Complete Guide To The Alaskan Klee Kai: Care, Grooming, Feeding and More

If you want a dog that looks like a Husky but is small in stature and easily trained, the Alaskan Klee Kai may be a perfect choice for you. Weighing in at around 25 pounds, this lively little dog is ideal for people of all ages and families of all sizes. The Alaskan Klee Kai is growing quickly in popularity due to its compact size, amenable personality, and stunning appearance.  

As a veterinarian with over 20 years experience, the Alaskan Klee Kai is a breed that I’ve only seen for the past 4-5 years. They are engaging little dogs that have a great deal going for them. Let’s answer some basic questions.

How Big Do Alaskan Klee Kai Get? 

When it comes to the Alaskan Klee Kai, this small dog comes in multiple recognized sizes. Note that males and females tend to be of a similar size.

Height Under 13″ at the shoulder13″ – 15″15″ – 17.5″
Weight (lbs)6-1010-1816-25

What Does The Coat Of An Alaskan Klee Kai Look Like?

The markings on this dog are incredibly distinct, and often people mistake this dog for being a miniature Husky. The dog will feature symmetrical face marks and body patterns. Usually, the dog is primarily white, with a gray or black mask and saddle. The only solid color that is acceptable by the American Kennel Club is solid white.

The coat is short and thick and made up of two layers. The top layer is thick and dense and consists of guard hairs. This layer helps to keep the dog protected from weather and changing temperatures. The undercoat is made of soft, downy fur, which further insulates this dog and protects it from the sun.  

What Is The Personality Of An Alaskan Klee Kai?

This little dog may look like a miniature Husky but has a very different personality, firmly staking its claim as a unique and endearing breed. This dog breed will be affectionate toward its owner but will be naturally wary of strangers. This personality trait is why early training and socialization with this breed is necessary to keep him well-mannered around strangers.  

The Alaskan Klee Kai is also highly intelligent and trainable. Unlike the Husky, this dog will quickly pick up new behaviors and tricks if it means pleasing his owner. Unlike the Husky, which can be a bit aloof toward people, the Alaskan Klee Kai is happy to be right at his owner’s side, learning new tricks and spending time together. This breed of dog also makes a good watchdog, despite its tiny stature.  

Although this dog is fairly active and has a high amount of energy, it can be well-suited to owners with a small yard or those who live in an apartment. With the right amount of exercise and training, this little dog can be quite content with a simple walk daily and enough mental stimulation through new training, puzzles, or adventures to help keep his busy mind occupied. The Alaskan Klee Kai prefers being with his owner and does not like to be left alone for long periods. If you are regularly working long hours or are traveling for work often, this is not the right dog breed for you.  

How Long Do Alaskan Klee Kai Live?

13-16 years based on information provided by the American Kennel Club. Life expectancy is affected by various issues such as body condition (are they chronically obese), genetics, and how well the pet owner takes care of their dog.

What Health Concerns Do Alaskan Klee Kai Have?

Right now the breed is fairly healthy and that has a lot to do with its relatively few numbers as compared to many other breeds. As they are around longer and have more “backyard breeders” producing this dog, it will likely develop diseases that we don’t see in them now.

Based on my recent history with the breed and the advice of the National Club, the most common conditions that can be seen in this breed include:

  • Luxating Patella
  • Heart Murmurs
  • Dental Disease
  • Factor VII Deficiency

I have a more in-depth guide about these health conditions in this article about the health issues of Alaskan Klee Kai dogs.

What Kind Of Dog Food Is Best For Alaskan Klee Kai?

Alaskan Klee Kai require no special dietary considerations other than they tend to lean towards obesity as they get older (at least the dogs in my practice have). Some Klee Kai may tend towards being underweight if they aren’t big eaters.

Before we start with the food lists, just know that grain-free dog foods are a myth. There’s zero science showing that they are helpful. In fact, there’s increasing evidence that it’s causing issues in certain breeds of dogs (so far not Alaskan Klee Kai). Food allergies are the only reason to even consider a grain-free diet but only choose one with the help of your veterinarian.

Basic dog foods that I recommend include:

Over the Counter Weight Management Diets:

What Are The Grooming Needs Of An Alaskan Klee Kai?

Although this is a small dog, it can be quite the shedder. The thick, double-layer coat will go through a heavy shedding season, twice per year, when they “blow” their coat. During this time, frequent brushing and even blowing the dog with a hairdryer can eliminate the dead fur. Under normal circumstances, a simple weekly brushing is enough to keep most of the shedding under control. The coat should never be cut or trimmed, except for around the paws to help keep them free and clear of dirt. Trimming your Alaskan Klee Kai’s fur can be a strict penalty in the show ring.

The Alaskan Klee Kai will need minimal bathing and will only need to be bathed when the dog is dirty. The thick, coarse fur and the coat’s double-layer nature can act as a dirt repellent, naturally keeping the fur clean. Bathing this dog too often can strip the fur of natural oils needed to keep the coat shiny and healthy. Unlike other dogs, the Alaskan Klee Kai does not have a “dog odor” and is often compared to a cat with his meticulous and almost compulsive self-grooming.  

Like other dogs, be sure to monitor the teeth and ears to keep them clean and dirt-free. The nails should be kept short and trimmed monthly if they are not naturally ground down from walking and exercising on hard surfaces.  

How Much Exercise Do Alaskan Klee Kai Need?

While the Alaskan Klee Kai may be a small dog, don’t expect to have a permanent lap dog that is low energy. This dog has a medium to high energy level and requires regular exercise to stay happy and healthy. Luckily, this dog is fit and athletic and naturally curious and adventurous.

These characteristics mean the little dog will be up for just about any adventure, including hiking, swimming, boating, climbing, and even riding along on your paddleboard. Including your dog in your everyday activities will help keep your dog well exercised and help keep him happy and healthy. If well exercised with a long walk or a fun game of fetch, the Alaskan Klee Kai is glad to sit on your lap and enjoy the evening watching your favorite show with you.  

Aside from regular physical exercise, the Alaskan Klee Kai will benefit from mental exercise and stimulation. This dog loves learning and enjoys being mentally challenged. Enrolling your Alaskan Klee Kai in dog competitions is a great way to allow him to think about his actions and surroundings. This little dog works incredibly well at racing competitions, agility, rally, weight pulling, dock diving, carting, and scent work. Although the Alaskan Klee Kai is small, he sure is mighty.

Where Can I Find the Alaskan Klee Kai?

Like other popular dog breeds in the United States, the Alaskan Klee Kai can be readily found from reputable breeders. Before adopting any dog from a breeder, be sure to vet the source. You want to find a breeder with a good reputation and one that is willing to answer any questions you may have. Be sure that the Alaskan Klee Kai comes with a certified bill of health, ensuring he has passed his orthopedic certifications and tests. Although an extremely healthy and hardy breed of dog, this dog can suffer from luxating patellas, which can be painful for small dogs.  

If going to a breeder isn’t the right path for you, owners are happy to learn there are plenty of options for those who want to adopt a rescue Alaskan Klee Kai.  The Alaskan Klee Kai National Rescue is a great resource that relocates these adorable little dogs whose owners have surrendered them. Adopting a rescue dog not only allows you to find the dog of your choice but helps a dog in need of a loving and accepting home.  

Where To Find More Information About Alaskan Klee Kai

American Kennel Club – Alaskan Klee Kai

Alaskan Klee Kai Club Of America

Special Considerations

The Alaskan Klee Kai has many character traits that make it a good dog for therapy work. Due to its high energy and high intelligence, this little dog can efficiently work as a service dog, therapy dog, emotional support dog, or help detect drops in gluten levels, helping people with diabetes.  

This little dog has a vast vocabulary and a range of fun and unique vocal sounds. Although the breed is not known to be an excessive barker, they will “talk back” to their owners and tend to howl.

Their high intelligence and their innate curiosity can often get them into trouble. This little dog has been known to be quite the escape artist and can regularly escape even the most durable and tight fences.  

Did you see New England Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick’s dog, Nike during the 2020 NFL Draft? He’s also an Alaskan Klee Kai.

If you adopt an Alaskan Klee Kai, be sure you are ready for a long-term commitment. This dog has an exceptionally long lifespan and will often live to be 15 to 20 years old or more.  

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