What is an Alaskan Klee Kai?
While living in Alaska, Linda Spurlin and her family developed the Alaskan Klee Kai to be a companion-sized version of the Alaskan Husky. The Alaskan husky, unlike the Siberian husky, is bred purely to pull sleds. Instead of being stocky like their Siberian cousins the Alaskan husky has a lighter, leaner build meaning that these dogs are truly built for the rigours of pulling sleds across Alaska.
From the early 70’s through to 1988, the Spurlin’s selected dogs that they felt would help bring down the size of the Alaskan Husky without the need to breed pups with dwarfism, nor the need to breed the smallest, weakest pup of a litter and that would help retain the northern look.
Despite the Klee Kai’s husky ancestry, this breed has always been intended to pull heartstrings and not sleds (though this does not mean they do not excel at weight pull but more on that later). Their small size and loyal, yet somewhat reserved personality when it comes to strangers, makes them a wonderful companion.
The first thing you will notice when you look at a Klee Kai is the distinctive facial mask which may be either red and white, black and white or grey and white matching the rest of the dog. The mask must be clearly visible and in contrast with the white on the face. Klee Kai can also come in solid white, however, this is not something that we at House Of Klee Kai will ever have in a litter as we DNA test so that we can avoid this as it is a disqualification meaning that a white dog cannot be shown or bred and will not receive UKC papers.
Klee Kai also have distinctive pricked ears and a beautiful well-furred tail which curls over the back and may drape to the left or right of the body when the dog is alert or moving.
The eyes of the Klee Kai can be blue, brown, amber, green (on red dogs), parti (where one eye will be multiple colours) or bi (meaning one eye will be one colour or combination of colours and the other will be a different colour or combination of colours).
The Klee Kai can be found in three acceptable sizes:
Toy – Upto and including 13″ at the withers
Miniature- Over 13″ and upto 15″ at the withers
Standard – Over 15″ and upto and including 17.5″ at the withers
Oversized – Over 17.5″ at the withers (Not acceptable as per the breed standard)
Weight has no bearing on the size category of a Klee Kai.
What is the temperament of a Klee Kai like? Are they just little huskies?
Klee Kai are very different to Siberian huskies in temperament. Huskies are known for being a very outgoing breed who do not know a stranger whereas Klee Kai are generally reserved with strangers and when in unfamiliar situations. Klee Kai do however make up for this with how much they adore their family and close friends. There is nothing quite like the bond between a Klee Kai and his/her favourite human, and yes, they do let you know quite clearly who their favourite is as they will drop whatever they are doing, even if they seem to be totally content cuddling another human, none of that will matter should their chosen one get home from work.
What registries is the Alaskan Klee Kai recognised by?
The Alaskan Klee Kai was recognised by the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA) in 1995 and then by the United Kennel Club (UKC) on January 1st, 1997.
You will find that all legitimate breeders register their dogs with the United Kennel Club and very seldom with ARBA though it is not a red flag if they are registered with ARBA, it is just less common.
The Alaskan Klee Kai CANNOT be registered with the Kennel Club (KC), American Kennel Club (AKC) the FCI or any other registries other than the UKC and ARBA at this time.
Can Klee Kai partake in dog sports?
Klee Kai are a smart, agile and quick both in the speed they run and how quickly they pick up new things given the right motivation. Due to these traits, Klee Kai have been known to excel at more or less anything they try be it Agility, Rally-O, Conformation, Weightpull, Scent work, Flat Race, Steeplechase, Lure Coursing, Barn Hunt, Flyball…You name it and there is probably at least one Klee Kai who is doing the sport in question and is titled in it.
Even if you are not interested in partaking in any sort of sport with your Klee Kai we always advise new owners to go to lessons with their dog to earn their Kennel Club Good Citizen awards in all the levels. It is ever so important to both socialise your dog but also have a solid foundation to build upon so that you can live a happy, stress-free life together.
A MASSIVE bonus to training is the more training you do together, the better you will understand one another and the stronger your bond will be!
How can I get my own Klee Kai?
Klee Kai are known for having small litters, the average being a mere two (2) puppies per litter. At House Of Klee Kai we will only do a breeding if we ourselves are looking to keep a pup from a specific pairing OR if another breeder that we work with are wanting one from their pair. This means that we do not breed to create pets, we breed to create a puppy that is even better then his or her parents and if we get that puppy in a litter s/he will NOT be available. Pets are a wonderful byproduct of what we do but they are not our aim.
Now that might sound like you will be waiting forever, but that is not the case. Nature is wonderfully imperfect and puppies are not factory-made robots. Pair this with our incredibly high standards for the dogs that we keep for our programme as showing and breeding prospects – that does mean we frequently have pet quality puppies that require amazing homes.
This could be something as simple as too wide ears, easty westy front legs etc – something as a pet owner you may not even notice, but for us, it is incredibly important to continue our breeding programme with dogs that fit the breed standard almost perfectly.
What should I be looking for in a breeder?
Whoever you choose to go with as a breeder the first thing you will want to know is if they health test their dogs and if so what health tests they carry out. An annual vet exam is not enough, what you need to ask to see and they need to be happy to show you are proof of a passed test for all of the following:
- Eye examination
- Cardiac Evaluation
- Autoimmune Thyroiditis
- Patellar Luxation
- Factor VII Deficiency DNA test
The above is the MINIMUM you will want proof of. The reason you want proof is to make sure that your breeder is not breeding from dogs that are unsound in any way. You will also want to see proof that the dogs they are breeding are UKC registered.
Then you will want to ask the breeder what sports they compete in with their dogs be that “just” conformation or if their dogs also excel in other areas. Please note that doing well at the village/town fun dog show does NOT count. At this moment in time House Of Klee Kai are the ONLY breeders in the UK who prove their dogs in UKC licensed events in the United States where they go up against Klee Kai from some of the best breeders in North America. . . And they do well having two (2) Best of Breed winners in our kennel!
You will want to ask your breeder of choice if you can meet their dogs, pups from past litters and their owners so you can see what exactly you are getting yourself into. House Of Klee Kai hold monthly gatherings for those who have been approved via our application process. This means that you get a chance to meet us, our dogs, past pups and owners of said pups. At these gatherings, you can ask any questions you like, get to know us and our extended family and see if you really do like these tiny snow dogs and if so what it is specifically you would like in a pup. This also gives us a chance to meet you, get to know you so that when we have a litter we will know which pup would be the right fit for you both personality and looks-wise.
The adventure starts by filling out our adoption application *Here*
We look forward to hearing from you!