The Alaskan Klee Kai: What you need to know about the miniature Husky

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The Alaskan Klee Kai is a rare breed of small husky-like dogs hailing from Alaska.

Their spitz-type appearance reflects their Northern roots with wolf-like characteristics. And while they are loyal, intelligent, and protective, they are just as affectionate and playful. 

an Alaskan Klee Kai laying down patiently
Image source

This article explores the traits and qualities of this high-energy dog breed and what makes it such a great companion dog. 

Where did the Alaskan Klee Kai dog breed originate?

As a new breed, the AKC (American Kennel Club) has yet to recognize the Alaskan Klee Kai as a purebred dog.

But, the United Kennel Club (UKC) and the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA) have recognized this dog breed since the 1990s. 

a lovable Alaskan Klee Kai smiling and tilting its head
Image source

The Alaskan Klee Kai Association of America recognizes the breed, too, and helps maintain breed standards. And despite the mixed acceptance, its origin and history remain well-documented. 

In the early 1970s, an Alaskan woman named Linda Spurlin discovered a mini-Husky and fell in love with it. She and her family then went on to breed a type of small dog that would serve as a companion rather than a sled dog.

Combining the Alaskan Husky, Siberian Husky, Schipperke, and American Eskimo dog, they gave birth to the Alaskan Klee Kai.

Her approach to the breeding process was notoriously brutal to some, as she would “use the best and cull the rest.” 

She had high standards for appearance, temperament, and soundness and carefully selected dogs based on these factors. And in 1988, she eventually made the breed available to the public.

What does an Alaskan Klee Kai look like?

Apart from being a small breed, this dog’s most noticeable feature is its “facial mask”. The distinctive dark and light fur resembles that of the Alaskan husky. 

They have a non-wrinkled, wedge-shaped head proportionate to their body size with a moderate stop.

Their skulls are broad and round and gradually taper towards the eyes. Their ears are small, triangular, and pricked, set above their ‘masked’ faces. 

an Alaskan Klee Kai puppy crouching and in an hunting position
Meet Max, an Alaskan Klee Kai crouching – Image source

They have a medium-length neck that arches and carries their heads in an upright position but leans forward when trotting.

They have black or liver-colored rims around their medium-sized eyes, depending on the coat color.

Brown and almond-shaped are most desirable, but they can be oval or round and in different colors. Their eyes are set obliquely. 

From their shoulder to their rear, their body’s length is slightly longer than that of the height from the ground to the withers.

The topline of their back is level from behind the withers to the loin. And the croup is slightly steep but doesn’t restrict the rear thrust of the hind legs. 

Their ribs are well-sprung and form a strong heart-shaped back that curves inwards when viewed in cross-section.

Their chests are broad and let down to the elbows, and its lowest point is the area behind the foreleg. The sternum isn’t excessively pointed.

Their shoulders are moderately laid back, and forelegs are straight and well-spaced. Their pasterns are short but strong, flexible, and slightly sloped. Elbows are parallel to the body.

When viewed from the rear, their rear pasterns should be moderately-spaced and parallel to each other. They are also well let-down and perpendicular to the ground. Rear legs are well-angulated at their stifle and hock joints.

What is the difference between Alaskan Klee Kai and Siberian Husky?

a Siberian Husky laying near a fire pit and smiling mischievously
A Siberian Husky laying near a fire pit and smiling mischievously

Many believe that the Alaskan Klee Kai is a smaller version of the Alaskan Husky, but that is only partially true.

As we mentioned previously, the Alaskan Klee Kai is an amalgamation of the Alaskan Husky, Siberian Husky, Schipperke, and American Eskimo dog. So they are, in fact, part Husky

The AKK is a small-sized dog with black, grey, or white color patterns and facial masks.

They have dark-rimmed eyes, and they have fluffy tails and well-furred coats. Adults typically don’t exceed 15 inches (38 cm) and 20 pounds (9 kg). 

The Siberian Husky is a medium-sized dog with black, grey, copper, or white color patterns and facial masks.

They have blue or brown eyes with a well-furred coat, but not so long as to conceal its figure. Adults typically don’t exceed 24 inches (60 cm) and 60 pounds (27 kg).

However, the biggest 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?

Despite their small size, they are incredibly active and energetic and require regular exercise.

They can live in apartments, but it’s ideal to have a spacious area to run and play, so a family home is best. However, you should fence them in. 

Its name translates to “little dog,” which is an appropriate fit considering its size!

But even so, the Alaskan Klee Kai comes in three different sizes: toy, miniature, and standard. And they can weigh anywhere between 5 to 22 pounds (2-9 kg).

Toy Alaskan Klee Kai

a Toy Alaskan Klee Kai puppy sitting on dried leaves
Meet Atlas, a Toy Alaskan Klee Kai puppy – Image source

These 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). As the smallest of this breed, their size resembles that of a Maltese or chihuahua. 

Miniature Alaskan Klee Kai

a Miniature Alaskan Klee Kai puppy standing in the forest
Meet Krypto, a Miniature Alaskan Klee Kai puppy standing in the forest – Image source

The miniature Klee Kais are 13 to 15 inches (33-38 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 (5-8 kg) at full maturity, similar to a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. 

Standard Alaskan Klee Kai

a Standard Alaskan Klee Kai sitting patiently
Meet Bruce, a Standard Alaskan Klee Kai sitting patiently – Image source

The standard-size AKK is between 15 to 17 inches (38-43 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’re the largest size of the breed – which still isn’t very big! 

What type of coat and colors does Klee Kais have?

The Alaskan Klee Kai has a double coat made up of a short, soft undercoat and a longer, coarser outer coat. This 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

Temperament: Are Alaskan Klee Kai good pets?

There’s a lot to consider when you select a dog breed. Alaskan Klee Kais are notably energetic, lovable, and great family dogs.

However, they are not friendly with strangers, which is a hard pill to swallow, considering the attention they attract!

Despite their adorable demeanor, they’re also intelligent and alert and therefore make good watchdogs

They’re extremely clean and don’t enjoy getting their feet wet. Except for when they’re cooling off in a shaded plastic pool in the summer. 

a black and white Alaskan Klee Kai smiling and standing on the grass
Image source

While they don’t care much for strangers, they love to play and cuddle with their loved ones and demand lots of attention.

But you should keep an eye on them while playing with small children who could provoke them to nip and snap. 

With proper socialization, they can get along with other dogs well. But because they have a high prey drive, we wouldn’t recommend keeping them with cats or small animals.

While they aren’t excessive barkers, they’re quite ‘talkative’ with their owners. Each has their own unique voice, whether they howl out of excitement or give a sharp bark for attention.

As they are very attached to their family, they experience separation anxiety and shouldn’t be alone for too long. But unlike other Husky breeds, they are easy to train and housebreak. 

How to take care of your Alaskan Klee Kai dog?

The Alaskan Klee Kai can spend hours grooming themselves, so they have minimal grooming needs from you.

The only time you’ll need to bathe them is if they become particularly dirty or smelly. So they require a moderate amount of maintenance. 

Like many other breeds, you need to give them regular nail clippings, teeth brushings, and ear cleanings.

And while they aren’t prone to weight gain, they need enough nutrients to fuel their high energy levels throughout the day. Consult your veterinarian if you’re feeling unsure. 

Alaskan Klee Kai looking adorable while laying on a dog bed
Image source

They don’t drool, and you only need to brush them once a week to keep their coats healthy. But they don’t need much maintenance apart from when they “blow their coats” during Spring and Fall. 

Dogs living in colder regions may grow longer fur, which would need more maintenance. You should also trim longer hair occasionally to reduce tangling and matting. 

Because of their double coat, they have thermal protection against extreme hot and cold weather. Their fur’s length allows them to adapt, which is why the fur may be longer or shorter depending on where they live. 

They don’t need any special equipment for exercise – a fenced yard will do. But they would be more than happy to accept a toy.

If they don’t receive enough exercise, they can become anxious and destructive. So be sure to keep them on their toes! 

Exercising your Alaskan Klee Kai Dog

As we mentioned before, this breed is famous for its high energy levels. They’re active and agile dogs who require lots of exercises 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. 

a camping Alaskan Klee Kai sitting near a lake
Meet Timber, an adventurous Alaskan Klee Kai sitting in a nearby lake – Image source

Alaskan Klee Kai grooming (does the Alaskan Klee Kai shed?)

Alaskan Klee Kais don’t shed a lot, but they’re not hypoallergenic either. However, while grooming is essential, it’s important to note that you should never shave your coat. 

Despite being a self-cleaning breed, they could always use a little extra help. But you should only bathe them when exceptionally stinky or after a messy outdoor playdate. 

What to feed your Alaskan Klee Kai 

Alaskan Klee Kais can be fussy eaters, so 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. 

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. 

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?

two Alaska Klee Kais sitting under the sunset
Image source

The Alaskan Klee Kai has an average lifespan of twelve to eighteen years. They are generally free from major genetic issues. But there are several health problems to keep an eye out for:

  • Eye problems and juvenile cataracts 
  • Liver shunts and disease
  • Factor VII deficiency
  • Pyometra
  • Patellar luxation
  • Cryptorchidism
  • Cardiac issues
  • Thyroid diseases

How much is an Alaskan Klee Kai puppy?

There are few recognized breeders and small litters of one to five puppies. So this breed’s cost reflects its rarity.

An Alaskan Klee Kai puppy costs between $1000 to $3500 USD. For champion breeds or those with pedigrees, you can expect to cough up as much as $5900. And that excludes maintenance costs.

You can expect to spend a starting figure of roughly $700 a year on your dog. This includes basic health care, dog food, treats, toys, a license, and training. But this price will vary depending on your particular dog and individual budget. 

Some online organizations where you can find Alaskan Klee Kai puppies include:

Alaskan Klee Kai puppy sitting on the grass
Meet Parker, an Alaskan Klee Kai puppy with adorable eyes – Image source

Alaskan Klee Kai breeders

The AKK is a rare breed, so you want to ensure that you find a reputable breeder. They can guarantee good genetic traits. So 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 pure bred Alaskan Klee Kai. Or mini huskies that stay small. Some breeders in the United States include:

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 just need a little love and care. But 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. Some known rescue sites and organizations include:

Who should get an Alaskan Klee Kai dog?

a brown Alaskan Klee Kai standing and smiling
Image source

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 are kid-friendly dogs who make good company for the elderly too. There’s not much grooming needed, and they adapt well to different home environments. 

However, they don’t do well with anyone suffering from allergies. And they are prone to a list of health conditions.

They also have high exercise requirements. They bond well with their family, but that can cause separation anxiety if left alone. 

They have a strong impulse to wander and can run away from home as a result. They’re not the best for first-time owners because of their stubborn nature.

Potential owners should be aware of the good, the bad, and the ugly. With that in mind, the Alaskan Klee Kai can make an excellent companion

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