to be petted by anyone they don’t know.
They tend to have one or two favorite people to give their affection to and be shy with everyone else.
Despite their standoffish personality, they’re eager to please and highly food-motivated. They’re not excessive barkers, but they can be quite “talkative” with their humans.
Families with little ones should be wary, too. Although they look cuddly, these dogs do not get along well with small children.
The latter could provoke them to nip and snap, so you should keep an eye on them while playing.
AKKs are intelligent and alert and therefore make good watchdogs. They are easy to train and housebreak. They also make good service dogs since they’re not easily distracted by people or animals.
Since they are very attached to their selected few, Klee Kais shouldn’t be left alone for long periods. They can suffer from separation anxiety and will howl or whine when their owner is not around.
As with any dog, training and socialization do wonders, but it’s best to socialize AKK puppies by the time they reach 3 months of age.
This will help your pet get along well with other dogs, although we wouldn’t recommend keeping them with cats or small animals because of their high prey drive.
Your mini Husky can also develop the “Small Dog Syndrome.” They’re also quite sensitive, so they require an owner who is calm but firm, confident, and a consistent pack leader.
Care tips for your furry friend
Dogs living in colder regions may grow longer fur, requiring more maintenance and occasional trims to reduce tangling and matting.
Because of their double coat, AKKs have thermal protection against different weather conditions. However, they can also be at risk of overheating, like Pugs and Bulldogs who can’t pant as much because of their short noses.
The fur’s length allows them to adapt to their surroundings, which is why the coat may be longer or shorter depending on where they live.
Exercising your Alaskan Klee Kai
Despite its small size, this breed is famous for its high-energy levels. They’re incredibly active and agile dogs who require enough exercise to keep them happy and out of trouble.
Whether you prefer walking, training, or agility training, 60 to 90 minutes of daily physical activity will suffice.
The Mini Huskies don’t need any special equipment to meet their exercise needs — a fenced yard will do. But they would be more than happy to accept a toy or run around and play.
Without exercise, they can become anxious and destructive. So be sure to keep them on their toes.
Grooming needs and maintenance: Does the Alaskan Klee Kai shed a lot?
Alaskan Klee Kais aren’t hypoallergenic because they’re moderate to heavy shedders. While grooming is essential, it’s important to note that you should never shave their coat.
Brushing them once a week is sufficient to minimize shedding and the amount of hair they leave indoors. It will also keep their hair healthy as the natural oil in their coat is distributed.
They don’t need much maintenance apart from “blowing their coats” heavily during Spring and Fall.
Klee Kais are extremely clean and do not enjoy getting their feet wet except for when they’re cooling off in a shaded plastic pool in the summer. Despite being a self-cleaning breed, they could always use a little extra help.
Baths should only be given to AKKs when they’re exceptionally stinky or after a messy outdoor playdate.
They don’t drool either. Nonetheless, like many other breeds, you also need to give them regular nail clippings, teeth brushings, and ear cleanings.
Mini Husky feeding guide
AKK pups 3 to 6 months of age should be given three meals a day, while 6 months old to 1 year should get about 800 calories or 2 cups of high-quality dog food in 24 hours.
By the time they reach adulthood, one feeding would suffice.
You can also split it into two smaller feedings depending on your pet’s preference.
High-quality dry dog food is ideal for getting in all the required nutrients. You could mix in some broth, water, or canned food for some extra flavor.
A small amount of fruit and vegetables add a great treat, too, as long as it makes up less than ten percent of their daily intake.
Also, keep in mind that Alaskan Klee Kais can be fussy eaters. It’s not uncommon for them to turn up their nose at a bowl of food. Some may nibble more reluctantly or suffer tummy problems.
Your monthly food expense would depend on the dog’s diet, which can vary from one dog to another.
Health: How long do Alaskan Klee Kais live?
The Alaskan Klee Kai has a lifespan of 12 to 16 years. They are generally considered as a healthy breed and free from major genetic issues.
However, there are still several health problems to keep an eye out for, such as eye problems, cardiac issues, juvenile cataracts, Pyometra, liver shunts and disease, Factor VII deficiency, Patellar Luxation, Cryptorchidism, and thyroid diseases.
Fully grown Klee Kais may also keep their baby teeth. This can cause issues when their permanent teeth have grown, and tooth extraction may be recommended.
How much do Alaskan Klee Kai puppies cost?
The average litter size of a Mini Husky is one to three puppies, so it’s understandable if this breed’s cost reflects its rarity.
An Alaskan Klee Kai puppy can cost between $1,500 to $2,000. For champion breeds or those with pedigrees, you can expect to cough up more — excluding maintenance costs.
You can expect to spend a starting figure of roughly $700 a year on your dog. These expenses include basic health care, dog food, treats, toys, a license, and training.
But this price will vary depending on your particular dog and individual budget.
Alaskan Klee Kai breeders
The AKK is a rare breed, so you want to ensure that you find a reputable breeder. Registered kennels can provide you with a happy and healthy pup with good genetic traits.
Remember, it’s your responsibility to research breeders beforehand.
Make sure that your puppy is UKC registered. That way, you can be sure you’re getting a purebred Alaskan Klee Kai that’s true to its size.
You can also visit the Alaskan Klee Kai Association of America (AKKAOA) for a list of reputable breeders.
Alaskan Klee Kai rescue and adoption
Many dogs who end up in shelters and rescue centers have experienced abuse or neglect. Some may need more medical attention, while others crave a little love and care.
Nonetheless, giving a dog a loving new home is what takes top priority.
As this is a new breed, there aren’t many rescue centers dedicated to this specific breed yet. Some known rescue sites and organizations include:
Who should get an Alaskan Klee Kai?
Alaskan Klee Kais are alert and highly intelligent, making them easy to train. They’re one of the best watchdogs and make loyal companions.
These make excellent company for older kids and the elderly, too. They bond well with their families but require constant attention as they can suffer from separation anxiety.
The Mini Huskies don’t need much grooming, and they adapt well to different home environments.
On the flip side, they don’t do well with anyone suffering from allergies.
They’re also prone to a list of health conditions, and they also have high exercise requirements. They have a strong impulse to wander and can run away from home as a result.
They’re not the best breed for first-time owners because of their stubborn nature.
But what do you think of the Alaskan Klee Kai? Is this a dog you’re planning to get soon? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!