Alaskan Klee Kai vs Mini Husky
If you own an Alaskan Klee Kai, you’re probably asked if your dog is a Mini Husky at least once a week.
It’s a common misconception that Alaskan Klee Kai are Alaskan or Siberian Husky puppies or Mini Huskies bred to be smaller in size for apartment or city life
While Alaskan Klee Kai is a breed recognised by the United Kennel Club and the American Rare Breed Association, a Mini Husky is not an official breed.
The Alaskan Husky and the Siberian Husky both played a role in the creation of the Alaskan Klee Kai breed nearly 40 years ago in Alaska.
However, other types of dogs were used to refine the Alaskan Klee Kai breed into the curious, independent little pups that we know and love today.
In this article we will examine the difference between the Alaskan Klee Kai and Mini Huskies, taking a close look at the history of the AKK and the differences between them.
A brief history of Alaskan Klee Kai
Alaskan Klee Kai were created in Alaska in 1980s (Photo: lifewithkleekai / Instagram)
The Alaskan Klee Kai was created by an American woman called Linda Spurlin. She started her quest to create these little companion dogs after a chance meeting with a small Husky mix called Curious in Colorado in the 1970s. Writing on the Alaskan Klee Association of America’s website, Spurlin described Curious as a 17 pound grey and white female husky. Unwanted by her brother-in-law, Spurlin brought Curious back to Alaska. Such was the interest in her small Husky dog that Spurlin decided to attempt to recreate “this little wonder”.
What breeds make an Alaskan Klee Kai?
The first thing to note is Alaskan Klee Kai are purebred dogs recognised by the UKC. You can only create an Alaskan Klee Kai by breeding to UKC registered Alaskan Klee Kai.
Spurlin predominantly used the Alaskan Husky in her quest to replicate Curious. In seeking to use the best of the best, Spurlin turned to these dogs that have a special place in the history of Alaska.
Describing them as the “ancestors of the Alaskan Klee Kai”, the Alaskan Husky is related to an Indian dog used by the indigenous people of Alaska. As is evident from the striking face masks, eyes and coat colours, Spurlin used a “small dose” of Siberian Husky. These dogs hail from Siberia, Russia but became popular in the racing world at the turn of the 20th century.
Spurlin added some American Eskimo Dog and Schipperke, who were of “similar conformation” to develop her initial stock. Initially not bred to be shown at prestigious dog events, their popularity led to the breed receiving recognition by United Kennel Club and American Rare Breed Association.
There have been over 15 generations of purebred Alaskan Klee Kai.
A history of Mini Husky
Siberian Huskies are sociable dogs (Photo: Adobe Stock)
The Miniature Husky was created by a lady called Bree Normandin in the 1990s. They’re smaller sized Siberian Huskies. Their origins can be found in the eastern peninsula of Russia. Indeed, their ancestors were used for thousands of years by the Chukchi people. Many of these dogs arrived in Alaska at the start of the 19th century. Their sleek but powerful frames made them a favourite with sled dog racers. They secured international fame for their incredible role in the Race for Life in 1925 when they delivered diphtheria serum from Nenana to Noma, a 674-mile journey. Thanks to 20 mushers and 150 sled dogs, an epidemic was prevented and the lead dog called Balto even has a statue in his honour in New York.
What breeds make up Mini Husky?
Siberian Huskies used to create the Mini Husky. Normandin wanted to develop a companion sized Siberian Husky and was selective in her breeding to build her stock of Mini Huskies.
Alaskan Klee Kai size
Alaskan Klee Kai come in three different sizes: standard, miniature and toy.
Standard Alaskan Klee Kai are over 15 inches and up to 17 inches, while they can weigh up to 20 pounds.
Miniature Alaskan Klee Kai tend to grow to a height between 13 inches and up to 15 inches, while they likely weigh between 14 to 20 pounds.
The toy size reach a maximum size of 13 inches and can weigh a mere 10 pounds or less.
Alaskan Klee Kai that exceed 17 inches are considered oversize.
Mini Husky size
A Miniature Husky can grow to a heigh of between 12 to 16 inches, while they tend to weigh between 15 and 35 pounds.
Alaskan Klee Kai appearance
Instagram famous Alaskan Klee Kai Baylee loves to hike around Germany (Photo: Myloveonpaws / Instagram)
Alaskan Klee Kai usually have three different coat colours – black and white, grey and white, and red and white. While the breed standard doesn’t allow for variation for show purposes, some Alaskan Klee Kai come in a variety of different colours, such as largely black with a little bit of tan, all a reddish/white colour called cinnar or white.
These little dogs are immediately recognisable for their trademark face masks and striking eyes. Again, their eyes can come in a variety of different colours, including brown, blue, bi-eyed or even parti-eye.
Their tail is quite bushy and will usually loop over onto their lower back. They’ve got an inner coat and an outer coat with year long shedding. Their inner coat will blow out twice a year.
Mini Husky appearance
Siberian Husky (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Much like the Alaskan Klee Kai, the Mini Husky can come in an array of different colours. The most common tends to be black and white, but there’s also grey and white, red and white, sage and white and all white.
Their eyes can come in blue, brown, bi-eyed and parti-eye too.
Alaskan Klee Kai personality
Given the Alaskan Klee Kai were bred to be companion dogs, they enjoy the company of their owners. They’ll usually become your little shadows around the house. Sometimes described as the cats of the dog world, some Klee Kai can be aloof or shy. It’s a good idea to socialise an AKK from a young age to ensure they get used to meeting new people and other dogs.
Some AKK suffer from separation anxiety, so if you’ll have to leave your dogs for a long time at home alone, this may not be the breed for you. They’ve also got a reputation for being escape artists, so you’ll need to secure your yard. Some breeders recommend keeping the Alaskan Klee Kai on a leash as they don’t always have great recall.
Mini Husky personality
Like the Siberian Husky, the Mini Husky will require a lot of exercise to deplete their energy levels. They like to run with their owners, so if you go for a daily jog, you could have a new running partner.
They’re social dogs that like the company of humans to keep them entertained. If left alone for too long, they may resort to some destructive behaviours, such as chewing furniture.
Like the Alaskan Klee Kai, they’ve earned a reputation for being able to find possible ways to escape the garden or the yard.
Mini Huskies do like to be boisterous when it comes to play time, so you should keep an eye on them with other dogs and you should never leave a child alone with a dog, including this breed.
Alaskan Klee Kai can vary in price depending on coat colour, eye colour and size. Different breeders will charge different prices. If you’re thinking of an Alaskan Klee Kai as a pet, you should consult with the Alaskan Klee Kai Association of America’s website to find a breeder who has signed up to the organization’s code of ethics. Their price can range from $1500 to $3000.
Mini Huskies can cost between $950 – $1450 but they’re not a common dog breed, so you may have difficult locating a breeder near you.
We don’t recommend buying any puppies online or from third party dealers, only from an established breeder with a reputation for ethical breeding.
Alaskan Klee Kai at the park (Photo: lifewithkleekai / Instagram)
So there you have it, Alaskan Klee Kai and Mini Huskies are different dogs, even if they share one of the same ancestors.
They do have a similar appearance but the Alaskan Klee Kai has clearly defined sizes, while the Mini Husky has a size range.
Alasakan Klee Kai Dog Breed Information and Personality Traits
The Alaskan klee kai resembles its foundation breed, the Alaskan Husky, in miniature.
The klee kai comes in three sizes: standard, over 15 inches up to and including 17 inches; miniature, over 13 inches up to and including 15 inches; and toy, up to 13 inches. They generally weigh between 10 and 20 pounds (four to nine kilograms), depending on size. The klee kai is assessed at eight months old and spayed or neutered if the dog has any disqualifying faults.
Like all Huskies, the klee kai has a double coat. They come in a variety of colors including black and white, gray and white, wolf gray and white, red and white and all white. All white, if not an albino, is the only solid color allowed. The klee kai has a mask and symmetrical markings and the characteristic tail that curls over the back. Like its larger cousins, the klee kai sheds or "blows coat" twice a year.
The Alaskan klee kai is an intelligent, high-activity dog. However, they are not "hyper." Unlike other husky breeds, they are highly trainable and make good watchdogs. Also unlike their cousins, they are suspicious of strangers. They require their owner's attention and are most likely found at their owner's side. They "talk back" and howl, but are not excessive barkers. Occasionally, a klee kai will be people-shy. This temperament is considered undesirable and dogs with this temperament are neutered.
Klee kai need a moderate amount of exercise. Because of their intelligence, they can become escape artists. If unhappy, the klee kai can escape through fences. Klee kai have a sense of humor and may play tricks on their owner. They excel in the sport of dog agility.
Klee kai need a large amount of interaction with their owners. They tolerate other dogs well. They are hunters and should be raised together with cats, if their owner is planning on one. The owner should be careful around pet rodents, birds and reptiles, as their husky prey drive is strong. Because they are clever, no pocket pet will be safe from them.
Klee kai make excellent watchdogs, but their size precludes them from being guard dogs. They accept family members and strangers, if introduced by the owner. They are hardy dogs with winter coats, but should not be left outdoors. They need a minimal brushing and combing once a week. Like cats, they are fastidious and keep themselves clean.
Klee kai are ideal for owners who want a small, active dog that does not require a large yard and can be content with walks and games of fetch. klee kai do not do well left alone for long periods. Anyone who cannot tolerate dog hair and shedding should consider another breed. Klee kai are long-lived, with claims of 15 to 20 years not unusual.
The Alaskan klee kai (pronounced KLEE-ki) means "small dog" in an Eskimo dialect. This breed is a recent one, developed in the early 1970s by Linda Spurlin in Wasilla, Alaska. She discovered an undersized Alaskan husky and fell in love with it, deciding it would be the ideal companion. Starting with this dog, Spurlin bred Alaskan huskies and Siberian huskies to create the klee kai, perhaps adding a schipperke and American Eskimo to obtain a smaller size.
In 1997, the United Kennel Club recognized the Alaskan klee kai. Even with this registration, the Alaskan klee kai is a rare breed with only 700 dogs.
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Alaskan Klee Kai
|Alaskan Klee Kai|
A Standard Alaskan Klee Kai
|Other names||Klee Kai|
|Dog (domestic dog)|
The Alaskan Klee Kai is a spitz-type breed of dog, developed in the late 20th century as a companion-sized dog resembling the larger Alaskan Husky and Siberian Husky. It is an energetic, intelligent dog with an appearance that reflects its northern heritage. Bred in three sizes, its weight range is from 5 to 22 pounds as an adult, depending on whether its a standard, toy, or miniature.
The name Klee Kai comes from the Athabaskan words meaning “little dog”. The breed was originally developed in Alaska by Linda Spurlin in the 1970s. The breed was created using the Alaskan Husky, a small amount of Siberian Husky, a slightly larger amount of American Eskimo Dog, and some Schipperkes. Spurlin’s “hardcore approach” to breeding might be considered harsh to some, as she “used the best and culled the rest” in order to create the breed.
The average Alaskan Klee Kai's temperament is curious, agile, aloof, and intelligent. They can be so intelligent that they can become stubborn, which is considered an unwanted trait. They excel at agility, and even though they are small dogs, they are thick-boned and can withstand high jumps. Their small size can be advantageous to agility training, allowing them to move with ease and gracefulness.
They come in four colors: red and white; black and white; gray and white; and all white. There are subdivisions within each color, such as wolf gray and silver gray, cinnamon red and dark red, jet black and white, and salt and pepper black and white. Albinism in Alaskan Klee Kai's may disqualify dogs from show rings and breeding programs, as it is stated in the breed standard that all white is not a recognized color.
The three sizes of an Alaskan Klee Kai are: Toy, Miniature, and Standard.
The Toy Alaskan Klee Kai can be up to 13 inches tall and weighs less than 10 pounds. The Miniature Alaskan Klee Kai can be 13–15 inches tall and weigh 10–15 pounds. The Standard size Alaskan Klee Kai can be 15–17 inches tall (17-17.5 inches is still considered a standard size Alaskan Klee Kai, but is a fault) and weigh 15–20 lbs. Specific weight ranges were included in the Original AKKAOA Standards 1993, but subsequent revisions call only for weight to be proportional to the height of the dog.
Alaskan klee kais are prone to developing juvenile cataracts, liver disease, factor VII deficiency and heart problems. Thyroid problems have also been observed. Due to the relatively young age of the breed in general, it is possible that not enough time has elapsed to fully determine the prevalence of genetic disease in this breed. It is believed that this breed is relatively healthy.
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Alaskan mini kai husky klee
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