Alaskan Klee Kai

Alaskan Klee Kai


  • Height: 13-17 inches
  • Weight: 10-20 pounds
  • Life Span: 12-16 years
  • Diet: Omnivorous (primarily a well-balanced diet of high-quality dog food)

Alaskan Klee Kai Overview:

The Alaskan Klee Kai, often likened to a small-scale Siberian Husky, is a relatively new breed that has quickly captured the hearts of dog lovers worldwide. Developed in the 1970s by an Alaskan breeder named Linda S. Spurlin, the Alaskan Klee Kai was bred to be a companion dog that retained the majestic look of the Siberian Husky, but was small enough to be a comfortable house pet. The name “Klee Kai” itself is derived from Inuit words meaning “small dog”.

Despite their relatively small size, these dogs pack a punch in terms of personality, intelligence, and energy. They are known for their playful demeanor, agility, and a striking appearance characterized by a fluffy double coat, almond-shaped eyes that come in a range of colors, and erect ears. The Alaskan Klee Kai is classified into three sizes: toy, miniature, and standard, but all maintain the breed’s typical compact build.

Alaskan Klee Kai Highlights:

One of the defining characteristics of the Alaskan Klee Kai is its striking resemblance to the Siberian Husky, albeit in a smaller package. They share the Husky’s wolf-like appearance, beautiful coat colors, and captivating, expressive eyes that can be blue, green, brown, or even bi-colored. This makes them a favorite among those who admire the Husky’s looks but prefer a smaller, more manageable size.

However, an Alaskan Klee Kai is not just a “mini-Husky”. They have a distinct personality that sets them apart from their larger counterparts. They are more reserved and can be aloof with strangers, which contrasts with the Husky’s outgoing nature. This makes them excellent watchdogs, as they are alert and protective, always ready to warn their owners of any perceived threats.

Alaskan Klee Kai Evolution and History:

The Alaskan Klee Kai’s history is a brief but intriguing one. The breed was developed in Alaska in the 1970s by Linda S. Spurlin after she encountered an undersized Husky, which sparked her interest in creating a smaller version of the breed. She used a selective breeding process with Siberian and Alaskan Huskies, introducing smaller breeds such as the American Eskimo Dog and Schipperke to help reduce the size without compromising on the breed’s health.

Initially, Spurlin kept her breeding program private, but by 1988 she started selling Alaskan Klee Kai dogs to the public. The United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1997. Despite being a recent creation, the Alaskan Klee Kai has rapidly gained popularity, particularly among city dwellers looking for a smaller, adaptable breed that retains the appearance and some traits of the larger Husky breeds.

Alaskan Klee Kai Size and Weight:

Alaskan Klee Kais are small dogs, generally falling into one of three size categories: toy, miniature, and standard. Toy Klee Kais stand up to 13 inches tall and weigh around 10 pounds, miniature Klee Kais are 13-15 inches tall and weigh around 15 pounds, while standard Klee Kais stand 15-17 inches tall and can weigh up to 20 pounds.

Despite their small size, these dogs have a sturdy, well-balanced build that contributes to their agility and athleticism. They carry a proportionate weight for their size, meaning they are neither too slender nor too stocky. Their balanced stature allows for the speed, quickness, and nimbleness that the breed is known for.

Alaskan Klee Kai Personality:

Known for their intelligent, curious, and playful personalities, Alaskan Klee Kais make for delightful companions. They are very engaging, often seeking attention and love from their human family members. They are also known for their high energy levels and agility, which means they love playtime and enjoy various forms of exercise.

However, it’s worth noting that Alaskan Klee Kais can be reserved around strangers. They’re not typically the type of dog to immediately warm up to unfamiliar people, often displaying a more aloof demeanor. Because of their cautious nature, it’s crucial to socialize these dogs from a young age to help them grow comfortable around new people and experiences.

The Adaptability of the Alaskan Klee Kai:

Alaskan Klee Kais are highly adaptable dogs. Their small size makes them suitable for both apartment living and larger homes with yards, as long as they are provided with adequate physical and mental stimulation. They can adapt to a wide range of climates, but their thick double coat makes them particularly suited for colder weather.

However, these dogs can be sensitive to their surroundings and may become stressed or anxious in high-traffic or noisy environments. They do best in homes that can provide a balanced routine, as they thrive on consistency. Early socialization can also help them become more adaptable to different situations and environments.

Alaskan Klee Kai Temperament:

The Alaskan Klee Kai is known for its spirited and alert temperament. They’re often described as “shadow dogs” because of their tendency to follow their owners around, showing deep loyalty and affection to their human family. This breed is also quite intelligent, and with this comes a certain degree of independence.

They can be aloof or even shy around strangers, and as such, they make good watchdogs. They are not typically aggressive but will alert their owners to unfamiliar people or unusual activity. With family, they’re playful and loving, but they do require consistent, firm training from an early age due to their intelligent, occasionally stubborn nature.

Alaskan Klee Kai Maintenance and Grooming:

Alaskan Klee Kais have a double coat that requires regular grooming to maintain its health and appearance. They should be brushed weekly to remove loose fur and prevent matting, and more frequently during their shedding seasons, which usually occur twice a year.

While they do not have a strong doggy odor and are relatively clean dogs, they should be bathed only when necessary to prevent skin dryness. As with any breed, regular dental hygiene, nail trims, and ear checks should also be part of their grooming routine.

The Trainability of the Alaskan Klee Kai:

These intelligent dogs are generally quick learners and can excel in obedience and agility training. However, their independent streak may sometimes come across as stubbornness, making consistent, positive reinforcement methods crucial for successful training.

Socialization from a young age is also essential, as it helps to reduce their inherent wariness of strangers and unfamiliar environments. Puppy classes, introductions to a variety of people, and exposure to different sights and sounds can all help your Alaskan Klee Kai become a well-adjusted adult dog.

Exercise Needs of the Alaskan Klee Kai:

Despite their small size, Alaskan Klee Kais are an active and energetic breed that requires regular exercise to keep them fit and content. This can include daily walks, playtime in a securely fenced yard, or mental stimulation through puzzle toys and training sessions.

While they enjoy activities and games, they are not as high-energy as the Siberian Husky and do not require the same level of intense exercise. However, without adequate exercise, they can become bored, which may lead to unwanted behaviors like excessive barking or chewing.

Alaskan Klee Kai Health:

Like all breeds, the Alaskan Klee Kai is prone to certain health conditions. While not all individuals will get any or all of these diseases, it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed.

  • Patellar Luxation: This is a relatively common problem in small dogs. It occurs when the dog’s kneecap (patella) is dislocated from its normal position. This can cause lameness in the leg or an abnormal gait. Regular vet check-ups can help to identify this issue early and manage it effectively.
  • Cardiac Issues: Some Alaskan Klee Kais can be prone to cardiac problems like heart murmurs. These are often detected through regular veterinary check-ups. Depending on the severity, treatment can range from monitoring to medication or even surgery.
  • Thyroid Problems: Hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones, can occur in Alaskan Klee Kais. Symptoms can include weight gain, hair loss, lethargy, and skin conditions. This can be managed with medication and regular veterinary care.

Alaskan Klee Kai Care:

Caring for an Alaskan Klee Kai involves meeting their physical, mental, and social needs. Regular exercise and mental stimulation through play and training are crucial. Due to their double coat, they also require regular grooming to maintain skin and coat health.

Alaskan Klee Kais are generally healthy dogs, but like any breed, they should have regular vet check-ups and stay up-to-date on vaccinations and parasite prevention. Their diet should be high-quality and portion-controlled to prevent obesity. It’s also essential to provide your Alaskan Klee Kai with plenty of social interaction, as they are companionable dogs that thrive on attention from their families.

Alaskan Klee Kai Feeding:

Alaskan Klee Kais should be fed a diet of high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their age, size, and activity level. It’s also important to monitor their portion sizes to prevent overfeeding, which can lead to obesity. Treats can be used as a training aid but should not make up more than 10% of their daily caloric intake.

While they generally do well on a diet of commercial dog food, some Alaskan Klee Kai owners choose to feed a raw or home-cooked diet. Regardless of the type of diet you choose, it’s always important to ensure it is balanced and meets all of your dog’s nutritional needs.

Alaskan Klee Kai Coat Color and Grooming:

The Alaskan Klee Kai is known for its thick double coat that comes in various colors and patterns, including black and white, grey and white, and red and white. They even have a rare “blue” coat, which is actually a diluted black color that appears blue-grey. Their coat, while beautiful, requires regular maintenance.

Brushing once or twice a week will help to keep the coat healthy by removing loose hairs and preventing matting. They shed heavily twice a year, during which daily brushing may be necessary. Despite their heavy shedding, they do not have a strong doggy odor and only need bathing when necessary.

Alaskan Klee Kai and Children:

With their playful and affectionate nature, Alaskan Klee Kais can make wonderful pets for families with children. However, like all breeds, they should be supervised when playing with young children to ensure the safety of both the dog and child.

Alaskan Klee Kais can be a little cautious and reserved, so it’s crucial that children are taught to approach and touch dogs gently and respectfully. Early socialization and positive experiences with children can help the Alaskan Klee Kai become a loving and loyal family pet.

Alaskan Klee Kai and Other Pets:

Alaskan Klee Kais can get along well with other pets if properly introduced and socialized from a young age. Their curious and playful nature can make them great companions for other dogs. However, due to their high prey drive, they may not be suitable for homes with small pets like hamsters or rabbits.

As with all breeds, interactions between Alaskan Klee Kais and other pets should always be supervised to ensure the safety and comfort of all animals involved.

Similar Dogs:

  • Siberian Husky: The Siberian Husky is the most obvious comparison, as the Alaskan Klee Kai was bred to resemble a smaller version of this breed. They share a similar appearance and many personality traits, including intelligence, playfulness, and a high energy level.
  • American Eskimo Dog: The American Eskimo Dog is another breed that was involved in the creation of the Alaskan Klee Kai. They share the Eskie’s small to medium size, fluffy double coat, and alert, intelligent nature.
  • Shiba Inu: While not related by breeding, the Shiba Inu is similar in size to the Alaskan Klee Kai and shares some personality traits. Both breeds are intelligent, independent, and can be reserved with strangers, yet are deeply loyal to their families.

Alaskan Klee Kai FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

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