Alaskan Klee Kai vs Mini Husky: What’s The Difference?

By helloBARK!
Updated on 9 June 2023

If you own an Alaskan Klee Kai, you’re probably asked if your dog is a Mini Husky at least once a week.

It’s a common misconception that Alaskan Klee Kai are Alaskan or Siberian Husky puppies or Mini Huskies bred to be smaller in size for apartment or city life

While Alaskan Klee Kai is a breed recognised by the United Kennel Club and the American Rare Breed Association, a Mini Husky is not an official breed.

The Alaskan Husky and the Siberian Husky both played a role in the creation of the Alaskan Klee Kai breed nearly 40 years ago in Alaska.

However, other types of dogs were used to refine the Alaskan Klee Kai breed into the curious, independent little pups that we know and love today.

In this article we will examine the difference between the Alaskan Klee Kai and Mini Huskies, taking a close look at the history of the AKK and the differences between them.

A brief history of Alaskan Klee Kai

Alaskan Klee Kai were created in Alaska in 1980s (Photo: lifewithkleekai / Instagram)

Alaskan Klee Kai were created in Alaska in 1980s (Photo: lifewithkleekai / Instagram)

The Alaskan Klee Kai was created by an American woman called Linda Spurlin. She started her quest to create these little companion dogs after a chance meeting with a small Husky mix called Curious in Colorado in the 1970s. Writing on the Alaskan Klee Association of America’s website, Spurlin described Curious as a 17 pound grey and white female husky. Unwanted by her brother-in-law, Spurlin brought Curious back to Alaska. Such was the interest in her small Husky dog that Spurlin decided to attempt to recreate “this little wonder”.

What breeds make an Alaskan Klee Kai?

The first thing to note is Alaskan Klee Kai are purebred dogs recognised by the UKC. You can only create an Alaskan Klee Kai by breeding to UKC registered Alaskan Klee Kai.

Spurlin predominantly used the Alaskan Husky in her quest to replicate Curious. In seeking to use the best of the best, Spurlin turned to these dogs that have a special place in the history of Alaska.

Describing them as the “ancestors of the Alaskan Klee Kai”, the Alaskan Husky is related to an Indian dog used by the indigenous people of Alaska. As is evident from the striking face masks, eyes and coat colours, Spurlin used a “small dose” of Siberian Husky. These dogs hail from Siberia, Russia but became popular in the racing world at the turn of the 20th century.

alaskan klee kai
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Spurlin added some American Eskimo Dog and Schipperke, who were of “similar conformation” to develop her initial stock. Initially not bred to be shown at prestigious dog events, their popularity led to the breed receiving recognition by United Kennel Club and American Rare Breed Association.

There have been over 15 generations of purebred Alaskan Klee Kai.

A history of Mini Husky

Siberian Huskies are sociable dogs (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Siberian Huskies are sociable dogs (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The Miniature Husky was created by a lady called Bree Normandin in the 1990s. They’re smaller sized Siberian Huskies. Their origins can be found in the eastern peninsula of Russia. Indeed, their ancestors were used for thousands of years by the Chukchi people. Many of these dogs arrived in Alaska at the start of the 19th century. Their sleek but powerful frames made them a favourite with sled dog racers. They secured international fame for their incredible role in the Race for Life in 1925 when they delivered diphtheria serum from Nenana to Noma, a 674-mile journey. Thanks to 20 mushers and 150 sled dogs, an epidemic was prevented and the lead dog called Balto even has a statue in his honour in New York.

What breeds make up Mini Husky?

Siberian Huskies used to create the Mini Husky. Normandin wanted to develop a companion sized Siberian Husky and was selective in her breeding to build her stock of Mini Huskies.

Alaskan Klee Kai size

Photo: lifewithkleekai/Instagram

Photo: lifewithkleekai/Instagram

Alaskan Klee Kai come in three different sizes: standard, miniature and toy.

Standard Alaskan Klee Kai are over 15 inches and up to 17 inches, while they can weigh up to 20 pounds.

Miniature Alaskan Klee Kai tend to grow to a height between 13 inches and up to 15 inches, while they likely weigh between 14 to 20 pounds.

The toy size reach a maximum size of 13 inches and can weigh a mere 10 pounds or less.

Alaskan Klee Kai that exceed 17 inches are considered oversize.

Mini Husky size

A Miniature Husky can grow to a heigh of between 12 to 16 inches, while they tend to weigh between 15 and 35 pounds.

Alaskan Klee Kai appearance

Instagram famous Alaskan Klee Kai Baylee loves to hike around Germany (Photo: Myloveonpaws / Instagram)

Instagram famous Alaskan Klee Kai Baylee loves to hike around Germany (Photo: Myloveonpaws / Instagram)

Alaskan Klee Kai usually have three different coat colours – black and white, grey and white, and red and white. While the breed standard doesn’t allow for variation for show purposes, some Alaskan Klee Kai come in a variety of different colours, such as largely black with a little bit of tan, all a reddish/white colour called cinnar or white.

These little dogs are immediately recognisable for their trademark face masks and striking eyes. Again, their eyes can come in a variety of different colours, including brown, blue, bi-eyed or even parti-eye.

Their tail is quite bushy and will usually loop over onto their lower back. They’ve got an inner coat and an outer coat with year long shedding. Their inner coat will blow out twice a year.

Mini Husky appearance

Siberian Husky (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Siberian Husky (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Much like the Alaskan Klee Kai, the Mini Husky can come in an array of different colours. The most common tends to be black and white, but there’s also grey and white, red and white, sage and white and all white.

Their eyes can come in blue, brown, bi-eyed and parti-eye too.

Alaskan Klee Kai personality

Given the Alaskan Klee Kai were bred to be companion dogs, they enjoy the company of their owners. They’ll usually become your little shadows around the house. Sometimes described as the cats of the dog world, some Klee Kai can be aloof or shy. It’s a good idea to socialise an AKK from a young age to ensure they get used to meeting new people and other dogs.

Some AKK suffer from separation anxiety, so if you’ll have to leave your dogs for a long time at home alone, this may not be the breed for you. They’ve also got a reputation for being escape artists, so you’ll need to secure your yard. Some breeders recommend keeping the Alaskan Klee Kai on a leash as they don’t always have great recall.

Mini Husky personality

Like the Siberian Husky, the Mini Husky will require a lot of exercise to deplete their energy levels. They like to run with their owners, so if you go for a daily jog, you could have a new running partner.

They’re social dogs that like the company of humans to keep them entertained. If left alone for too long, they may resort to some destructive behaviours, such as chewing furniture.

Like the Alaskan Klee Kai, they’ve earned a reputation for being able to find possible ways to escape the garden or the yard.

Mini Huskies do like to be boisterous when it comes to play time, so you should keep an eye on them with other dogs and you should never leave a child alone with a dog, including this breed.


Alaskan Klee Kai can vary in price depending on coat colour, eye colour and size. Different breeders will charge different prices. If you’re thinking of an Alaskan Klee Kai as a pet, you should consult with the Alaskan Klee Kai Association of America’s website to find a breeder who has signed up to the organization’s code of ethics. Their price can range from $1500 to $3000.

Mini Huskies can cost between $950 – $1450 but they’re not a common dog breed, so you may have difficult locating a breeder near you.

We don’t recommend buying any puppies online or from third party dealers, only from an established breeder with a reputation for ethical breeding.

In conclusion

Alaskan Klee Kai at the park (Photo: lifewithkleekai / Instagram)

Alaskan Klee Kai at the park (Photo: lifewithkleekai / Instagram)

So there you have it, Alaskan Klee Kai and Mini Huskies are different dogs, even if they share one of the same ancestors.

They do have a similar appearance but the Alaskan Klee Kai has clearly defined sizes, while the Mini Husky has a size range.

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