Alaskan Klee Kai can be wonderful pets. They are loving, active and very playful, especially with their own family members. The name given to the breed, Klee Kai, comes from the Inuit words meaning “little dog”. The Alaskan Klee Kai was developed in the 1970s and the Mini Husky in the 1990s. The two breeds are often confused and the dogs are very similar. For most people and purposes, the two breeds are combined. Neither the Alaskan Klee Kai nor the Mini Husky are recognized by the American Kennel Club.
Both the Alaskan Klee Kai and the Mini Husky have specific character traits that make them the perfect pet in some situations and for some pet owners. Potential owners must realize that although the dogs are companion sizes and bred to live in apartments or small houses, they are very active and need room to play and roam. Listed here are some facts about the Alaskan Klee Kai and the Mini Husky breeds to help in deciding if one of these breeds is the right one for a particular owner.
Physical Characteristics of the Alaskan Klee Kai
The Alaskan Klee Kai looks like a miniature Siberian Husky. It has a triangular shaped head with a mask, pointed, erect ears and often a tail that curls over the back of the dog. There are three size specifications for the Alaskan Klee Kai. The standard height is 15-17 inches and a standard Klee Kai will weigh from 15-22 pounds. The miniature height is 13-15 inches and it will weigh between 9-15 pounds. The toy height is under 13 inches and it will weigh under 9 pounds.
The coat of the Alaskan Klee Kai is a double coat that can either be standard or full, with the full being slightly longer than standard. The coats of the Alaskan Klee Kai are usually colored grey and white, black and white, cinnamon and white, or white. The tail, covered with fur looks like a beautiful flag curled up along the dog’s back. An Alaskan Klee Kai dog’s eyes are almond-shaped and they sometimes exhibit heterochromia iridis, or having two different colored eyes. This is also common in Siberian Huskys.
Temperament of an Alaskan Klee Kai
One of the first things potential owners of an Alaskan Klee Kai must realize is that dogs of this breed generally have a very strong drive to chase animals that they consider prey. They will chase, capture and kill or injure other small animals such as cats, rabbits, or squirrels. Not only does this mean trouble for the small animal, but the Alaskan Klee Kai when chasing down prey will usually not obey voice commands. This often puts the dog’s own life in danger due to running in front of vehicles or getting lost.
Dogs of this breed are also not generally accepting of strangers and not friendly to unfamiliar people. They are often reserved and very protective of what they consider their personal space. They do well with small children as long as the children understand the limits that the Alaskan Klee Kai will place on interactions. Owners should be prepared to socialize their dog to encourage positive interactions with people.
An Alaskan Klee Kai will need lots of attention and time. It will need to be able to run and play more than dogs of similar size from different breeds. Because of their intelligence and activity level, Alaskan Klee Kai often do well in agility courses. If the owner doesn’t have time for the dog, the owner may come home to find household items destroyed. An Alaskan Klee Kai can dig up a backyard in no time, jump fences that would keep in larger dogs and dash for the street as soon as the door is opened.
An Alaskan Klee Kai has the potential to be an outstanding guard dog as it defends its territory and owners. It may often feel that one person or family is a part of its pack and act accordingly. This can be a negative thing as often the dog cannot differentiate between friends and enemies.
Grooming for an Alaskan Klee Kai
An Alaskan Klee Kai is generally a clean dog, almost to the point of fastidiousness. They usually keep themselves well-groomed and do not shed an extraordinary amount of fur. About twice a year, they will “blow their coat;” losing all the undercoat fur, which will come off in handfuls and clumps. The best way to keep dog fur under control is to groom or brush the dog every day or two. If the fur is in the brush, it is not on the floor, the bed, the couch, or in articles of clothing. For more information, please visit the section: Do Alaskan Klee Kai Shed?
Mental and Physical Health of the Alaskan Klee Kai
While there are no known health issues that pertain specifically to the dogs of the Alaskan Klee Kai breed, they are troubled with problems that affect toy or miniature breeds. One of these problems is congenital hydrocephalus. This is where an abnormal amount of spinal fluid pools in the skull, resulting in a misshapen head and the side effects of pressure on the soft tissues of the brain. There are effective treatments for this, but they are often expensive and it may be too late if brain damage has already occurred.
Hypoglycemia is another concern of many small dog breed owners. Small dogs, especially toy sized dogs, are more prone to hypoglycemia than larger breeds. Hypoglycemia is the metabolic ailment of low blood sugar. Usually this is a symptom of an underlying problem. It is treatable, but rapid response is vital and discovering a reason for the hypoglycemia is important. If this is not controlled, it could be life-threatening to the dog.
Another issue that concerns many of the owners of small dogs is how unafraid these dogs can be in the face of danger. This danger is often in the form of a much bigger dog. Sometimes called “small dog syndrome”, this is when the smaller dog barks excessively and postures aggressively around a larger dog. The smaller dog seems to be overcompensating for its size. Some larger dogs take this in stride, allowing the smaller dog to pretend it is bigger. Other dogs aren’t so forgiving and may snap or bite.
Perhaps even more important than the physical health of the Alaskan Klee Kai is its mental health. These are active dogs with high maintenance requirements. They come from lines of dogs that work very hard. Being active is part of their heritage, just like their coloring and playfulness. Alaskan Klee Kai dogs who have something with which to occupy themselves will be happier and have happier owners. Consider the following for mental and physical health exercises:
- Get Food Puzzle Toys—These are toys that have food or a treat inside, making the dog work to get the food out of the toy and be able to eat it.
- Hide the Food—Hide caches of food around the house or the yard for the dog to find. The dog will enjoy the hunt.
- Provide a Chew Toy—Remember, when the dog is chewing on a toy, it is not chewing on the furniture, the shoes, the house plants or the bedding.
- Offer Opportunities for Dog to Dog Socialization—Alaskan Klee Kai dogs are generally social animals. They like to play with other dogs, especially ones that they know well.
- Play Games with the Dog—Most dogs love to play games with their humans. Alaskan Klee Kai dogs are loving and playful with their owners. Tug-of-War, Fetch, Hide-And-Seek, and Chase are all examples of games that they might enjoy.
Other ideas include agility courses or competition and training. Small, active breeds such as the Alaskan Klee Kai usually enjoy and do exceptionally well at agility course competitions, and watching them perform is thrilling. Alaskan Klee Kai dogs will also most likely enjoy training as it works both the mind and the body and usually includes interaction with respectful, knowledgeable humans.
So is an Alaskan Klee Kai the Perfect Pet?
Most likely, the Alaskan Klee Kai is not the perfect pet for the person who just sees one and wants one. But, with some knowledge, perseverance, and willingness to accept the good qualities along with the more high-maintenance ones, an Alaskan Klee Kai could be the perfect addition to the family.