Alaskan Klee Kai

Table of Contents

The Alaskan Klee Kai is a fascinating breed, often mistaken for its close relative, the Alaskan Husky, but is distinctively smaller in size. Originating in the 1970s in Alaska, the breed was developed by Linda Spurlin to be a companion-sized version of the Husky. These dogs come in three sizes: toy, miniature, and standard, but all versions maintain a compact build. With striking facial masks, a plush double coat in various colors, and expressive almond-shaped eyes that can be blue, green, brown, or even one of each, their appearance is captivating. Beyond their looks, Alaskan Klee Kais are known for their intelligence, agility, and energy. They can be reserved around strangers but are deeply loyal and affectionate with their families. Due to their high energy and sharp minds, they thrive with regular exercise and mental stimulation. Prospective owners should be prepared for a vocal dog, as the Klee Kai, much like its Husky counterpart, loves to howl and “talk”.

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:

12 to 15 years


Extr Small

Maintenance Level:


Shed Level


Best For

The Alaskan Klee Kai is best for:

  • Active Individuals or Families: Those who enjoy regular outdoor activities like jogging, hiking, or agility training will find an enthusiastic companion in the Klee Kai.

  • Owners Committed to Training: Their intelligence and eagerness make them responsive to training, especially when started young.

  • Regular Groomers: With a plush double coat, they require consistent grooming to avoid matting and to maintain coat health.

  • Apartment Dwellers with Active Lifestyles: While they’re small enough for apartment living, their energy means they still need regular exercise.

  • Owners Seeking a Close Bond: The Klee Kai is known for forming deep attachments to their primary caregivers, making them loyal companions.

  • Those Prepared for a Vocal Dog: Owners who don’t mind a bit of “talking”, howling, or barking will appreciate the Klee Kai’s vocal nature.

  • Families Without Frequent New Guests: Their reserved nature means they’re more comfortable in settings without constant unfamiliar faces.

In essence, the Alaskan Klee Kai is perfect for those who value an active, intelligent, and loyal companion and are ready to invest time in training, grooming, and bonding.

Alaskan Klee Kai Traits

Breed Characteristics

Here are the qualities you can expect when raising an Affenpinscher on a scale of 1 paw (low) to 5 paws (high). These attributes were rated by several pet experts, including a dog trainer, veterinarian and behaviorist. Remember that dogs are individuals, and not all dogs, even of the same breed, will fit the mold.


Exercise Needs
Health Issues
Barking Tendencies
Grooming Needs
Shedding Level
Training Needs
Good With Kids
Good With Cats
Good As A Service Dog
Good For Apartments & Small Homes
Biting Tendencies
Energy Level
Good With Other Dogs
Sensitive to Cold Weather
Sensitive to Warm Weather
Good For First Time Pet Parents

Breed Characteristics

Your Affenpinscher dog may be small in size (maybe you can relate), but they make up for it in confidence (again, relatable). With their bright eyes, smooshy faces, alert gaze and a wiry, bristling coat, these brachycephalic dogs may make “Star Wars” fans do a double-take, as these small pups really do resemble Ewoks. Their wiry coats range from black to beige, but they also come in ruddy browns and salt-and-pepper blends.

1. Ears
Their ears are medium-sized, triangular, and stand erect, giving them a perpetually alert expression.
2. Eyes
The Alaskan Klee Kai is often admired for its captivating almond-shaped eyes, which can range in colors from icy blue and deep brown to rare shades of green or amber, with some individuals even boasting a striking bi-eyed appearance.
3. Size

The Alaskan Klee Kai is compact and comes in three sizes:

  • Toy: Up to and including 13 inches.
  • Miniature: Over 13 inches and up to 15 inches.
  • Standard: Over 15 inches up to 17 inches.
4. Facial Features
Their faces are adorned with a signature Husky mask, adding depth and contrast to their facial appearance. Their almond-shaped eyes are particularly captivating, coming in shades of blue, green, brown, or even a combination, resulting in the sought-after bi-eyed look.
5. Coat
Their dense double coat can range from short to medium in length. This plush coat not only adds to their visual appeal but also protects them in colder temperatures.
6. Coat Color
Alaskan Klee Kais can be found in a variety of colors. The most common shades include black and white, gray and white, or red and white.
7. Tail
The tail of the Alaskan Klee Kai is plush and typically curves over the back or to the side when the dog is alert or in motion.
8. Legs and Paws

Their legs are proportionate to their body, with compact paws that often have a hint of feathering in the longer-coated individuals.

Alaskan Klee Kai Temperament

The Alaskan Klee Kai possesses a vibrant and spirited temperament. Characterized by their intelligence, alertness, and energy, they are loyal and deeply bonded to their families. While affectionate with their loved ones, they can exhibit a reserved or cautious nature around strangers. This breed is also known for its playful and sometimes mischievous behavior, often displaying puppy-like antics well into adulthood. Their high intelligence means they’re keen learners but can also exhibit a streak of independence. As with many intelligent breeds, they thrive on mental stimulation and consistent training. Their vocal nature, inherited from their Husky lineage, means they’re expressive and may howl, bark, or “talk” when communicating or alerting their owners. Overall, their multifaceted temperament makes them endearing companions for those who understand and appreciate their nuances.

How to Care for a Alaskan Klee Kai

Caring for an Alaskan Klee Kai goes beyond addressing just their physical needs. This spirited and intelligent breed requires a balanced combination of regular exercise, mental stimulation, and emotional bonding. Daily walks, interactive games, and agility training can keep them engaged, while their double coat demands consistent grooming, especially during shedding seasons.

It’s essential to feed them high-quality dog food tailored to their specific age and size, and regular veterinary check-ups are crucial to ensure their overall well-being. Given their keen intelligence, early training paired with socialization is pivotal, promoting positive behaviors and reducing reserved tendencies. Deeply loyal, Klee Kais thrive on affection and quality time with their families, making them not just pets, but integral family members.

The Alaskan Klee Kai’s dense double coat necessitates consistent grooming for both aesthetic appeal and health maintenance. Regular attention to their fur, nails, and teeth ensures this breed’s vibrant charm and well-being.

  1. Coat Maintenance:

    • Brushing: The Alaskan Klee Kai has a dense double coat that requires regular brushing. Using a slicker brush or a metal comb, brush your Klee Kai at least once a week to remove loose hairs and prevent matting. During shedding seasons, which can occur twice a year, you may need to brush them more frequently, even daily.
    • Bathing: Bathe your Klee Kai only when necessary, typically every 3 to 4 months or when they get particularly dirty. Overbathing can strip the coat of its natural oils. Always use a dog-appropriate shampoo and conditioner.
  2. Paw Care:

    • Nail Trimming: Their nails should be checked and trimmed regularly, usually every 3-4 weeks. Keeping their nails at an appropriate length prevents overgrowth, which can cause discomfort or lead to injuries.
    • Paw Pad Inspection: Regularly check the pads for any injuries, cracks, or foreign objects, especially after walks.
  3. Dental Care:

    • Brushing: Brush your Klee Kai’s teeth several times a week using a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste to prevent tartar buildup and gum disease.
    • Dental Chews and Toys: Providing dental chews or toys can also help in maintaining oral health.
  4. Ear Care:

    • Cleaning: Ears should be checked weekly for signs of dirt, redness, or infection. Clean them gently using a cotton ball dampened with a vet-approved ear cleaner.
    • Hair Plucking: Some Klee Kais might have hair growing in their ear canal. It’s essential to pluck these hairs out periodically to prevent ear infections.
  5. Eye Care:

    • Cleaning: Wipe away any discharge from your Klee Kai’s eyes using a soft, damp cloth. Be gentle and ensure you clean each eye with a different section of the cloth to avoid potential cross-contamination.
  6. Shedding Management:

    • The Alaskan Klee Kai will shed its undercoat twice a year, a process known as “blowing the coat.” During this time, they’ll need more frequent grooming sessions. A deshedding tool can be particularly beneficial during these periods.
  7. Professional Grooming:

    • While the Klee Kai’s grooming needs can generally be managed at home, some owners opt for occasional professional grooming sessions, especially during the shedding season or for tasks like nail trimming if they find it challenging.

In conclusion, while the Alaskan Klee Kai’s grooming requirements are moderate, consistency is key. Regular grooming not only ensures they look their best but also provides an opportunity to check for signs of health issues, ensuring they stay in optimal health.

Training an Alaskan Klee Kai requires a harmonious blend of patience, consistency, and understanding of their unique temperament. As intelligent and sometimes independent dogs, a focused approach ensures they become well-mannered and confident companions. Here’s a detailed guide to navigate their training journey:

  • Start Early: Begin training your Alaskan Klee Kai as a puppy. This early foundation creates a well-behaved and well-adjusted adult dog. Socialization during puppyhood is essential to help them grow confident and less wary of strangers and new environments.

  • Positive Reinforcement: Alaskan Klee Kais respond best to positive reinforcement methods. Use treats, praise, and toys as rewards for good behavior. Avoid harsh training methods, as they can be counterproductive and damage the bond between you and your pet.

  • Consistency is Key: Consistency in commands and responses is crucial. Ensure everyone in the household is on the same page regarding commands, rewards, and acceptable behaviors.

  • Addressing Vocalizations: Klee Kais are known for their vocal nature. While it’s challenging to entirely eliminate their “talking”, you can train them to reduce excessive barking using commands like “quiet” or “enough”.

  • Leash Training: Given their curious and active nature, leash training is vital. Start by getting them used to the collar or harness at home and then introduce short, controlled outdoor walks.

  • Recall Training: Teaching your Klee Kai to come when called is one of the most critical commands, especially if you plan to have off-leash time in secure areas.

  • Obedience Training: Basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” “down,” and “leave it” form the core of obedience training. These not only instill good manners but can also be crucial for their safety.

  • Avoid Small Pet Chasing: Their natural prey drive might compel them to chase smaller animals. Address this early with focused training and distractions.

  • Address Potential Separation Anxiety: Klee Kais can form deep bonds with their owners, leading to potential separation anxiety. Crate training, along with providing toys and activities when you’re away, can help mitigate this.

  • Join Training Classes: Consider enrolling in puppy kindergarten or basic obedience classes for structured learning and socialization opportunities.

  • Stay Patient and Persistent: Every dog learns at its own pace. Celebrate small victories in training, and remember that patience and persistence will yield the best results.

Proper nutrition plays a pivotal role in ensuring the overall well-being and longevity of an Alaskan Klee Kai. Being attentive to their dietary needs, from puppyhood through senior years, can profoundly impact their health, energy levels, and even temperament. Here’s a comprehensive guide on diet and nutrition for your Alaskan Klee Kai:

  • Balanced Diet: An Alaskan Klee Kai requires a well-balanced diet to support their active nature. High-quality protein, sourced from meats like chicken, turkey, lamb, or fish, should be the primary component of their diet.

  • Age-Appropriate Food: Different life stages have varying nutritional needs. Opt for dog food tailored to puppies, adults, or seniors accordingly.

  • Watch the Calories: Their active disposition notwithstanding, Klee Kais are prone to obesity due to their small stature. Follow feeding guidelines and adjust as per your dog’s activity level.

  • Limit Treats: While essential for training, treats should be given in moderation, comprising no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake.

  • Essential Fatty Acids: For optimal skin and coat health, include Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in their diet.

  • Hydration: Fresh water should always be readily available, especially post-exercise or during warmer days.

  • Special Dietary Considerations: Stay vigilant for signs of food sensitivities or allergies, and consult your vet for guidance if needed.

  • Avoid Harmful Foods: Keep your Klee Kai away from toxic foods such as chocolate, grapes, onions, and xylitol-sweetened products.

  • Supplements: While a balanced diet typically suffices, specific supplements can benefit some dogs. Always seek your vet’s advice before introducing any.

  • Regular Check-ins: Regularly monitor your dog’s weight and body condition, and consult your vet for any concerns related to diet.

In essence, a conscientious approach to your Alaskan Klee Kai’s diet will significantly contribute to their vitality and overall quality of life. Regular vet consultations and staying informed are key components of this endeavor.

The Alaskan Klee Kai, though small in stature, is an energetic and agile breed that requires regular exercise to maintain optimal health, mental well-being, and prevent behavioral issues. Here’s how to ensure your Klee Kai gets the right amount of physical activity:

  1. Daily Walks: At least one long walk or two shorter walks a day is essential for the breed. These walks not only provide physical exercise but also mental stimulation from exploring new scents and sights.

  2. Playtime: Alaskan Klee Kais are playful by nature. Engage in games like fetch, tug-of-war, or even hide and seek to keep them entertained and active.

  3. Agility Training: Their agility and intelligence make them great candidates for agility courses. This can be a fun way to both exercise and mentally challenge them.

  4. Interactive Toys: On days when outdoor activities might be limited due to weather, having interactive toys or puzzle feeders can keep them mentally stimulated and physically engaged.

  5. Socialization: Visiting dog parks or arranging playdates with other dogs can be a great way for them to exercise and also socialize. However, ensure the environment is safe and the dogs they interact with are friendly.

  6. Avoid Overexertion: While they are energetic, they’re also small, and it’s essential not to overexert them, especially in hot weather. Always watch for signs of fatigue or overheating.

  7. Indoor Activities: Simple indoor games like fetch or hide-and-find with their favorite toy can be a good exercise option, especially during inclement weather.

  8. Training Sessions: Incorporating short, daily training sessions can serve the dual purpose of mental stimulation and physical activity. Whether it’s teaching new tricks or reinforcing old ones, it helps in keeping them sharp.

  9. Safety First: Always ensure that when off-leash, they are in a secure area to prevent them from running away or encountering potential dangers.

  10. Regular Vet Check-ups: Regular vet consultations can help gauge if your Klee Kai is getting adequate exercise and is in good shape.

In conclusion, while the Alaskan Klee Kai is a spirited and lively breed, its exercise needs are moderate and can be easily met with a mix of outdoor walks, play sessions, and mental stimulation. Tailoring activities to their preference and ensuring they get a blend of both physical and mental challenges will keep your Klee Kai happy and healthy.

The Alaskan Klee Kai is a versatile breed, adaptable to various living situations, provided their core needs are met. When creating the perfect environment for this spirited little dog, several factors come into play:

  1. Safe and Secure Spaces: These dogs are agile and often curious. A secure yard or garden, free from potential escape routes, is ideal. If living in an apartment, ensure balconies are secure, and windows have screens.

  2. Room to Move: Though small, Klee Kais are active. They appreciate space to play and move around, whether it’s a backyard, living room, or nearby park.

  3. Moderate Climate: Alaskan Klee Kais have a double coat that serves them well in colder temperatures, reminiscent of their Alaskan heritage. However, they can overheat in high temperatures, so a moderate climate or access to air conditioning during hot periods is ideal.

  4. Quiet Surroundings: This breed can be somewhat sensitive to loud noises. A calm environment free from regular loud sounds, like fireworks or frequent traffic noise, will reduce stress.

  5. Social Opportunities: An environment where they have regular interaction with family members is crucial. They thrive on companionship and can develop anxiety if left alone for extended periods.

  6. Mental Stimulation: Areas or rooms where they have access to toys, especially interactive ones, can be beneficial. This ensures they remain mentally engaged, even when indoors.

  7. Training Zones: Spaces where you can conduct regular training sessions, whether inside the house or in a yard, are great. Consistent training areas can assist in reinforcing commands and behaviors.

  8. Socialization Areas: Being close to dog parks or pet-friendly zones can be a boon for socializing your Klee Kai with other dogs and humans.

  9. Safety from Predators: If you live in areas with potential predators, ensure your Klee Kai has a safe space to play without the risk of encounters with larger animals.

  10. Access to Veterinary and Pet Services: Being in proximity to a good veterinary clinic, pet grooming services, and pet supply stores can be highly convenient for any pet owner.

In essence, the ideal environment for an Alaskan Klee Kai is one that caters to its physical and emotional needs while ensuring safety. Whether in a city apartment or a countryside home, what’s most important is regular interaction, love, and a safe, stimulating space for them to thrive.

Alaskan Klee Kai Health

The Alaskan Klee Kai, a relatively new and carefully bred dog, generally boasts good health. However, like all breeds, they can be susceptible to certain health conditions. Being informed about potential health issues and ensuring regular vet check-ups can lead to early detection and effective management. Here’s a glimpse into the health profile of the Alaskan Klee Kai:

  • Juvenile Cataracts: This breed can develop cataracts at a young age. Regular eye check-ups can help in early diagnosis, and in some cases, surgery might be recommended.

  • Liver Shunt: A congenital condition, liver shunts can be diagnosed through blood tests. Symptoms can include stunted growth or behavioral abnormalities. Surgical intervention is often required.

  • Patellar Luxation: Common in many small breeds, this refers to the kneecap slipping out of its normal location. It can lead to arthritis if not treated.

  • Cardiac Issues: While not widespread, some Alaskan Klee Kais can have heart problems. Regular cardiac evaluations are advisable.

  • Factor VII Deficiency: A genetic disorder that affects the blood’s ability to clot. It’s essential to be aware of this if your dog ever needs surgery.

  • Thyroid Problems: Hypothyroidism, where the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormone, can be a concern and is usually treated with medication.

  • Dental Issues: Smaller breeds often face dental challenges. Regular dental check-ups, brushing, and a good diet can help in maintaining dental health.

  • Cryptorchidism: This condition involves the failure of one or both testicles to descend and might necessitate surgical intervention.

  • Allergies: Alaskan Klee Kais can be prone to skin allergies, resulting from environmental factors or food. Regular vet check-ups can help identify and manage allergies effectively.

  • Regular Vet Visits: Regular health check-ups, at least once a year, can help in early detection of potential health issues. Vaccinations, flea and tick preventatives, and regular deworming are also crucial for their well-being.

Hence the Alaskan Klee Kai is generally a healthy breed, being informed and proactive about potential health issues can ensure a long, healthy, and happy life for your pet. Regular veterinary care, a balanced diet, and a loving environment are the cornerstones of their overall well-being.

Preventive Measures

Ensuring the optimal health and longevity of an Alaskan Klee Kai goes beyond addressing health concerns as they arise; it’s about proactive care. Regular annual check-ups with a veterinarian are essential, serving as a foundation for early detection of potential ailments. Timely vaccinations guard against prevalent canine diseases, while vet-endorsed treatments for parasites like fleas, ticks, and worms are paramount.

Nutrition plays a vital role, with a premium-quality diet acting as a cornerstone for overall health. Coupled with consistent exercise, this helps in warding off obesity, a common precursor to numerous health issues. Proper grooming, encompassing dental care, ear checks, and nail trims, can stave off infections and other complications. Equally important are safe living environments, devoid of hazards, and the mental well-being ensured by early socialization and regular mental stimulation. Lastly, always exercise caution during hotter periods, as their double coat can make them more susceptible to overheating.

Alaskan Klee Kai Breed Comparison and Consideration

When considering the Alaskan Klee Kai, potential pet owners often compare them to other breeds to ensure they’re making an informed choice. Here’s a comparison of the Alaskan Klee Kai with a few similar breeds:

  1. Alaskan Klee Kai vs. Alaskan Malamute:

    • Size: The most evident difference is size. While Klee Kais are small to medium-sized dogs, Malamutes are considerably larger.
    • Purpose: Malamutes are sled dogs bred for strength, while Klee Kais are more of companion dogs.
    • Grooming: Both have double coats, but Malamutes shed more and require more grooming.
  2. Alaskan Klee Kai vs. Siberian Husky:

    • Appearance: At first glance, they appear similar, but Klee Kais are smaller and have more variations in coat colors.
    • Energy: Both breeds are energetic, but Huskies, being working dogs, might need more exercise.
    • Training: Huskies can be a tad more stubborn, requiring firm training.
  3. Alaskan Klee Kai vs. Shiba Inu:

    • Temperament: Shiba Inus are more independent and reserved, while Klee Kais are often more social and friendly.
    • Size: Both are relatively similar in size, though Shiba Inus can be slightly more robust.
    • Grooming: Shiba Inus have a shorter coat and might shed less than the Klee Kais.
  4. Alaskan Klee Kai vs. American Eskimo Dog:

    • Appearance: While both have fluffy coats and pointed ears, American Eskimo Dogs are white, whereas Klee Kais come in various colors.
    • Temperament: American Eskimo Dogs are known for being particularly good with children.
    • Training: Both breeds are intelligent, but American Eskimo Dogs might be slightly easier to train.

When considering adopting or buying an Alaskan Klee Kai, it’s essential to understand how they compare with similar breeds. This knowledge ensures that you choose a breed that aligns best with your living situation, lifestyle, and what you’re looking for in a canine companion.


Typically, they’re a small to medium-sized breed. Adults weigh between 10 to 20 pounds, with their height ranging from 13 to 17 inches.

Yes, like most double-coated breeds, they shed, especially during the shedding seasons of spring and fall.

They can be, but it’s essential to socialize them early. Their small size means it’s also crucial to teach children to handle them gently.

Alaskan Klee Kais are intelligent and eager to please, but like many breeds, they benefit from early, consistent training and socialization.

They can be vocal, especially when bored or alerted to strangers. Proper training can manage excessive barking.

A well-balanced, high-quality dog food suited to their age, weight, and activity level is recommended. Always consult with a veterinarian regarding any specific dietary concerns.

Top Takeaways

The Alaskan Klee Kai, often likened to a miniature husky due to its captivating appearance, is a small to medium-sized breed known for its loyalty and strong family bonds. Characterized by pointed ears, expressive eyes, and a diverse range of coat colors, this breed is as striking in looks as it is in personality.

Despite their modest size, they possess a reservoir of energy, necessitating regular exercise and mental engagement. Their double coat calls for routine grooming, especially during peak shedding seasons. While they generally enjoy robust health, it’s imperative for potential owners to be aware of certain genetic predispositions. Coupled with their intelligence and desire to please, a consistent training approach rooted in positive reinforcement works wonders, ensuring they’re both well-mannered and adaptable.

Top Alaskan Klee Kai Names

These are the top Alaskan Klee Kai names as chosen by Pawstray pet parents!

Female Names


Ginger Adam









Male Names











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