What Is An Alaskan Klee Kai?
Black and white Alaskan Klee Kai Skye (Photo: lifewithkleekai / Instagram)
helloBARK! staff
By helloBARK! staff
Updated on December 04, 2019
Fact Checked

Alaskan Klee Kai are a companion dogs that come in three different sizes and colors.

Often confused for mixed dogs such as Pomskies, Husky crosses or Chihuahua crosses, Alaskan Klee Kai are in fact purebred dogs that were created in the 1970s.

The United Kennel Club have recognised the Klee Kai breed since 1997, plus other organizations such as Federation of International Canines, the American Rare Breed Association, Canine Rarity Shows.

Alaskan Klee Kai have enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years thanks in part to some famous owners such as actress Sophie Turner, musician Joe Jonas and football coach Bill Belichick.

According to a UKC report in 2014, there are around 13,500 Alaskan Klee Kai worldwide.

In this article, we’re going to answer the question: “what is an Alaskan Klee Kai?”

We’ll break this article into the following sections:

What is an Alaskan Klee Kai?

Alaskan Klee Kai are a spitz-type of dog that were created in the 1970s.

They’re similar in appearance to Alaskan Husky and Siberian Husky with their coat colors and face masks.

Alaskan Klee Kai come in three different sizes: standard, miniature and toy. They’re acceptable coat colors are black and white, gray and white and red and white.

Brief history of Alaskan Klee Kai

Alaskan Klee Kai were created by an American lady called Linda Spurlin. She set about creating a companion-sized husky dog after she adopted an undersized husky called Curious.

Spurlin wrote in her open letter on the Alaskan Klee Kai Association of America’s website:

I thought this little creature was so cute that I asked if I could take her back to Alaska with us. They seemed quite pleased to be rid of an extra dog, and thus I acquired my first little husky. It seemed as though everywhere we went, people flocked around the vehicle to exclaim and marvel about this little dog. We went into a restaurant and discovered it empty because the patrons were over at the window looking out at our little dog! I knew I had to find a way to duplicate this little wonder.

Initially, Linda had no intention of making her Klee Kai available to the public. However, she gave her first Klee Kai puppies to a friend in 1987. Shortly after, her Alaskan Klee Kai became available to everyone.

Given the increase in popularity of her little curiousities, Spurlin had to come up with a name for her dogs. Here she is to explain more:

Then began the flood of letters, telephone calls, and newspaper reporters. The paperwork grew. We had to think up a name for the little huskies. We finally derived the name Klee Kai from the Eskimo words meaning ‘little dog’.

In 1997, the United Kennel Club granted the Alaskan Klee Kai full status. They’re recognised by the Federation of International Canines, the American Rare Breed Association, Canine Rarity Shows.

There are thought to be around 13,500 Alaskan Klee Kai worldwide, while the AKKAOA president Alicia Beider told hellobark.com that there’s around 10,000 registered with the UKC.

What breeds were used to create Alaskan Klee Kai?

Linda Spurlin created her initial Alaskan Klee Kai using a number of different breeds. She used the Alaskan Husky, the Siberian Husky, the Schipperke and the American Eskimo Dog.

The Alaskan Klee Kai founder describes Alaskan Husky as the foundation of the breed. Spurlin explained her decision to use these Alaskan dog on the AKKAOA’s website:

The Alaskan Husky is a mixture of the best, and so was the creation of the Alaskan Klee Kai. I also added a small dose of Siberian Husky, and just the right amount of smaller dogs of similar conformation for developing my original stock.

Linda added a small dose of Siberian Husky as well as American Eskimo Dog and Schipperke to reduce the size of her Alaskan Klee Kai dogs.

Although Spurlin used Alaskan Husky, Siberian Husky, American Eskimo dog and Schipperke, you can only get an Alaskan Klee Kai by breeding two UKC-registered Alaskan Klee Kai.

The AKKAOA website sets out that the Alaskan Klee Kai has been breeding true since Spurlin made her dogs available to the public in 1987.

Alaskan Klee Kai breed standard

The Alaskan Klee Kai were granted status by the UKC in 1997. Here’s the breed standard:

The Alaskan Klee Kai is often referred to as a smaller version of their northern ancestors, the Alaskan Husky. They have a wedge-shaped head featuring a striking masked face, prick ears, and a double coat. The length of body is just slightly longer than the height. The tail is well-furred and curls over the back or to either side when the dog is alert or moving. The appearance of the Alaskan Klee Kai reflects the breeds Northern heritage.

For the full breed standard, visit the UKC’s website here.

Alaskan Klee Kai size

Alaskan Klee Kai come in three different sizes (Photo: lifewithkleekai / Instagram)
Alaskan Klee Kai come in three different sizes (Photo: lifewithkleekai / Instagram)

Alaskan Klee Kai come in three different sizes: standard, miniature and toy.
The breed are measured by their height rather than their weight.

Standard should be between 15 and 17 inches, miniature are between 13 and 15 inches and toy are up to and including 13 inches.

The UKC considers over 17 inches up to and including 17.5 inches to be a serious fault, while over 17.5 inches is an eliminating fault.

They add that weight should be proportionate to height and bone structure, appearing neither too heavy nor too thin.

Alaskan Klee Kai colors

The AKK breed can come in three different colors: black and white, gray and white and red and white.

The facial mask should be distinct and clearly visible, and there is a contrasting lighter color on the bottom half of the dogs face, throat, chest, breeches, feet, legs and underside. The UKC adds that overall appearance is one of symmetry.

Alaskan Klee Kai that are a solid color, such as black or white, don’t satisfy the UKC’s breed standard. These colors are considered an eliminating fault.

These Mini Huskies will usually have blue eyes, brown eyes, bi-eyes and parti-eye. However, the UKC state that any color or color combination is permissable.

They should have almond-shaped eyes but they can also be oval or round. Their eye rims are black for dogs whose coat colors are shades of black or gray; and the eye rims are liver-colored in dogs whose coat colors are shades of red.

Alaskan Klee Kai temperament

Alaskan Klee Kai have blue, brown, green or bi-eyes (Photo: lifewithkleekai / Instagram)
Alaskan Klee Kai have blue, brown, green or bi-eyes (Photo: lifewithkleekai / Instagram)

The UKC state the Alaskan Klee Kai characteristics as:

They are very curious, intelligent, active, quick and agile. Loyalty and alertness make the Alaskan Klee Kai great watchdogs, good at giving alarm, who may be territorial despite their small size. While they are devoted to their owners, and make excellent companions, they may be aloof with strangers.

Alaskan Klee Kai can be aloof or shy around strangers that they don’t know. For this season, it’s important that Klee Kai are socialised from a young age to get them used to different people and different situations.

As companion dogs, they like to be in the company of their pet parents as much as possible. Some Alaskan Klee Kai suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for long spells.

Although Klee Kai are smart dogs, they can be quite strong-willed. So you’ll need to be consistent and persistent with training. Again, it’s a good idea to do so from a young age.

They’ll usually have a high prey drive – so you’ll want to make sure that these Mini Huskies are kept in a garden or yard that is secured to avoid these escape artists getting out.

Alaskan Klee Kai are highly adaptable. They’ll benefit from regular daily exercise, usually 45 minutes to 60 minutes a day. However, they’ll be happy to enjoy playtime inside the home or at the dog park.

Alaskan Klee Kai pros and cons

Here are some Alaskan Klee Kai pros and cons:

Pros

• Apartment-sized – If you live in a city apartment or urban dwelling, Alaskan Klee Kai can make great pets due to their small size. They’ll enjoy regular walks, but you can also tire out your Klee Kai with playtime and training inside the home.

• Companions – Alaskan Klee Kai love to receive affection and attention from their pet parents. They quickly become attached to their dog owners, earning a reputation as velcro dogs. You’ll have a shadow everywhere you go.

• Mini Huskies – If you’re obsessed with Siberian Huskies but you don’t have a big enough house, you could go for an Alaskan Klee Kai. They’ve got the same coat colors, eye colors and face masks as these dogs.

Cons

• Separation anxiety – Some Alaskan Klee Kai can suffer with separation anxiety. This is a chronic canine disorder that occurs when Klee Kai are left at home alone. It usually manifests itself as persistent barking, chewing, howling or even defecating inside the home.

• Prey drive – They’ve got quite a high prey drive, so they represent a flight risk if they see a cat, gopher, fox, squirrel or small animal. For that reason, you may prefer to keep your Alaskan Klee Kai on a leash.

• Attention – If you don’t like attention or you’re a shy person, you may want to avoid getting a Klee Kai. These dogs attract crowed pretty much everywhere you go.

Anything else to consider?

If you’re thinking about getting an Alaskan Klee Kai, you should visit the Alaskan Klee Kai Association of America’s website. They’ve got a breeder’s directory where you can find Klee Kai breeders who have signed up to the organisation’s code of ethics.

Wrapping up – our final thoughts

Alaskan Klee Kai Baylee (Photo: Myloveonpaws / Instagram)
Alaskan Klee Kai Baylee (Photo: Myloveonpaws / Instagram)

So we’ve reached the end of our feature on Alaskan Klee Kai. They’re companion-sized Mini Huskies that come in three different sizes and colors.

They make great family pets whether you live in a big house or an apartment.