Welcome to the BarkPost guide to dog breeds where we belly flop straight into the depths of dog breed origin, evolution, and purpose. Follow along each week as we publish new guides that highlight the strangest, most interesting, and most surprising stuff about these creatures who have been our best buds the last 30,000 years.
Intro / Overview
(All dogs are individuals, which means any single dog from any breed can be any number of ways, both good and not so good. Keep that in mind as we discuss breed generalities!)
The Alaskan Klee Kai is little, but mighty. This breed has all of the energy, intelligence, and traits of the original Huskies - just in a smaller size!
There's a lot to learn about this compact dog. The Alaskan Klee Kai pups are more than miniatures of the popular working and racing dogs from the North, they were made to be great companions to loving owners. Get to know all about your new best friend!
Also Known As...
Klee Kai (which means "Small Dog" in an Eskimo dialect). Pocket Husky. Miniature Husky. "That's littlest direwolf you'll I've ever seen!"
The Alaskan Klee Kai was bred specifically to be a family pet. The creation of this special dog was developed by Linda Spurlin in Alaska. Much like their Northern ancestors, the Klee Kai are often called the Alaskan Husky - but they're much more. The Klee Kai is a mix of Siberian and Alaskan Huskies, and also the Schipperke and American Eskimo Dog to shrink the size to a more miniature height without the worry of dwarfism.
In 1988 Linda Spurlin and her family made the Alaskan Klee Kai available to others. Mrs. Spurlin originally called her new breed the Klee Kai, but to make sure everyone knew where the cute pups originated from, changed the name of the breed to the Alaskan Klee Kai in 1995.
Although all versions of these pups are small, the Alaskan Klee Kai still comes in different sizes.
Toy Variety: Up to 13 inches.
Miniature Variety: Between 13 inches and 15 inches.
Standard Variety: Between 15 and 17 inches.
Adult Males can be anywhere between 12 and 20 lbs. The range for the adult females is 10 to 18 lbs.
The Alaskan Klee Kai has a sharp mind, and they're pretty high on the active scale. Although they wouldn't be labeled as a hyper breed, these pups do tend to be on the go and loves to move. Great companion, these dogs also make good watch dogs (they're very vocal) and are easy to train. Bordering the line of neediness, Alaskan Klee Kais demand a lot of attention and time from their owners. They want to stay at your side and would love to cuddle with you every chance they get.
When it comes to strangers, Klee Kais are typically suspicious of new people. Their behavior can come across as reserved. These dogs are mostly comfortable with their handlers and family members - which makes sense because they were bred for companionship!
This breed isn't really big on barking, but Klee Kais will "talk back" to you and howl. When they're happy you may get a "woo-woo" and when they're upset they'll make sure you know it.
Intelligence & Trainability
These furry pups are very smart, eager to please their owners, and are very food motivated. All of these elements make them extremely easy to train and pick up on tricks. They'll do well with basic commands, to start off, and in obedience training. Armed with praise and high value treats, you'll easily get your small dog to obey and preform all of the tricks you want.
Best Training Techniques For Alaskan Klee Kai
Training a dog can require a lot of time, attention, and patience. You're forming a bond and setting the tone for the relationship between you and your fur friend. An Alaskan Klee Kai is willing to learn new things and put in the work. This breed has grace and top agility skills. Whether you're training your pup to asimilate to your daily routine or training them for a competition, Klee Kai's are much easier to train than many other breeds. As long as you're willing to commit the time and effort to keep them learning and stimulate their minds, the Klee Kai dogs will continue to produce the desired results!
Here are a few tips on how to start training your Alaskan Klee Kai:
- Be the Pack Leader: You're in control, so make sure your Klee Kai knows it. They'll be looking to you for cues, commands, and will respect your dominance as long as you're consistent.
- Be Consistent.: As "Alpha", you're expected to set boundaries for your pup. Whether it's behavioral rules or house rules, hold the line with your dog. If your Klee Kai thinks the rules can be broken, they'll regress in training and start behaving unfavorably.
- Start Early. Once you bring your fur ball home start incorporating them into your daily routine and show them how you expect them to behave in their new setting.
- Socialize Early. The Klee Kai puppies should be socialized at an early age. They're naturally suspicious of new people and can be defensive. To steer them away from feeling uncomfortable around strangers, consistent socializing from a young age is highly encouraged.
- Make sure you have rewards handy. Once your pup accomplishes a command or exhibits "good dog" behavior, treats and praise will suffice for adequate rewards. Who doesn't love a tasty treat and positive reinforcement?
Alaskan Klee Kais are known to be active and need daily exercise. They were made to be a family pet, and are great in family homes. This breed is adaptable to apartments and city living, but may cause problems with close living neighbors due to their emotional crying when upset and their "talking."
Owning an Alaskan Klee Kai can be easier if you have a yard big enough for them to enjoy or live near a park. Daily exercise is required, otherwise these dogs can become bored from the lack of stimulation and start behaving unfavorably.
These small dogs are also known for their natural hunting skills. As a prey-driven breed, these dogs need to have a yard with a sturdy fence. They're also master escape artists and sometimes like to slip away for an adventure. A strong fence is a good idea. If you don't have a yard, you'll need to keep your pup leashed while outside. The pups will try to track down small animals, or chase cats or birds. Anything that piques their hunting instincts.
Good For Families And Kids?
Yes, the Alaskan Klee Kai are bred specifically to be great companions. These pups can be great as a family dog. If there are small children in the family, it would be best to teach your children to be careful with your pup and treat them respectfully. Alaskan Klee Kai will not generally allow themselves to be mistreated, even by small humans. Adult supervision is always recommended when your dog is playing with kids
This small dog "talks," breezes through agility courses, and is always learning new things. They're also very affectionate. Your dog would be happy to simply sit down and cuddle with you. These fluffy pups are very close to their humans and want to be with them all of the time. One way to get their tails wagging is to give them plenty of your love and attention. If you're up to doting on your fur friend, this breed may be a great fit for you.
The average lifespan of the Alaskan Klee Kai is from 12 to 16 years.
Compared to many types of dogs, the Alaskan Klee Kai are a rare breed. There isn't a vast population of them and, as these dogs are carefully bred, we're learning more and more about their typical health needs and common issues.
The small version of the Northern breeds are generally healthy. Taking after their ancestors, the Klee Kai have share some of the same health issues as the different Huskies that share the same genes. It’s very important to keep a keen eye on your pup’s health conditions to keep them in tip-top shape! These are some of the health issues commonly displayed in the Alaskan Klee Kai breed:
- Thyroid Disease
- Juvenile Cataracts
- Liver Disease
- Cardiac Defects
- Patella Luxation
- Cryptorchidism (in Male Klee Kai Dogs)
- Blood Clotting Disorder
These dogs need daily exercise to burn off their energy. This specific breed isn't hyper, but they are energetic. Klee Kai dogs require lots of physical stimulation. Carving out time to allow them to run and play will keep them fit and happy. Daily time set aside to be outdoors will help your pal refrain from destructive behavior and provide bonding time.
Friendly With…(Dogs? Strangers? Cats/Other Pets?)
Alaskan Klee Kai pups often prefer to be with their owners and family members and can be wary around new people, taking time to warm up to strangers.
The Alaskan Klee Kai isn't known for their great love of other pets, but like any dog, as long as they're socialized early on and well-trained, it shouldn't be a problem.
Coat & Grooming
The Alaskan Klee Kai has a medium length double coat that comes in various colors. Their coat should only be trimmed in medical situations. Otherwise, the double coat protects their skin, keeps them warm in winter. Unlike most breeds, this dog will clean themselves. It's a trait of their ancestors of the North that they will try to lick their coats and feet clean.
Grooming is fairly easy. This breed tends to shed a lot, so be ready to brush out the coat a few times a week to keep matting down to a minimum. The Klee Kai blows their coat twice a year, seasonally. You'll easily identify when this is happening, there will be more hair than usual around the home. It would be best to take your pup outside and brush out the coat more frequently than normal during this time. It will help keep the hair from covering all of the surfaces in your home!
Toys Alaskan Klee Kais Would Like Best
These pups are smart, playful and enjoy games. It’s necessary to have durable toys on hand for them to chew. You’ll definitely need something strong enough to last during play time. BARK’s Super Chewer Toys will stimulate your pup's mind working and get them up and moving! These fun and innovative toys will keep your pup happy and stimulated.
Klee Kais are quick and agile pups who love to run and play fetch, Fetch Toys are perfect to keep on hand. Tennis balls will of course do the trick, but you can also play fetch with toys like “Andi’s Famous Plush Dumplings.”
For a more extensive list of toys Alaskan Klee Kais would love, check out our “What Are The Best Dog Toys For Huskies?” post.
Recommended Diet Or Supplements
Does your Klee Kai suffer from anxiety or joint pain? If yes, you might want to try CBD or supplements. But as always, consult your veterinarian first.
BARK's Full Spectrum Hemp Oil is made of organically grown whole plants, grown in Colorado, and is non-psychoactive. It comes in 100mg, 250mg, and 500mg varieties, and can help with pet anxiety and pain relief. ($17.99-22.99.)
This joint supplement is veterinarian-formulated, made with all natural ingredients (glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid), and comes in the form of 150 soft chews. Basically, it looks and tastes just like delicious treats, and it could really help your Bulldog with their hip and joint issues. ($32.99.)
For older Klee Kais or dogs suffering from arthritis or hip dysplasia (or just any dog that enjoys lying down!), a comfortable, supportive dog bed is probably a good idea.
This dog bed is great for supporting your pup's tired body. A high quality combination of ergonomic memory foam and gel foam helps ease body aches, joint pain, hip dysplasia and arthritis. This bed offers the best therapeutic support for your hardworking pal. ($27.99-64.99.)
Notable Rescues to Find the Alaskan Klee Kai of Your Dreams
Notable Instagram Alaskan Klee Kais
Get a daily dose of adorable pocket huskies by following these stunning little furry pups on Instagram:
***Looking for a gift to blow your Klee Klai's mind? Spoil them with BarkBox! Every month BarkBox delivers 2 original toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and a chew. Sign up here and receive a free extra toy every month. <-- This deal is worth up to $120 in value if you sign up for a 12-month subscription! :)
Featured image via Greywolf.Blackfox/Instagram