Alaskan Klee Kai: 4 Reasons To Own This Pocket Husky

The Alaskan Klee Kai is a small dog with a big resemblance to the Alaskan Husky.

Unfortunately they are not the friendliest dog around.

They can be a bit shy and distant with people, but they enjoy the company of other Klee Kais.

Owners must be prepared to adapt to this very quirky breed and keep up with its high energy and intelligence.

If you are ready for the challenge of this northern native, read on for a complete guide to feeding, socializing, and much more…

Klee Kai Dog

What is an Alaskan Klee Kai? (Overview)

As their name suggests, these dogs come from the state of Alaska. Starting in the 1970s, they were bred to be a smaller and more adaptable version of the Alaskan Husky.

The Klee Kai can do just about anything Huskies can do, including racing through the snow! However their small size makes them a companion dog (rather than a working dog).

Their primary purpose is to be a mini Husky for those who may not be ready to take on the demands of a larger dog. These beautiful dogs have the Husky’s gorgeous coat and wolf-like face (they may even have the Husky’s icy blue eyes).

They are not going to be your best friend right away, and will need encouragement to settle in.

Once they do learn to love you, they won’t want to be with anyone else. They will want you to join them in all of their favorite games and activities.

You need to understand that you won’t have the same big friendly dog as you would with a Husky. However Alaskan Klee Kais have their own special qualities that make them great friends.

  • Overview: Purebred.
  • Purpose: Companionship.
  • Weight: 10-20 pounds.
  • Size: 10-17 inches.
  • Temperament: Shy, intelligent and playful.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Easy to train and groom.
  • Good emotional support dogs.
  • Adaptable alternative to Husky.
  • Gets along well with others of its kind.

Cons:

  • Anxious and difficult to socialize.
  • Does not get along with people.
  • Often suffers from separation anxiety.
  • Loud vocalizations and howling.
  • Expensive and difficult to find.

Alaskan Klee Kai Appearance

Alaskan Klee Kai

As noted in the official breed standard, this pooch will have a dark colored mask around the eyes and muzzle – this is their defining facial characteristic.

The mask is either black or reddish brown, with light colors around the eyes.

Nose is black or brown, and its color depends on the colors of the fur (darker colored dogs will have darker colored noses).

The tail is curled upward and has fluffier fur than on the rest of the body. The legs are long and straight, and the body is very lean.

Height and Weight

There are three different variations of this breed:

  1. Toy Klee Kais are between 10-13 inches tall and weigh between 10-13 pounds.
  2. Mini Klee Kais are 13-15 inches tall and weigh between 14-16 pounds.
  3. The standard Alaskan Klee Kai is between 15-17 inches long and weighs between 17-20 pounds.

Colors and Coat

Klee Kais have a lovely double coat with ruffs around the neck and tail. They are usually a mix of black, white and grey, but in some cases they can be reddish brown or silver.

Their coat offers protection against cold weather, so these dogs will want to go out and play even during the colder winter months.

In spite of their long coats, they do not shed very much outside of the fall and spring. Most of the time, they will need to be brushed only once a week.

Klee Kai Long Coat

5 Fun Facts About Klee Kais

  1. The name Klee Kai means little dog in the Alaskan language Athabaskan.
  2. After more than a decade of careful breeding, the breed became publically available in 1988.
  3. It makes a good choice for a service or therapy dog, since it is unlikely to be distracted by other people or animals.
  4. Despite their lack of AKC recognition, they are eligible to compete in AKC competitions. Obedience and agility are where they really shine.
  5. They are not sled dogs but they still love to play in the snow!

Alaskan Klee Kai Personality and Temperament

An Alaskan Klee Kai

This breed’s personality is defined by its high energy and intelligence.

They tend to select one or two favorite people to give all of their love and affection. They will be quite shy and withdrawn around everyone else.

Most of the day with your Klee Kai will be spent on your feet – these guys are extremely playful. Keeping up with their energetic nature is a big part of the commitment of owning one of these dogs.

Apartment dwellers beware! These dogs must have a large fenced outdoor area to run and to play.

They do not like people or other pets very much, but will socialize with other Alaskan Klee Kais.

You should get your puppy used to people and other animals by the time they reach 3 months of age. Introduce them to friends and neighbors very carefully and make sure to make repeat visits.

These dogs may look cute and cuddly, but they won’t want to be touched or pet by anyone they do not know (be very weary of allowing children near them). Their shyness causes them to appear standoffish towards people they do not know. They reserve their best qualities for a select few special friends.

When left on their own Klee Kai dogs suffer from particularly bad separation anxiety. They may express their loneliness by loudly whining or howling at the walls. Like the Alaskan Malamute, they communicate in loud woos.

Is the Klee Kai A Good Family Dog?

Unfortunately this is not a very good family dog.

When introduced to a family they will gravitate towards one person and behave very distantly towards the others. They are definitely not for households with children. Consider the Husky if you are looking for a friendly family dog.

Caring for a Alaskan Klee Kai Dog

An Alaskan Klee Kai Dog

Alaskan Klee Kais are balls of boundless energy.

They will want to spend the majority of their time (and yours) playing.

Having one of these dogs is just like having a toddler. Their need for attention, care and play almost matches those of a human child.

You must be fully prepared to adapt to their needs if you want them to adapt to your home.

Exercise Requirements

This dog is a fitness partner on four legs. They just love to walk and run whenever they get the chance.

Very young dogs need a minimum of 20-30 minutes walking per day. By the time they are a year old, they can go over an hour in a single day. They will want to take one long walk or run and spend the rest of their day at play. They also enjoy digging, and may hide their toys so they can find them later.

These dogs are amazing escape artists with a very high prey drive. They can never be trusted off the leash, and are often the victims of car accidents. It is hard to call them back once they take off.

  • Number of Walks Per Day: 1.
  • Total Exercise Needed Per Day: 60+ Minutes.

Klee Kai Exercise

Grooming and Shedding

While double coated dogs are known for their shedding this particular breed sheds only moderately.

You can brush them once a week during most of the year, and every day when preparing for their summer and winter coats.

Damp cloths or baby wipes can be used for cleaning dirt.

Since these guys are always on the run, they tend to keep their own nails trim. However if your dog’s nails start to curl it is time to trim them down.

Teeth brushing should be done at least once a week. While getting a puppy used to its toothbrush, you should brush daily or at least every other day.

Feeding and Diet

When grocery shopping for your Alaskan Klee Kai, look for a high quality grain-free dry kibble.

Commercial kibble should have raw ingredients listed first and foremost. Their kibble should have a high protein and vitamin content, but very few carbohydrates. Grain intolerances are common in this breed and can cause an upset stomach.

If your dog is very active they need a bit of extra fat in their diets. Raw meats and eggs are a great healthy source.

Calories Per Day: Cups of Kibble Per Day:
800 ~2

Known Health Problems

  • Factor VII deficiency is one of this breeds most common problems. Factor VII is produced by the liver and means blood is able to clot during an injury.
  • Shunts are another common liver problem for this breed and others like it. Liver shunts cause impaired blood flow to the liver and may cause the organ to atrophy.

How Long Do Alaskan Klee Kais Live?

Your Alaskan Klee Kai Dog should have a lifespan of 12-16 years.

How Much Do Alaskan Klee Kais Cost?

An Alaskan Klee Kai is a luxury breed that can be hard to find. On average you will have to pay about $2500 for one from a breeder.

How to Train an Alaskan Klee Kai

A Klee Kai Dog Walking

This dog’s high intelligence makes training a breeze – with consistent daily training patterns they will catch on very fast.

Patience and repetition is the key.

While repeating the same things over and over can be exhausting for you, it will engage your pup’s memory.

Give them a treat when they let a squirrel go by without chasing. Praise them when they greet your neighbor without whining. Keep rewarding their good behavior and they will learn how to keep you pleased.

Avoid any training methods that involve isolation. It is okay to ignore your dog’s bad behavior, but it is not okay to lock them up in a pen for it.

Your puppy should be socialized between 6 and 12 weeks of age.

The 12 for 12 socialization method is ideal.

By 12 weeks old, they should have met 12 other dogs, been to 12 new places and met 12 new people.

While any dog this smart needs plenty of mental stimulation, they are thankfully easily amused. They will play with absolutely anything and especially enjoy mind games and puzzles.

You can set up an indoor or outdoor agility course that will keep your dog entertained for hours.

Quick Breed Summary Table

Breed Characteristics
Size: 10-17 inches.
Weight: 10-20lb.
Lifespan: 12-16 years.
Coat: Long double coat.
Color: Black, white, grey and brown.
Do They Shed: Yes.
Temperament: Shy, standoffish, playful, loyal and smart.
Intelligence: High.
Socialization: Difficult to socialize.
Destructive Behavior: May be destructive when under-stimulated.
People Skills: Shy and anxious around people.
Good with Children: No.
Activity Levels: High.

Summary

The Alaskan Klee Kai is best for experienced owners who live on their own or in a two-person household.

They will need an active owner to keep up with their energy.

Remember this is a challenging breed to handle, and their anxiety may be a bit alarming to those used to friendly dogs.

Keeping one of these pooches requires a lot of patience and understanding.

They won’t love you right from the start, but earning their unconditional loyalty is an honor. Over time you will become their favorite person in the whole world.

Let us know in the comments section below if you open your door to this furry friend…

Thomas Woods Face Portrait
Thomas has been a dog lover since he was 6 years old when his parents got him a rescue Labrador. Since then his love for dogs has lead him to study Animal Behavior & Welfare. He now keeps a six year old English Bullmastiff and educates pet parents through his online publication Perfect Dog Breeds.

2 Comments

  1. Good article and good read, but as a owner of three AKK’s the one thing most owners of the breed despises is calling them a husky. They are not Huskies they are they stand alone breed. Yes they come from the nordic breed but are not Huskies.

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