Here’s the truth:
Huskies are some of the most popular and sought-after breeds in the US. However, they’re nowhere near the perfect dog for new owners.
But what if you could tune down the personality of huskies to the perfect level?
You’d get the Alaskan Klee Kai. While these dogs may physically look like a miniature version of huskies, they make much better companions to humans.
Unsurprisingly, these dogs are extremely rare and can cost between $1,500 to $3,000 per puppy!
But what makes this breed so rare and unique? Where do they come from? And what makes them better than huskies?
Keep reading to find out!
History and Origination
Unlike most designer breeds, the origination of the Alaskan Klee Kai can be traced back to a single breeder by the name of Linda S. Spurlin. Her inspiration came from a mini Siberian Husky that she saw while on a trip to Oklahoma, and she decided to create a ‘smaller’ and more ‘compatible’ version of the breed.
During the 1970s, Linda Spurlin, along with her family, selectively combined the gene pool of four main breeds; the Siberian Husky, Alaskan Husky, Schipperke, and Alaskan Eskimo. Without using any dwarf or defective dogs, she was able to create a smaller version of the Husky and unveiled her new breed to the public in 1988.
While several breeders continued to produce these dogs in small quantities, they’re still yet to be recognized by the American Kennel Club. However, they have been acknowledged by the United Kennel Club since 1997 and the American Rare Breed Association since 1995.
In terms of overall appearance, the Alaskan Klee Kai looks exactly like a miniature version of a Siberian or Alaskan Husky. They have the same wolf-like appearance with perked ears and a bushy tail. They also share the same coat characteristics but do vary in some aspects.
Alaskan Klee Kai comes in three different sizes; toy, miniature, and standard. While all sizes do have the same appearance, their weight will vary depending on their height. Here are the different size characteristics of this breed:
- Toy Klee Kai: Up to 13 inches tall
- Miniature Klee Kai: 13 to 15 inches tall
- Standard Klee Kai: 15 to 17 inches tall
Males usually weigh between 12-20 lbs., while females weigh between 10-18lbs. However, some Alaskan Klee Kai can weigh as less as 5lbs., or as much as 22lbs. depending on their size!
Coat and Color
Like Huskies, the Alaskan Klee Kai also has a double-coat with symmetrical markings over their body and an iconic face mask. The double-coat is a combination of a soft undercoat and a coarse outercoat similar to its ancestors.
These dogs also come in similar variations of colors as the Husky. However, there are only three or four recognized colors as per breed standards as follows:
- Black and White
- Red and White
- Grey and White
- All White
Eye color is perhaps the most striking feature of the Alaskan Klee Kai. While their eye color can vary between ice blue, hazel, brown, and green, some pups can also have bi-eyes or parti-eyes.
Bi-eyes is when each eye has a different color, and Parti-eyes is when a single eye has two different colors. Most Klee Kai’s with Bi-eyes will have a blue and a brown-colored eye, or a half-blue half-brown eye if they have Parti-eyes.
Personality and Temperament
Alaskan Klee Kai’s are some of the most highly intelligent, smart, and affectionate dogs throughout. They are excellent hunters with a high-prey drive and have a keen admiration for entertaining their owners.
However, they do have a temperament that’s discernable from their forefathers, the Huskies. These are some of the most salient personality traits of the Alaskan Klee Kai:
Underestimating the intelligence of these dogs is one of the biggest mistakes their owner can commit. These dogs are super-clever and experts at finding their way around things, even if they’re deemed undesirable.
While they’re puppies, their intelligence is a bonus as they can catch onto new teachings relatively quickly. They can learn intermediate and even more advanced commands before they even reach adulthood. They’re highly motivated by verbal praise and are driven by their appetite.
Though in adulthood, their intelligence can make them quite mischievous, especially if they haven’t been adequately trained during puppyhood. You’ll still find them working their way around stuff they’re not allowed to reach, and quite often, successfully.
Alaskan Klee Kai’s are quite energetic dogs, but still compare less to their sled-bearing ancestors. They love a long, high-intensity run and only need one more playing session to stay healthy and fulfilled.
However, skip their daily exercise, and you’ll see how they wreak havoc across your house. These dogs can become easily bored if they’re not provided some sort of activity daily. Combine that with their smartness, and you’ll find broken vases, chew marks, and scratches on sofas all across your house.
Family-Oriented and Affectionate
Since one of the main inspirations to create this breed was to make a companion dog, the Alaskan Klee Kai has a very affectionate nature and develops a strong bond with its master. They love receiving praises and being the center of attention, and their sense of humor makes them super-entertaining dogs.
They do well in a family environment but aren’t very fond of small children that don’t know how to respect them. So while they make excellent companions to slightly elder kids that have been taught how to interact with them, they’ll likely respond with nipping if toddlers try to pull or hurt these dogs.
Also, these dogs love being couch potatoes provided that they’ve received their daily exercise. They enjoy lazying around and being in the company of their master at all times.
Hostile Towards Strangers
A not-so-desirable trait of this breed is its hostility towards strangers. They’re not very friendly towards new faces and will easily manage to escape situations where they’re not comfortable.
They’re also a very vocal breed and will immediately warn you of a possible intruder by barking. While this renders them as excellent watchdogs, they do need to be appropriately socialized since puppyhood so they can be more accepting of strangers.
High Prey Drive
If you’ve got cats, birds, and other small pets around your house, the Alaskan Klee Kai might not be the perfect breed for you. These dogs are known to have a high prey drive and are natural hunters.
These dogs are known to prey on birds and small pets like hamsters and gerbils and will happily consider them as a snack. They’re also known to be quite aggressive towards cats, so if you want to prevent any mishaps, it’s best that you either remove all other pets from your house or adequately socialize these dogs from the beginning.
Because these dogs are quite expressive, they like to vocalize on every possible occasion. They’ll bark if something displeases them or if they feel unfulfilled. They’ll also howl or bark if they sense an intruder nearby, whether it’s day or night. And while they don’t tend to be as vocal as huskies, they do like to bark whenever they get a chance.
Despite sharing a gene pool with almost four different breeds, the Alaskan Klee Kai is surprisingly healthy and free from most genetic diseases. Part of the reason is that these dogs are only handed over to responsible and certified breeders; otherwise, owners usually have to agree on a spaying/neutering contract to prevent illegal breeding.
Thankfully, the Alaskan Klee Kai breed is a part of the Canine Health Information Center program and must be tested for specific genetic diseases by breeders. This includes patellar luxation, autoimmune thyroiditis, cardiac evaluation, and an eye examination.
Most breeders of Alaskan Klee Kai will provide you with certified test reports of the following genetic disorders. There are a few pups with factor VII deficiency, and most breeders have already tested their litters for this illness. So be sure to request the certified test reports of the following genetic dispositions when you go to buy one of these dogs.
Patellar luxation is a genetic disorder in which the knee cap slides outside of its natural position when the leg is flexed. The usual position of the knee cap is in the femoral groove, but patellar luxation can cause it to slide inwards or outwards.
While the defect is slightly painful to the dog, most of them learn to live with it and spend their life without suffering from arthritis. But in some severe cases, surgery might be required to fix the condition.
Autoimmune Thyroiditis is a malfunction of the body’s natural immune response, which causes it to attack the thyroid gland after considering the hormones it produces as a threat.
Dogs with this illness will gain weight more easily, become more sluggish than usual, have a dry and dull coat, develop skin and ear infections more easily, have a slow pulse, and higher blood pressure, amongst other symptoms.
Most dogs with the illness will be prescribed with medication to account for the loss of hormones that the thyroid usually produces.
Factor VII Deficiency
Factor VII is a protein found in blood that causes it to clot and prevents a dog from bleeding to death. Alaskan Klee Kai has been noted to suffer from a factor VII deficiency, which causes prolonged bleeding and can be life-threatening.
While it’s not part of the official evaluation list for the CHIC, it is still conducted by most breeders and has nearly been eradicated, thanks to responsible breeding.
Some Alaskan Klee Kais have been noted to suffer from cardiac disorders, more precisely heart murmurs. While these usually develop during puppyhood, some owners have noticed that it usually goes away with age.
Grooming and Care
Alaskan Klee Kais are low-maintenance and clean dogs by nature. They tend to groom themselves for hours on a daily basis and will get rid of most of their filth on their own.
Thanks to this, these dogs aren’t susceptible to dog odor and dog breath like most breeds. You also won’t need to bathe them as frequently, thanks to their hygiene practices.
As for their coat, Alaskan Klee Kai’s tend to blow coat twice a year before the summer and winter seasons. During this time, you’ll probably have to brush them at least once daily to get rid of all the fur they’ll be shedding.
But apart from that, they shed moderately year-round, and brushing them once a week will suffice in most cases. Brushing them more frequently will help make their coat shinier and encourage the growth of new, healthier hair.
Combing them with a fine-toothed comb now and then will also help get rid of ticks and fleas and prevent their coat from matting.
Otherwise, they’ll require the same grooming routine as most dogs. This includes clipping their nails every once or twice a month and brushing their teeth with a canine toothbrush every once or twice a week. Make sure to clean their ears and eyes with a damp cloth to clear out any debris every once in a while to prevent infections.
Proper training is an essential part of an Alaskan Klee Kai’s upbringing. These dogs tend to have a very moody personality, and they require socialization as well as exposure to different sounds and sights to grow into well-mannered adults.
Luckily, these dogs are a breeze to train and catch onto new information relatively quickly. They’re super-smart and are very keen about pleasing their owners, which makes them excellent trainees.
Here are some of the most essential rules each owner must remember while training their Alaskan Klee Kai to obtain the best results:
1. Be consistent and rigid in training: While your puppy will be quick to learn things, they will act out on occasions or be mischievous. You must be very firm during this period and have a no-tolerance policy for misbehavior. This is important because if the dog learns that they can break the rules, it’ll be challenging to re-establish the full training from the start.
2. Teach your dog that you are the leader: Alaskan Klee Kais are pack animals by nature. To have full control over their behavior, you have to portray yourself as the pack leader to them. This means being respectful towards your pet and avoiding any action that harms or disrespects them. Make your dog learn that there will be consequences to misbehavior, but never punish them physically.
3. Bond with your puppy: Training can be a great time to develop a bond with your pup. Be sure to praise them consistently and give them treats and other rewards for good behavior. Your dog will be naturally competitive at this age and will try to please you, so make sure you express your pleasure and don’t ignore their efforts.
Alaskan Klee Kais require roughly 400 calories a day, depending on their weight and health status. Some dogs might be more energetic and need more food, so be sure to check with your veterinarian before deciding how much to feed them.
Both puppies and adults should be fed the daily food allowance in two to three different meals. Provide them with clean water at all times because these dogs can overheat in warm weather due to their long coat.
If you’re considering homemade food, rice and chicken works flawlessly as staples for their diet. Make sure to feed them a serving of vegetables and fruits regularly to fulfill their vitamin and mineral requirements.
These dogs are perfectly suited for families with lots of members and a big fenced backyard. Because they’re direct descendants of Huskies, their body is designed to thrive in colder climates.
The ideal environment for these dogs is a place where their family surrounds them. They love being in the company of their owners and children. However, they also do well inside gated enclosures within the house.
A big backyard is a massive bonus if you’re thinking about getting one of these dogs. They’ll have plenty of space to play around and exude their energy.
However, it’s imperative to install fences that are at least 6-foot-tall before releasing your pooch. Because they have a very high prey drive, they’ll easily wander off while on the chase, and even climb fences to escape.
Are Alaskan Klee Kai’s good with cats?
These dogs can get along with cats, provided they’re socialized and appropriately trained from an early age. However, a few might cause trouble to cats due to their high prey drive.
Are Alaskan Klee Kai good pets for beginners?
No, these dogs are highly active and require activity on a daily basis. They can also shed quite a bit and do not do well in isolation for too long.
Are Alaskan Klee Kai’s good with other dogs?
Yes, they’re quite compatible with other dogs, especially if they’re larger than them. These dogs are more prone to preying on animals that are smaller than them so that they won’t bother with a larger dog.
Do Alaskan Klee Kais do well in warm climates?
While they can survive the hot weather, they’re descendants of an arctic breed and so need proper care. You should generally avoid too much exercise during summer seasons, provide them with cold water and ice regularly, and avoid keeping them in enclosures in the heat.
Can you keep an Alaskan Klee Kai in an apartment?
These dogs can be kept in apartments provided that they get their daily exercise. This includes at least one long walk and an indoor playing session afterward.