Learn About the Mini Husky-Like Alaskan Klee Kai (2024)

The Alaskan klee kai is a small dog breed originating in the United States that has medium-length, wiry fur and resembles a Siberian husky. The breed does, in fact, have huskies in its ancestry mixed with other breeds to diminish its size. These dogs come in three sizes: toy, miniature, and standard.

With their high energy, intelligence, and alert nature, the Alaskan klee kai can be quite the handful compared to some other dogs their size. Still, they're generally very loyal and bond closely with their family.

Learn more about the Alaskan klee kai, including the breed’s history, temperament, and care needs.

Breed Overview

GROUP: N/A

HEIGHT: 13 inches and under (toy), 13 to 15 inches (miniature), 15 to 17.5 inches (standard)

WEIGHT: 6 to 12 pounds (toy), 10 to 18 pounds (miniature), 16 to 25 pounds (standard)

COAT: Medium-length, wiry

COAT COLOR: Black and white, gray and white, or red and white

LIFE SPAN: 13 to 16 years

TEMPERAMENT: Alert, loyal, intelligent

HYPOALLERGENIC: No

ORIGIN: United States

Characteristics of the Alaskan Klee Kai

Being energetic and alert are hallmarks of the Alaskan klee kai’s personality. They have playful personalities and tend to love their humans, but they can be wary of strangers.

They are similar to the Siberian husky in their energy level and need for plenty of daily exercise and play. In addition, these dogs are vocal and like to bark, so they might not be the right choice for those living in apartments with close neighbors.

Affection LevelMedium
FriendlinessLow
Kid-FriendlyLow
Pet-FriendlyMedium
Exercise NeedsHigh
PlayfulnessHigh
Energy LevelHigh
TrainabilityMedium
IntelligenceHigh
Tendency to BarkHigh
Amount of SheddingMedium

History of the Alaskan Klee Kai

An Alaskan breeder named Linda Spurlin began the development of Alaskan klee kai in the 1970s. Spurlin wanted to create a smaller version of the huskies she was familiar with that had her ideal look and temperament.

Using selective breeding, she crossed Alaskan and Siberian huskies with American Eskimo dogs and schipperkes. The result was a small dog that still could handle the rough Alaskan terrain and could be a good companion. The name klee kai comes from the indigenous Athabaskan language and means “little dog.”

The breed is still fairly rare but has gained popularity over the decades. The American Kennel Club doesn’t recognize it yet, but it accepted the breed into Foundation Stock Service (which records breeding) in 2020.

Some famous people, such as Miley Cyrus and Joe Jonas, have also brought these dogs into their family, further proving how popular the breed is becoming.

Alaskan Klee Kai Care

As high-energy and intelligent dogs, Alaskan klee kai need lots of physical activity and mental stimulation. They are moderately receptive to training, as they can be both smart and stubborn at times. Furthermore, their grooming is relatively straightforward.

Exercise

These dogs need an active pet parent who can give them at least a solid hour of exercise per day. A bored Alaskan klee kai can easily engage in problem behaviors, such as becoming destructive or excessively vocal.

Alaskan klee kai generally have excellent endurance, and they like to be challenged both mentally and physically. Some of the many activities you can enjoy with your dog include:

  • Long walks
  • Jogging
  • Running
  • Hiking
  • Dog sports, such asagility, weight pulling, and dock diving
  • Food puzzles (these can keep your dog busy when you need a break)

Make sure to keep your dog on a leash or in a secure fenced area. These dogs can be difficult to train to come when they’re called. And despite their small size, they have the athleticism to run away quickly.

Grooming

Like huskies, these dogs have a short, dense undercoat and a medium-length, wiry outer coat. And, like cats, these dogs are self-groomers, but this doesn’t mean you won’t need to groom them. They shed a moderate amount, though shedding typically increases twice a year in the spring and fall. Brush at least weekly to remove loose fur and prevent mats; up to daily brushing might be necessary during the high-shedding periods.

Fortunately, the coat naturally repels dirt and stays pretty clean, so usually only the occasional bath is necessary. Check your dog’s nails once a month or so to see whether they need trimming. And aim to brush their teeth daily. Also, check the dog’s ears regularly and clean them when necessary—this is especially important if they have thyroid issues that can cause ear infections.

Training

These bright dogs generally are quick to learn and enjoy mental challenges. However, they also have an independent and free-thinking side to their personality that can complicate training. They tend to respond well to positive and rewards-based training methods. Making training seem like a game to them often is a great way to get results.

Aim to start training as early as possible with a puppy obedience class. And start socializing your dog when they're still young as well. That way, they can get along well with everyone. Alaskan klee kai can be reserved around strangers and often bark when something is unsettling to them. Providing them with positive experiences around different people and situations can help to build their comfort and confidence.

These dogs do best with other pets, including cats, when they’re raised with them from puppyhood. However, small pets, such as lizards, might be viewed as prey, so it’s important to keep this breed’s high prey drive in mind if you have a multi-pet household.

Supervise your children when they interact with the Alaskan klee kai, especially if your kids are young. Teach them to be gentle with their small dog, and also keep an eye on their interactions to ensure the dog won’t nip them.

Learn About the Mini Husky-Like Alaskan Klee Kai (1)

Learn About the Mini Husky-Like Alaskan Klee Kai (2)

Common Health Problems

Alaskan klee kai overall are healthy dogs. But the breed still is prone to some hereditary health issues, including:

  • Patellar luxation: This problem is often seen in small dogs and affects their kneecap, causing it to slip out of place. Dogs with this condition may hold up the leg while they walk.
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis: This is the most common cause of primary hypothyroidism, which is when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone.
  • Heart murmurs: When there’s turbulent blood flow through the heart, a veterinarian can hear a heart murmur, which is described as a whooshing sound. It might be a sign of a heart problem.
  • Eye diseases: Check your Alaskan klee kai’s eyes often to look for signs of infection or symptoms of conditions like cataracts (cloudy lens).
  • Factor VII deficiency: This is a bleeding disorder. A dog’s blood is unable to clot properly, so they could bleed excessively after trauma or surgery.

Learn About the Mini Husky-Like Alaskan Klee Kai (4)

Diet and Nutrition

Always have fresh water available to your dog. And feed a quality, nutritionally balanced canine diet. Discuss the proper variety and quantity with your vet, as this can vary based on size, age, and other factors.

Most owners feed two measured meals per day. Putting meals in a puzzle feeder rather than a bowl can help to provide your dog with some mental stimulation.

As active dogs, Alaskan klee kai aren’t prone to becoming overweight. But it’s still important to measure their food and monitor treat intake to prevent overeating.

Where to Adopt or Buy an Alaskan Klee Kai

For a reputable breeder puppy, expect to pay around $1,500 to $3,000, though this can vary widely. Breeders also can be difficult to find depending on where you live.

The Alaskan klee kai is a rare dog breed, so it’s not likely that you’ll often come across one at an animal shelter. Still, it’s always worth checking shelters and breed-specific rescue groups to see whether there’s one in need of a home.

To help connect you with an Alaskan klee kai, check out:

Alaskan Klee Kai Overview

Although these dogs are small and don’t need a lot of space, the Alaskan klee kai isn’t for everyone because they can be high-maintenance and bark a lot. These dogs don’t require a complicated grooming routine but need to be given the opportunity to exercise daily, and they can be a bit of a challenge when it comes to training.

Pros of Alaskan Klee Kai

  • Intelligent
  • Loyal
  • Has the appearance of a husky but can live in a smaller space

Cons of Alaskan Klee Kai

  • Needs lots of exercise and mental stimulation
  • Can be wary of strangers
  • Can be very vocal

4 Best Alaskan Dog Breeds

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

Before you bring home an Alaskan klee kai, do plenty of research to make sure the breed is right for your lifestyle. Speak to veterinarians, klee kai pet parents, reputable breeders, and rescue groups. Also, try to meet some Alaskan klee kai in person to learn more.

If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:

  • Siberian Husky
  • American Eskimo Dog
  • Alaskan Malamute

There’s a whole world of potential dog breeds out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!

FAQ

  • Are Alaskan klee kai good family dogs?

    Well-trained and socialized Alaskan klee kai can be good around older children who understand how to behave around a dog. However, these dogs don't tend to be patient with young and/or rambunctious children and consequently might nip.

  • Is an Alaskan klee kai a mini husky?

    Alaskan klee kai are described as mini huskies because of their appearance and personality. The Siberian husky was also used in the development of this breed.

  • Do Alaskan klee kai stay small?

    Yes, Alaskan klee kai are small dogs, whether you get the standard, miniature, or toy size. On the larger end of the standard size, they can be 17.5 inches and 25 pounds.

The Spruce Pets uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Alaskan Klee Kai. American Kennel Club.

  2. Frequently Asked Questions. Alaskan Klee Kai Association of America.

Learn About the Mini Husky-Like Alaskan Klee Kai (2024)

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