Alaskan Klee Kai

Alaskan Klee Kai looking forward

Quick Facts


6 to 25 pounds


12 to 17 inches at the shoulder

Average Lifespan:

13-16 years

Known For:

Small companion dogs, that are smart, energetic and loyal, but reserved with strangers.


The Alaskan Klee Kai, often mistaken for its larger counterpart, the Alaskan Husky, is a bundle of joy that has captured the hearts of many. This petite, agile, and utterly adorable breed is relatively new to the dog world but has quickly gained popularity among pet enthusiasts.Β 


Originating from the cold terrains of Alaska, the Alaskan Klee Kai is not just a mini version of the Husky but a unique breed with its own set of characteristics. Let’s embark on a journey to explore the origins, appearance, and history of this delightful canine.

History and Origin

The Alaskan Klee Kai’s story began in the early 1970s in Wasilla, Alaska, with a lady named Linda Spurlin. She accidentally bred an Alaskan Husky with a smaller dog, resulting in a litter of small-sized Husky-looking puppies. Intrigued by their appearance and size, Spurlin decided to develop this as a new breed.Β 


By combining the genes of the Siberian and Alaskan Huskies with the American Eskimo Dog and Schipperke, she aimed to produce a dog that retained the Husky’s appearance but in a more manageable size.


The name “Klee Kai” is derived from an Inuit term which means “small dog.” It wasn’t until 1988 that the breed was made available to the public. Since then, the Alaskan Klee Kai has been turning heads and melting hearts, not just in the US but around the world.


While there haven’t been many “celebrity” Alaskan Klee Kais in history, the breed itself has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially among urban dwellers looking for a compact, intelligent, and energetic companion.

Breed Characteristics


Barking Tendency

Dog Friendly

Health Issues

Shedding Level









Cat Friendly

Exercise Needs


Social Needs








App. Friendly

Child Friendly


Energy Level

Stranger Friendly

Watchdog Instincts







Appearance and Size

The Alaskan Klee Kai is often described as a “miniature Husky.” At first glance, one might mistake it for a puppy Husky, but a closer look reveals its distinct features.


Size: The Alaskan Klee Kai comes in three sizes – toy, miniature, and standard. The toy variety typically weighs between 5 to 10 pounds and stands about up to 13 inches tall. The miniature variety weighs between 10 to 15 pounds and stands 13 to 15 inches tall. The standard Alaskan Klee Kai can weigh up to 20 pounds and stands 15 to 17 inches tall.


Coat Type: Their double coat is plush, with a soft undercoat and a longer outer coat. This double layer provides them with adequate insulation against colder climates.

Common Colors: While they often sport the classic black and white combination reminiscent of the Husky, Alaskan Klee Kais can also be found in shades of gray and white, red and white, and even a rare all-white.


Varieties: Beyond size and color, their masks, much like the Huskies, can vary. Some have a full face mask, while others might have a partial one or none at all.


Their almond-shaped eyes are one of their most captivating features. They can be blue, green, brown, or even one of each – a phenomenon called heterochromia.


Their erect ears, bushy tails, and expressive faces make them one of the most photogenic breeds out there. Whether they’re posing for a photo or playing in the snow, the Alaskan Klee Kai is a sight to behold.

Personality and Temperament

The Alaskan Klee Kai is more than just a pretty face. Beneath that striking appearance lies a personality that’s as vibrant as it is varied.


Playfulness: These dogs are known for their playful nature. They’re energetic, agile, and always up for a game of fetch or a romp in the yard. Their curious nature often leads them to explore, making them great companions for hikes and outdoor adventures.


Intelligence: Alaskan Klee Kais are sharp. They’re quick learners and can pick up new tricks and commands with relative ease. However, this intelligence also means they can get bored quickly, so it’s essential to keep them mentally stimulated.


Reserved Nature: Unlike their Husky relatives, Klee Kais tend to be more reserved, especially around strangers. They’re loyal to their families and can be a bit protective, making them excellent watchdogs. However, they’re not typically aggressive.


Vocal: If there’s one thing an Alaskan Klee Kai loves, it’s the sound of their own voice. They’re known to “talk” and can be quite vocal, especially when they want something.

Health and Lifespan

The Alaskan Klee Kai, like all breeds, has its set of health concerns. However, with proper care and regular check-ups, they can lead a healthy and fulfilling life.


Lifespan: On average, an Alaskan Klee Kai can live between 12 to 16 years. This lifespan can be influenced by factors like genetics, diet, exercise, and overall health care.


Common Health Issues: Some health concerns associated with this breed include:

  • Patellar Luxation: A condition where the kneecap dislocates or moves out of its normal position.
  • Thyroid Issues: Hypothyroidism can be a concern, which affects the thyroid gland’s ability to produce hormones.
  • Heart Conditions: Like many small breeds, they can be prone to certain heart conditions.

Regular vet check-ups, a balanced diet, and proper exercise can help mitigate some of these health risks.

Care and Maintenance

Alaskan Klee Kai grooming

Caring for an Alaskan Klee Kai is a rewarding experience, filled with fun activities and bonding moments.

Exercise Needs: Despite their small size, these dogs have a lot of energy. Daily walks, play sessions, and mental stimulation are crucial. They love activities like agility training, which not only exercises their body but also their mind.


Grooming Needs: Their double coat means they shed, especially during shedding season. Regular brushing, at least a few times a week, can help manage this shedding and keep their coat looking its best. Bathing can be done as needed, but it’s essential not to over-bathe as it can strip their coat of natural oils.


Dietary Needs: A balanced diet is key. High-quality dog food, whether commercial or homemade (with vet guidance), can ensure they get all the nutrients they need. It’s also essential to monitor their weight, as obesity can lead to other health issues.

Training and Behavior

Training an Alaskan Klee Kai can be both a joy and a challenge, given their intelligence and sometimes stubborn nature.


Intelligence Level: As mentioned, these dogs are sharp. They can pick up commands quickly, but this also means they can pick up bad habits if not trained properly.

Trainability: While they’re eager to please, Klee Kais can have a streak of independence. Consistency is key. Positive reinforcement methods work best, as they respond well to treats and praises.


Behavioral Quirks: Their vocal nature can sometimes be seen as a behavioral issue, especially in apartment settings. Training them to understand “quiet” commands can be beneficial. They can also be a bit wary of strangers, so socialization from a young age is crucial.

Alaskan Klee Kai and Families

Alaskan Klee Kai outdoor

The Alaskan Klee Kai can be a wonderful addition to families, but there are some things to consider.

Children: Generally, they get along well with children, especially if they’ve been raised with them. However, due to their small size, it’s essential to teach children to handle them gently.

Other Pets: They can coexist with other pets, but early socialization is crucial. Their high prey drive might make them chase smaller animals, so supervision is advised.


Joy and Companionship: Above all, Klee Kais are loyal companions. They form strong bonds with their families and can be incredibly affectionate, making them perfect cuddle buddies on cold nights.

Adopting an Alaskan Klee Kai

If you’re considering bringing an Alaskan Klee Kai into your home, here are some things to keep in mind:

Research Breeders: If you’re looking to get a puppy, ensure you’re getting one from a reputable breeder who tests for common health issues and prioritizes the well-being of the dogs.

Consider Adoption:Β 


There are many Klee Kais in shelters or rescue groups looking for a second chance. Adopting can be a rewarding experience, giving a dog a loving home and making space for another in need.


Preparation: Before bringing one home, ensure you have all the essentials – a comfortable bed, toys, food, and a secure yard or space for them to play.

Commitment: Remember, adopting a dog is a long-term commitment. Ensure you’re ready for the responsibility of caring for a living being for the next decade or more.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much exercise does an Alaskan Klee Kai require, and what are the best ways to meet their energy levels?

Alaskan Klee Kai typically require moderate exercise, including daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation to keep them mentally and physically fit; engaging in activities like obedience training, agility courses, and interactive games can help meet their energy levels and prevent boredom.

Can Alaskan Klee Kai adapt well to apartment living, or do they require a house with a yard?

Alaskan Klee Kai can adapt well to apartment living if provided with sufficient exercise and mental stimulation; however, access to outdoor space like a secure yard can enhance their quality of life and allow for more opportunities for play and exploration.

What is the Alaskan Klee Kai's shedding pattern, and how does it impact grooming needs?

Alaskan Klee Kai have a double coat that sheds moderately year-round, with heavier shedding occurring during seasonal changes; regular grooming, including brushing sessions at least once or twice a week, can help manage their shedding and keep their coat healthy and free of mats.

What are the training essentials for an Alaskan Klee Kai, especially regarding socialization?

Essential training for an Alaskan Klee Kai involves consistent positive reinforcement, early socialization with people and animals, and establishing clear boundaries to foster good behavior.

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