Country of Origin: United States
  • Activity Level: high
  • Grooming Level: moderate
  • Trainability: high
  • Adaptability: moderate
  • Kid/Pet Friendly: sometimes
  • Average Size: Small
  • Average Lifespan: 12-16 years
  • Prey Drive: high
  • Watchdog: very alert
  • Registered?: other
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Alaskan Klee Kai Breed Profile

Overview

Temperament

Adaptability

Health

Owner Experience

Grooming

Activity Level

Size

Life Span

Did You Know?

The Alaskan Klee Kai originated in Alaska during the 1970s. It is a relatively new dog breed and has a rich history. They were developed to create a companion-sized version of the Alaskan Husky. Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Huskies were bred with Schipperkes and American Eskimo Dogs to get a smaller size without issues of dwarfism.

The general public was introduced to the dog breed in 1988. The Alaskan Klee Kai, like its Husky ancestors, is considered a spitz-type dog breed. Although they are not currently recognized by the AKC, they are recognized by the United Kennel Club and the American Rare Breed Association.

Alaskan Klee Kai are energetic and intelligent dogs that look like small Siberian Huskies. They are a playful and curious dog breed that loves their families, but can be shy, skittish, or standoffish around strangers. Because they tend to be wary of strangers, socialization early on is important and should be continued throughout their life.

The Alaskan Klee Kai is a great family dog and does do well with older children who have been taught how to properly handle animals. They tend to be quiet dogs and will not normally bark, but they do vocalize and “talk” like other northern breeds. They do have a strong prey drive and an urge to chase, so they will likely not get along with other pets in the household unless they have been socialized not to view them as “prey”.

This is a moderately adaptable dog breed. Although they are small, they are high energy and need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to be happy and healthy. They also have an urge to wander and have a high prey drive, which means they should be on a leash at all times and only allowed off-leash if they are in a securely fenced area.

They are better suited to larger homes with fenced-in yards. They can adapt to apartment living, but will require a lot of exercise to do so. They also do not like to be left alone for long periods of time. As a northern breed, the Alaskan Klee Kai handles cold weather much better than warm weather, so is better suited towards cooler and moderate climates.

The Alaskan Klee Kai is a relatively healthy dog breed. As with all dog breeds, there are some breed-specific health conditions to be aware of. These include cardiac issues, liver disease, patellar luxation, thyroid disease, and juvenile cataracts. Asking the breeder about the genetic history of the parents and to see any relevant health clearances can help allay some of these potential health concerns.

The Alaskan Klee Kai is an intelligent and highly trainable dog breed. Although they are highly trainable and eager to please, they are not generally suited for novice dog owners as they require an owner who can provide consistent and ongoing training and who can keep up with their activity levels. Novice dog owners can have success with this dog breed as long as plenty of training classes are involved.

This dog breed has a moderate grooming level as they have a tendency to be clean and will often spend hours each day grooming themselves. They do not typically have “dog breath” or a “dog odor” and seldom need a bath. Their thick coat helps keep them cool and protects their skin, so they should not be shaved unless it needs to be done for medical reasons. The Alaskan Klee Kai will shed continuously year-round with two heavier seasonal shedding sessions. Most of the time, you can brush this dog’s coat weekly or a few times a week, but you may want to increase to daily brushing during seasonal sheddings.

In addition to brushing your dog’s coat, there are other grooming tasks to keep your dog happy and healthy. Dental care, nail trimming, and ear care are all part and parcel of good grooming. Proper dental care for dogs includes brushing your dog’s teeth regularly or using an enzyme toothpaste to prevent the tartar buildup that causes dental disease. Nails should be trimmed on a monthly basis or more often as needed. You should also regularly check your dog’s ears and carefully clean them as needed. It’s helpful to get your puppy used to having their mouth, paws, and ears handled early as it makes grooming much easier as they grow.

The Alaskan Klee Kai is a moderate to high energy dog breed. They require plenty of exercise to remain happy and may become high-strung or anxious if they do not get enough. A few walks a day with some playtime and time to run should be sufficient for this dog breed. They will also likely enjoy going hiking with you, running with you on a leash, or even going swimming. This dog breed also tends to excel in dog sports like obedience and agility.

A fully-grown Alaskan Klee Kai will usually stand between 15 and 17 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 16 and 22 pounds.

This dog breed generally lives 12-16 years.

“Klee Kai” was derived from an Inuit term that means “small dog”.