Alaskan Klee Kai (AKK) were developed in Alaska to be a companion size husky. They may be black and white, grey and white or red and white. Eyes may be any color or combination of colors. The breed is only about 35 years old and is still rather rare. You won't find AKK in pet shops. They are only available from devoted AKK breeders.
Alaskan Klee Kai should look like a miniature husky. Although their standard is based on that of the Siberian Husky, there are physical differences, such as a shorter muzzle, larger ears, and higher tail set, that make them easily distinguishable from the Siberian.
They come in three sizes based on their height:
- Toy size Alaskan Klee Kai are up to and including 13 inches.
- Miniature Alaskan Klee Kai are over 13 inches high and up to 15 inches high.
- Standard Alaskan Klee Kai are over 15 inches high and up to 17 inches high.
- Serious Fault - Any Alaskan Klee Kai over 17 inches and up to 17½ inches.
- Eliminating Fault* - Any Alaskan Klee Kai over 17½ inches.
Coat and Grooming
Alaskan Klee Kai, like the Siberian Husky, are relatively easy to care for. They are extremely clean. Most do not like wet feet and will spend hours daily grooming themselves. Alaskan Klee Kai, like many other northern breeds, do not have a typical "doggy odor" or "doggy breath." Most Klee Kai seldom require a bath.
As in Siberians and unlike short-haired dogs that shed all year long, the Klee Kai blows its coat twice a year. Of course, the size of the dogs limits the amount of fur blown. It is best to groom the dog on a regular basis during this time. Some of the longer haired dogs can become matted if not groomed. Most Klee Kai will assist the loss of hair by rubbing against things such as fences, your pillow on the bed, or by 'just rooting' with its nose and on its back, preferably, of course, on the bed.
Other than this period of blowing coat, the Klee Kai is very self-sufficient. The normal preventative measures should be taken, such as trimming of nails and normal grooming in the form of brushing. This process is especially important in the bonding process.
The Alaskan Klee Kai is a highly intelligent, curious and active breed. Unlike Siberian Huskies, whom they closely resemble, Alaskan Klee Kai are typically standoffish and cautious around unfamiliar individuals, which causes them to excel as watchdogs. Because of their inherently reserved disposition in the presence of strangers, continual socialization throughout an Alaskan Klee Kai's life is highly encouraged.
They are moderately active and have a strong prey drive. This means unless they are properly introduced and raised with smaller animals such as rabbits, hamsters, cats and birds, they will likely hunt and kill them.
They can be a great family dog if raised with children who are careful with animals. Alaskan Klee Kai are not likely to tolerate being mistreated (poked at, pinched, bullied) by children and may respond by nipping them. Even so, they make great pets and have been placed in homes with children with excellent results.
Because of their intelligence they do well in obedience classes and have a high drive to please their owners, which helps them to excel in this area as well as many other types of activities. Another such activity is agility in which the AKK almost seems to have been bred to take part in. If you have an Alaskan Klee Kai that is highly active, this is a great way to help them use up some of that energy.
Relative to other breeds, the Alaskan Klee Kai has been remarkably free of genetic defects.
However, some health conditions linked to the breed include:
- Cardiac Issues including PDA
- Cryptorchidism (undescended testicle)
- Extreme Shyness
- Factor VII Deficiency (a blood clotting disorder)
- Juvenile Cataracts
- Liver Disease
- Luxating Patella ("trick knee")
- Pyometra (disease of the uterus)
- Thyroid disease, including autoimmune thyroiditis
The breed may suffer from other health issues that have yet to be discovered because of the breed's relatively young age and small gene pool. Responsible Alaskan Klee Kai breeders have their dogs health tested and registered with OFA, and some prefer to use the Thyroid Gold designation from Hemopet, as it probably more accurately reflects thyroid disease lab results more typical of the Alaskan Klee Kai.
The breed was developed in Wasilla, Alaska, during the mid-1970s by Linda S. Spurlin after she observed the result of an accidental mating of an Alaskan Husky and an unknown small dog. The breed was developed with Siberian and Alaskan Huskies using Schipperke and American Eskimo Dog to bring down the size without dwarfism. She bred these dogs in private until she released them to the general public in 1988. The Alaskan Klee Kai was officially recognized by the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA) in 1995 and by the United Kennel Club (UKC) on January 1, 1997.
From Linda Spurlin, developer of the breed:
Somewhere, within the Great Land called Alaska, between the massive mountains, the vast oceans, the silent tundra and the endless sheets of ice, the Glacier Witch looked down and smiled at the bright-eyed tiny form in front of her. After rescuing it from the icy waters, and drying it before the fire, it appeared somewhat smaller than before, and she was pleased. For the little Husky's smaller size would make it an ideal companion. She searched the various native dialects and, deriving it's name from the Eskimo words for 'little dog', she christened the masked creature, 'Klee Kai'. L.S.
The Alaskan Klee Kai have graced the halls of Nursing Homes as Therapy Dogs, as well as darted through tunnels in Agility Trials. They have warmed the hearts and laps of the elderly and children. They have danced around show rings and have guarded the dash boards of motorhomes. They have traveled from Alaska to nearly every state, drawing interest wherever they have gone. And most importantly, they have given love and received love in return. In the right hands, this breed can offer a variety of opportunities for dog lovers to enjoy. But remember, not every breed is for everyone, no matter how cute it is! One must always take into consideration your available time, lifestyle, and location before purchasing any pet. Always research the dog you are interested in very well, for a living soul should be loved and cared for from beginning to end.
We will be adding information about the Alaskan Klee Kai breed to this website. In the meantime, if you are interested in knowing more, the following website for the Alaskan Klee Kai Association of America (AKKAOA) has useful information:
You can also search the internet for AKK, mini husky, or the United Kennel Club website: www.ukcdogs.com
and you are welcome to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .