The Klee Kai was bred down from Siberian and Alaskan Huskies, along with the help of a Schipperke and American Eskimo to downsize without dwarfism. As such you will find the same characteristics as are found in the huskies. They are curious, tenacious, extremely strong for their size, crafty hunters and escape artists. The Klee Kai is a very energetic dog; however, not the typically "hyper" little dog. They are beautiful and proud.The name "Klee Kai" is derived from Eskimo words meaning "small dog". There are approximately 500 of these dogs in existence in the world. HistoryThere was an accidental mating in Wasilla Alaska in the mid 70's. Linda Spurlin, the developer of the Klee Kai breed saw this little dog that looked like a Husky and thought that this would be the perfect apartment sized dog. She set about perfecting the breed. She spent those first years without any return on her investment, loving these little creatures that she had created. She had rough times and years of work invested. She sold her first dog for the purpose of breeding in December 1988. Characteristics Coat and GroomingThe Klee Kai, like the Siberian Husky, is relatively easy to care for. They are extremely clean. Most don't like wet feet and will spend hours daily grooming themselves. They do not have a "doggy odor" nor do they have "dog breath." Most Klee Kai will seldom require a bath.As in Siberians and unlike short haired dogs who shed all year long, the Klee Kai also blows their coat twice a year, but do shed continuously in the mean time. I at one time used to own a lot of black clothes, which collect all of their fine hairs! Of course, the size of the dogs limit the amount of fur blown. It is best to groom the dog on a regular basis during this time. Some of the longer haired dogs can become matted if not groomed. Most Klee Kai will assist the loss of hair by rubbing against things such as fences.Other than this period of blowing coat, the Klee Kai is very self sufficient. The normal preventative measures should be taken, such as trimming of nails, normal grooming in the form of brushing. This process is especially important in the bonding process.A Klee Kai in your home means that you are never alone. They make you laugh even if you don't want to and can soothe a heart broken for whatever reason. They become a very integral part of the family that chooses to adopt one.This is a very intelligent dog. I have actually seen a male dog unweave a chain link fence to get to the female next to him. I have seen a female pull the fence in so the male could squeeze under the fence. They love to be with their people. If they are put in a climate that is unpleasant for them, they will find a way out of it.Unlike the Siberian Husky, the Klee Kai is stand offish and suspicious of strangers. They do make extremely good watch dogs. They will let you know when some one is around and seldom bark at nothing. I am sure that they would give their lives protecting their loved ones. Klee Kai do not like being treated like a toy. They want to be treated with respect. Since children will sometimes encroach on that wish, only children who know how to treat animals are their preferred companions. These dogs do tend to be a little dog aggressive if not socialized properly. By this I mean to convey that the Klee Kai can be nice to strange dogs as long as the stranger has good intentions. The Klee Kai are generally self assured around strange dogs but will return in kind any acts of aggression. The Klee Kai is uncomfortable when his master is not around. They would much rather travel with him/her and do so easily. The Klee Kai portrait would be incomplete without conveying his love and passionate affection for his master and family members.Klee Kai are hunters. If raised or introduced correctly, a Klee Kai can live with cats and in a household with birds. Of course it would be prudent for the owner not to leave birds running loose around the house, or to leave a Klee Kai unattended in a room with gerbils, hamsters, etc. Their hunting instinct is very keen and they have been known to make a meal of them. Once I had a gerbil running around in one of those clear balls, the Klee Kai was in the house and I was on the phone. I heard the dog banging the ball around but figured the gerbil was safe. Next thing I know, my granddaughter comes running in the house crying that Sitka is eating the gerbil. That was the last gerbil in our house. I have also had one of my climbers get on top of a bird cage which was hanging from a stand. She simply climbed upon the table then leaped to the top of the cage. I have had many Klee Kai placed in homes in which there were cats, I've even had a dam nurse abandoned kittens. There are some that just cannot be trusted. I will usually know those dogs before they leave my house.Barking, Talking, and HowlingAs stated above, the Klee Kai is not a habitual barker. They are talkers and sometimes remind their owners of living with a teenager. Klee Kais love to have the last word, even as they obey the command about which they are complaining. Klee Kai are packish as is the Siberian. Typically, you can find a kennel of Klee Kai singing together either early in the morning or at night when the coyotes are too close. They start and stop howling as if on cue. They also tend to be rather psychic. They know when feeding time is, even if this is not a scheduled event. They can sense when something is wrong even when they are removed from the household as in the kennels. Care and Training FeedingI have found that this breed does best on a food consisting of chicken and rice. They need a premium food. No cheap dog food for them. A good name brand is best. They require much fuel to provide energy for their antics. The Klee Kai is a social eater. When raised in kennels, they tend to eat best while being cared for but gain the bulk of their weight when in the home with their family. Generally speaking, it is best to feed puppies on a schedule to facilitate "potty training". Puppies should be feed at least three times a day. Adults may be fed once per day. Most people who own Klee Kai will self feed once the dog is housetrained. They do not "chow down" and tend to be social eaters. Because of this, they seldom put on excess weight. These dogs love fruits and vegetables such as peas, corn, peaches, bananas, stir fry and many other varieties.Living SituationKlee Kai are very much family dogs. They can stand the cold as is exhibited by the fact that they were developed in Alaska. Their typical housing there was a dog house filled with straw. However, they are happiest with their people. Doggie doors are great for these dogs. They like to be able to come in to check on their people occasionally. They are very good with small children and even babies. There have been reports of Klee Kai watching the baby in the house then going out to get the parent when the baby cried. There have been dams that nursed kittens. There have been dogs who lived when they should have been dead. They are an extremely sturdy little dog.Fences will not hold an unhappy Klee Kai. Most Klee Kai that have been returned by their families have come from a home which ended up in separation. They are extremely sensitive to disharmony and don't like it. They also will leave a home where they are kept in the yard without having visits to the house to be with their families. They are easily kennel or crate trained; however, don't lock them in a room. Walls and fences were made to go over, under or through. As with the the Siberian Husky, a fenced yard is necessary for an outside dog. The fence should be strong and 6 feet tall. There should be wire in the ground to inhibit digging out. Klee Kai like to dig dens; therefore, it would be a good idea to have an area that would allow this activity without destroying an entire yard. As with all dogs, a kennel area is desirable for a dog that has the habit of escaping. The kennel area should be made of chain link, over a concrete pad. The fence should be 6 feet tall and covered since Klee Kai are climbers. They will need a dog house but will spend most of their time sunning themselves on the roof top. They like to be "King of the Mountain" and therefore always choose the highest point available to perch. TrainingEven through these dogs were bred down from Siberians, they make very good obedience dogs. They want to please their owners. Combine that with being extremely smart and there is nothing that they cannot learn. You should start obedience early. Establish the rules and stick to them. Let your Klee Kai know that you are the boss. Don't let your dog do something as a puppy that you don't want him/her to do as an adult. If you give in even once, you have established that the rules were made to be broken. Once you have taught your dog to perform a certain behavior, expect him/her to do it all the time, so don't let him/her do anything that you don't want him/her to do because it will be very difficult to undo that training.Klee Kai are pack oriented; therefore, you must establish yourself as the pack leader. It is not necessary to do the alpha roll that is commonly referred to. You just have to inspire respect, not bully the dog into submission. That tactic can make a resentful, unpredictable dog. Treat your dog with respect and expect the same. If you train your puppy correctly he/she will follow you anywhere. In that vein, training classes not only teach the puppy to socialize and respond to you even with distractions, but it also teaches you and everyone else in the family the correct commands to use and how to get your pup to respond. Consistency is extremely important and training classes give the family a place to practice with someone who is available to reinforce the correct training techniques. The training period is also a bonding experience. You will find that your Klee Kai wants to be the best at everything.Agility for these dogs is a great challenge. All they have to do is watch another dog perform on the A-frame or the Bridge and they will follow without human direction. This is the type of training that is fun and productive. Both the owner and the dog have fun learning and following the rules. You will find that challenging your dog is the best way to keep him/her from getting bored and into trouble.The worst thing that you can do is spoil these precious little dogs. Many people get one of these dogs and treat them like their "baby". Dogs don't understand their role if it is supposed to be your baby. Its a dog and only knows how to be one. When put in this kind of position, your dog can become willful, aggressive and in general unpleasant to be around. General HealthThese dogs have been remarkably free of genetic defects. We only allow serious breeders to buy un-neutered dogs. All puppies are sold on spay/neuter contracts, co-ownerships or to approved serious breeders. I believe that this is the reason for the lack of flaws. We have had an occasional undershot jaw, cryptorchidism and in the past there have been dogs that had to have baby teeth pulled that didn't come out.Sometimes shyness can be a problem: both parents should be outgoing and friendly and show no traces of shyness or fear (not to be mistaken for aloofness).Careful attention must be paid to the patella. It is very easy to develop luxating patellas in the smaller dogs, therefore, extra care must be given to the possible tendencies in our breeding stock. You should check that any pup you are considering has had its parents screened for luxating patellas by a veterinarian.However, most breeders are very careful, and for this reason, a Klee Kai is remarkably problem free medically speaking.
Frequently Asked Questions
When the breed was just beginning we believe that a Schipperke and an American Husky were used to bring the size of the Siberian Husky down.
Yes, Klee Kai can have one or both blue eyes. They may also have an eye that is only part blue and the other part brown. In The Siberian this is called a "pinto eye", "parti eye", or "split eye." There is nothing wrong with the eye: the dog can see perfectly clearly. This is a common trait in the Siberian Husky and in the Klee Kai.
Klee Kai have a big dog bark. Occasionally we get a screamer or bugler as I call it. This tone is saved for an alarm. Klee Kai are very busy dogs, but not hyper. They are impish and creative. They will keep their owners on their toes. It was reported that one dog was able to get into a dishwasher where a treat had been hidden.
Since the breed was developed in Alaska, they are extremely hardy and tolerant to cold. In the snow they will alternate which paw is on the ground, thus minimizing the chances for frostbite. You will note that the Klee Kai is double coated. A gray and white Klee Kai will have a white undercoat. A black and white Klee Kai will have a white undercoat. The wolf gray and white Klee Kai will have a gray undercoat. A red and white Klee Kai will have a white undercoat. The undercoat is important for protection against cold and heat. The longer guard hairs protect the Klee Kai from moisture. Twice a year the Klee Kai will shed its undercoat over a two to three week period.
Klee Kai just like other dogs, need plenty of water and shade during the summer. A child's swimming pool is a great way for the dog to cool off. Keeping a dog in a car, crate or any other enclosure during the summer can cause heat exhaustion. Without air circulation, the dog's own body heat can be too much. As with any other dog, don't overheat the dog by encouraging excessive exercising during the heat of the day. Klee Kai like to eat ice, and especially appreciate it in the summer time. The Klee Kai will shed its coat prior to summer and does not need to be shaved. This is not necessary and is discouraged. Common sense should prevail, don't put your dog in a situation that you yourself could not tolerate.
Klee Kai love kids and do great with them as long as the child has been taught to respect the dog and not tease it. These dogs are small enough that an out of control child could cause serious damage. Most Klee Kai would give a child enough leeway that the child could cause serious damage before the dog could run. Good owners make good dogs. They do seem to have this sixth sense about the intentions of a child and will usually avoid a child with bad intentions.
Yes, even though they require a lot of exercise, they will accomplish this in a nice sized yard. If there is more than one dog, they will play chase. If not, they will chase birds or birds shadows, grasshoppers, snakes, or anything else that looks like it should be chased. They can also be kept in an apartment, they were bred to be apartment sized huskies, if the owner is sure to walk the dog at least three times a day.
Yes, they shed twice a year. They blow their coat each time and require plenty of brushing during this period. Of course when you are looking at a 10 to 20 pound dog, there isn't nearly as much hair as regular sized husky. I have allergies and these dogs don't aggravate them, so some people who are allergic to dogs may be able to tolerate these, probably because they are such clean dogs.
Many, not all, Klee Kai are aggressive toward other dogs unless they are well socialized as puppies. These dogs will tend to pick up the characteristics of an older dog if raised around one.
The average Klee Kai is between 10 and 20 pounds, and 12 and 15 inches.
Anyone who wants to treat their dog like their baby is asking for trouble. Anyone who can't stand hair should not have a Klee Kai. Anyone who can't stand doggy kisses certainly doesn't want a Klee Kai. Anyone who can't be consistent should not own a Klee Kai. Anyone who does not like to draw attention to themselves because everyone who sees a Klee Kai wants to know what it is, where they can get one and how much they cost nor anyone who just wants a status symbol.
You can find a brochure about this wonderful breed by clicking HERE
The breed standard is the recipe, if you will, for a perfect specimen of that breed. This standard is the vehicle used to judge all dogs of that breed. Every good breeder strives to come as close to perfect as possible.Breed Description:
Original Purpose: The Klee Kai was developed as a companion dog by Linda Spurlin.
ALASKAN KLEE KAI
Official U.K.C. Breed Standard
Revised September 1, 2002
The Alaskan Klee Kai was developed in Alaska by Linda Spurlin and her family, to be a companion-sized version of the Alaskan Husky. From the early 70's through 1988, the Spurlins carefully selected dogs who met their high standards for appearance and soundness. In 1988, they made the Alaskan Klee Kai available to others. Mrs. Spurlin originally called her new breed the "Klee Kai" but in 1995, it was changed to "Alaskan Klee Kai." The Alaskan Klee Kai is still extremely rare.
The Alaskan Klee Kai was recognized by the United Kennel Club January 1, 1997.
The Alaskan Klee Kai is a small version of the Alaskan Husky with a wedge-shaped head featuring a striking masked face, prick ears, and a double coat. The length of body is just slightly longer than the height. The tail is well-furred and curls over the back or to either side when the dog is alert or moving. The appearance of the Alaskan Klee Kai reflects the breed's Northern heritage.
The most distinctive characteristic of the Alaskan Klee Kai is the facial mask which must be clearly visible due to contrasting colors. The full face mask is the most desirable. The Alaskan Klee Kai is very curious, active, quick and agile. His loyalty and alertness make the Alaskan Klee Kai an excellent watchdog who may be territorial despite his small size. While affectionate with family members, the Alaskan Klee Kai is reserved and cautious with strangers and in unfamiliar situations.
The head is clean, free of wrinkles, proportionate to the size of the body, with a moderate stop. When viewed from the top or side, the skull and muzzle taper toward the nose to form a broad-based wedge shape.Faults: Narrow head; insufficient stop; stop too steep.
The skull is slightly rounded and somewhat broad, tapering gradually from the widest point to the eyes.
Faults: Skull too flat or too domed.
The length of the muzzle from stop to nose is equal to or slightly shorter than the length of the skull from occiput to stop. When viewed from the side or from above, the muzzle tapers slightly from where it joins the skull to the nose. The muzzle is well filled-in under the eyes. The lower jaw is strong but not protruding. Lips are tightly closed and black, except that liver-colored lips are acceptable in dogs whose coat colors are shades of red with white.
Faults: Loosely hanging lips; a shallow or receding lower jaw; a pinched or snipey muzzle; a too short or too long muzzle.
Teeth close in a scissors bite.
Faults: Level bite.
Disqualifications: Overshot or undershot bite, wry mouth.
A solid black nose is preferred, although the pink-streaked "snow nose" is acceptable. A liver-colored nose is acceptable in dogs whose coat colors are shades of red with white. In profile, the nose is on the same line as the top of the muzzle and extends just slightly beyond the lower jaw.
The eyes are of medium size and may be any color or combination of colors. Almond-shaped eyes are the most desirable, followed in order of preference by oval and round. The eyes are set obliquely. Eye rims are black except that liver eye rims are acceptable in dogs whose coat colors are shades of red with white.
Faults: Bulging eyes; eyes set too wide or too close together.
The ears are prick, strongly erect and pointed upward, well-furred, triangular in shape, and slightly large in proportion to the size of the head. The leather is thick from base to tip. The ears are set so that the inner edge of each ear is above the inner half of the eye below it. Ear tips are slightly rounded. The ears are extremely mobile and react sensitively to sounds.
Faults: Disqualification: Hanging or drop ears.
Ears set too low.
The neck is medium in length, arched and carried proudly erect when the dog is standing. When moving at a trot, the neck is extended so that the head is carried slightly forward.
Faults: Neck too short and thick; neck too long.
The shoulders are moderately laid back. The scapula and the upper arm form an angle of about 110 degrees. The shoulder blade and the upper arm are roughly equal in length. Viewed from the front, the forelegs are straight, parallel, and spaced moderately apart, with moderate to fine bone in proportion to the size of the dog. Pasterns are flexible and strong, moderately short, and slightly sloping. Elbows are neither close to the body nor out but are set on a plane parallel to the body.
Faults: Straight shoulders; weak pasterns; short upper arm.
In profile, the length of the body from the point of the shoulder to the rear of the buttocks is slightly longer than the height of the body from the withers to the ground. The withers are just slightly higher than the croup. The topline of the back is level from just behind the withers to the loin which is slightly arched. The croup is broad and very slightly sloping. The ribs are well sprung out from the spine, forming a strong back, then curving down and inward to form a body that would be nearly heart-shaped if viewed in cross-section. The loin is strong and short but narrower than the rib cage and with a slight tuck-up. The chest is moderately broad and let down to the elbows. When viewed from the side, the lowest point of the chest is immediately behind the foreleg. The forechest should extend in a shallow oval shape in front of the forelegs but the sternum should not be excessively pointed.
Faults: Chest too broad; barrel or flat ribs; slack or roached back.
Viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to each other and spaced moderately apart. The rear legs are moderately well angulated at stifle and hock joints. The rear pasterns are well let down and perpendicular to the ground when viewed from any angle.
Faults: Over angulation; hocks turned in or out; thin or weak thighs.
The feet are sized in proportion to the bone of the individual dog, oval in shape, and well-knuckled up. The pads are thickly cushioned and well furred between the toes and pads. Hair on the feet may be trimmed between the pads and around the outer edges of the feet. All dewclaws should be removed.
Faults: Splay feet; long feet; poorly cushioned pads.
The tail should be well furred and set on just below the level of the topline. The preferred tail carriage is a loose curl which falls to the center of the back or drapes to either side of the body. The tail may hang down when the dog is relaxed or in unfamiliar situations but forms a loose curl when the dog is alert or moving. Dark hairs at the tip of the tail are preferred.
Disqualification: Tail too short to curl over and touch the back.Tail stands away from the back or sides of the body when curled.
The coat is double and of sufficient length to give a well furred appearance reminiscent of the breed's Alaskan Husky heritage. The coat is never so long as to obscure the outline of the dog. The neck is well furnished with hair, which forms a protective ruff blending into the apron. The tail is well furred with longer hair at the base and underside of the tail. Longer-coated dogs may have some feathering on the rear of the front legs; the rear of the hindquarters, from the buttocks to the hock joint; underside of the body and tail; and the ears. The undercoat is soft, dense, and of sufficient length to support the outer coat. The guard hairs of the outer coat are straight and never harsh nor extremely soft. The absence of undercoat during the shedding season is normal. This breed is presented in a completely natural condition except that trimming of hair between the pads and around the feet to present a neater appearance is permissible.
Serious faults: Coat that is so long as to obscure the outline of the dog; trimming other than described above.
All coat colors acceptable provided that the facial mask is distinct and clearly visible and there is a contrasting lighter color on the dog's throat, chest, breeches, feet, legs and underside. The overall appearance is one of symmetry.
The most desirable mask consists of dark coloration on the skull which extends down the bridge of the muzzle and under the eyes, provided that the darker color under the eyes extends no more than halfway down the muzzle; light spots over the eyes; and a contrasting lighter color extending up the cheeks to a line between the outside corners of the eyes and the base of the ears, down the sides of the muzzle, under the jaw, and down the throat. The fur on the inside of the ears should also be of the same lighter contrasting color.
Any of the following markings are very desirable but it is not necessary that all be present: Light spots over the eyes; a light blaze centered in the middle of the skull and stop; a dark strip down the center of the muzzle which may or may not be evenly divided by a narrow light-colored strip; dark coloration under the eyes; and dark coloration at the tip of the tail. With the exception of the blaze and the light spots above the eyes, the more of the lighter contrasting color present on the upper part of the face, the less desirable is the mask, with the least acceptable being the Widow's Peak (where the entire face is of the lighter color with just a small dark area capping the top of the head and a point dropping into the center of the upper forehead).
Disqualifications: .Absence of distinct mask; solid coat color lacking distinct and contrasting markings; albinismAbsence of required lighter contrasting color described above; asymmetrical markings visible while the dog is standing; any distinct area of lighter contrasting color on the topline, known as a "cape"; a dark strip on the center of the muzzle that extends down the sides of the muzzle; distinct spots of lighter contrasting color anywhere other than the spots over the eyes, the blaze on the head, or the tip of the tail.
Height and Weight
It is intended that the Alaskan Klee Kai remain a small to medium-sized dog. Height is measured from the withers to the ground. An Alaskan Klee Kai should not appear heavy or too thin. Weight should be proportionate to height.
Toy Variety:Miniature Variety: Standard Variety: Serious fault: Disqualification: Over 17½ inches in height.
Over 17 inches up to and including 17½ inches
Over 15 inches up to and including 17 inches.
Over 13 inches and up to and including 15 inches.
Up to and including 13 inches.
The Alaskan Klee Kai should move with the smooth, effortless, agile gait of his Arctic forebears. When in the show ring, they should be gaited on a loose lead at a moderately fast trot, exhibiting good reach in the forequarters and good drive in the hindquarters. When viewed from front to rear while moving at a walk, the Alaskan Klee Kai does not single-track, but as the speed increases, the legs gradually angle inward until the pads are falling on a line directly under the longitudinal center of the body. As the pad marks converge, the forelegs and hind legs are carried straight forward, with neither elbows nor stifles turned in or out. While the dog is gaiting, the topline remains firm and appears level.
Faults: Short, prancing or choppy gait, lumbering or rolling gait; crossing or crabbing.
Judges must penalize dogs with any one of the following serious faults and withhold championship points from any dog possessing two or more of these faults. Breeders should take as strict or even stricter view of these serious faults in their breeding program.
Coat that is so long as to obscure the outline of the dog.; trimming other than as described in "Coat" paragraph.
Absence of required lighter contrasting color as described in "Color" paragraph; asymmetrical markings visible while the dog is standing; any distinct area of lighter contrasting color on the topline, known as a "cape"; a dark strip on the center of the muzzle that extends down the sides of the muzzle; distinct spots of lighter contrasting color anywhere other than the spots over the eyes, the blaze on the head, or the tip of the tail.
Height and Weight:
Over 17 inches up to and including 17½ inches
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness. Over or undershot bite. Wry mouth. Hanging or drop ears. Tail too short to curl over and touch the back. Absence of mask. Solid coat color lacking distinct and contrasting markings. Albinism. Over 17½ inches in height.
The most important breed characteristics in the Klee Kai are toy to oversize in size, making both great house and lap dogs, small bone well-balanced proportions, ease and freedom of movement, proper coat, pleasing head and ears, the appearance of laughing at times of play, curled fox-like tail, intelligent demeanor and good family disposition. Any appearance of excessive bone or weight, constricted or clumsy gait, or long, rough coat should be penalized. In both sexes the Klee Kai gives the appearance of being quick but not light and fragile as to suggest a sprint-racing animal. He is a hunter; birds, squirrels, mice, etc. and is smart enough to overcome any of his shortcomings such as size, speed, etc.
In addition to the faults already noted, obvious structural faults common to all breeds are as undesirable in the Klee Kai as in any other breed, even though they are not specifically mentioned herein.
Puppies are judged as closely to adult standards as possible. Unless the pup is a black and white it must be noted that Klee Kai puppies do not get their adult color until approximately six months of age. The density of the coat is not that of the adult for approximately one year. Occasionally the color under the eyes will show up at closer to one year old. The puppy's tail can change dramatically when the adult coat comes in. The mask; however, should be in place much earlier.