Last Updated on September 13, 2023 by Kieran
Alaskan Klee Kai are wonderful dogs that can make excellent pets.
But Alaskan Klee Kai, just like any dog irrespective of breed or mix, can have their pros and cons.
It’s also worth nothing that a pro for one Alaskan Klee Kai owner could be a con for another Klee Kai parent.
In this article, we’re going to discuss some of our pros and cons based upon our experience with Skye and Copper.
Yasmin and I collected our first Alaskan Klee Kai Skye in September 2017 before we added Copper to our pack in March 2018.
So we’ve had five years experience as Alaskan Klee Kai owners and we’ll share some of our insights.
Klee Kai Pros
The Alaskan Klee Kai breed was created by Linda Spurlin to be a companion-sized Husky-type dog. Alaskan Klee Kai will quickly become attached to their family members and usually one member of the family in particular.
As we often mention on our live videos on social media, Copper and Skye do have favourites. Skye has a lot of love for Dad but Mom has always been her clear favourite. She loves nothing more than curling up in between Mom’s legs on the sofa (usually under a blanker or a throw).
Copper is like Dad’s shadow. Alaskan Klee Kai can be skittish around new people but this can differ from Klee Kai to Klee Kai.
For example, Skye loves to receive attention from anyone, whether it’s family members, friends or strangers. Copper is more reserved and shy around people he doesn’t know. In fact, Copper can be shy with nearly everyone except Dad, Mom and Grandma.
We’re constantly surprised by the versatility of the Alaskan Klee Kai breed. This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise seeing as the original Klee Kai were created using Alaskan Husky, Siberian Husky, American Eskimo Dog and Schipperke.
Copper and Skye have live in sun-soaked California, wet and dreary London and the lush green of the Cotswolds. Our Alaskan Klee Kai have thrived in all three locations.
We’ve lived in a one-bed apartment, two-bed apartment, a cottage and a three-bed house. Copper and Skye have enjoyed all four homes, even in our London apartment when we didn’t have a garden.
Alaskan Klee Kai can make an excellent choice for an apartment dog because they’re a small dog breed.
Provided you give Alaskan Klee Kai sufficient daily exercise, keep them mentally stimulated and ensure they’re not left alone for too long, most Klee Kai will be fine in an apartment.
Continuing on from the the versatility theme, Alaskan Klee Kai can make great workout buddies just like their cousins – the Siberian Husky.
Of course, your Klee Kai will beed around 60 minutes of exercise a day that could take the shape of a walk around your local neighbhourhood.
Copper and Skye love going to a private dog park near our house where they get to roam off lead for almost an hour.
We love to go running with Copper and Skye, whether it’s a 5k, 10k or a 15k. Yes, 15k! They’ve really surprised us by their endurance levels.
Copper, in particular, loves to go running. Sometimes if it’s raining, we’ll play scent work games in the house or in the garden.
If you’ve been following our content on social media, you’ll know that Copper is a talker. He loves nothing more than a good chat with us.
Copper has been a big talker since a puppy – and he hasn’t been quiet since! Joking aside, Copper doesn’t spend all day barking and howling. But if you engage with Copper, he’ll talk back.
Skye isn’t as talkative as Copper and she doesn’t really engage vocally with Yasmin and I. However, she does talk with Copper if they’re playing or she may grumble at us if she wants something.
The Alaskan Klee Kai breed are conversation starters on walks. If you go into the city, you’ll find that you’ll get stopped and asked about your dog’s breed.
Our dogs will often be confused for a Siberian Husky or a Chihuahua x Alaskan Husky mix.
So if you’re thinking about getting an Alaskan Klee Kai, you’ll need to be somewhat extroverted or at least willing to talk and answer questions from strangers.
Beautiful But Intelligent
Alaskan Klee Kai have a striking appearance with regards to their coat color, eye color and small size.
Klee Kai can come in three different colors – black and white, gray and white and red and white. They can have blue eyes or brown eyes, bi-eyes (each eye is a different color) or parti-eye (two different colors in the same eye).
Copper and Skye have blue eyes, which was something we requested when making our reservation with our Alaskan Klee Kai breeder.
They’re toy-sized but you can also get Alaskan Klee Kai in standard and miniature – too.
Alaskan Klee Kai are highly intelligent so they’ll be quick to pick up basic training. Skye was potty-trained within a couple of weeks, while Copper required around a month to fully master where to go potty.
Copper is eager to please so he’s easier to train than Skye, especially as he’s food motivated too!
Klee Kai Cons
We didn’t really know anything about separation anxiety before we got Skye. However, we soon became familiar with this chronic canine condition.
Skye would cry, howl and whine when she was left at home alone. We made the cliched assumption that adding a second dog to our pack would give Skye some much-needed company when we weren’t home. But Copper’s separation anxiety was worse than Skye!
Whenever Copper and Skye noticed some tell-tell signs that we were about to leave the home, they’d become anxious and stressed. They love their crate so we’d leave them at in their crate and over time their separation anxiety reduced.
While they may whine for 5-10 minutes (we can see this via our pet camera), they’ll usually settle down and sleep for a couple of hours.
If we leave them more than 3-4 hours, Copper will resort to crying and howling.
If you’re in love with the Alaskan Klee Kai breed but you’re planning to leave your dog at home alone while you’re at work, you should probably think about signing up to doggie day care or even a different dog breed that doesn’t typically struggle with separation anxiety.
In our experience, Alaskan Klee Kai are smart dogs that can be quick to learn new commands and excel at general training.
If you’ve got a food-motivated Klee Kai like Copper, it makes things easier.
The one area of training that has proven a struggle is recall training. It’s an area that requires consistent work. Copper and Skye have decent recall but it could be a lot better.
We try to work on it every time we go to the dog park but we always keep our Alaskan Klee Kai on leash for safety.
There’s been occasions where Copper has spotted an animal or found an interesting smell and his recall training goes out the window.
High Prey Drive
Some Alaskan Klee Kai have quite a high prey drive and when combined with their patchy recall, it can be a stressful experience to allow your Alaskan Klee Kai off leash if you live in an urban area. They share this trait with the Alaskan Husky and the Siberian Husky.
Copper and Skye are both alert to small animals that could appear on our daily walks. Copper has an especially high prey drive. Whether it’s a cat, squirrel, rabbit, bird, field mouse or duck, Copper would love to chase animals if given the opportunity.
At our local dog park in a field in the British countryside, he’s caught a few field mouse and killed them.
As we mentioned at the start of this paragraph, we have made the decision to keep our Alaskan Klee Kai on a lead unless we’re in an enclosed dog park because we don’t trust their recall.
Skye has been a fussy eater since she turned 1. As a puppy, she would happily eat the kibble recommended by our breeder. But after her first birthday, we noticed Skye stopped eating her food.
We tried some different dog food brands but our fussy Alaskan Klee Kai wouldn’t eat kibble or wet food. While she might initially show interest in her dry food, her attitude would change after a couple of weeks.
We made the decision to go with a fresh dog food meals and we haven’t really looked back. Whenever we’ve temporarily switched to dry food (for sponsorship purposes), Skye would soon turn her nose up at her dry dog food.
We’ve received lots of messages on social media from other Alaskan Klee Kai owners who have a similar experience. So it seems to be a common theme within the breed.
Every Klee Kai is different and Copper is food motivated. We haven’t really experienced the same degree of fussiness with Copper, although there have been some food brands that even he won’t touch.
If you’re looking for a dog breed that doesn’t shed then Alaskan Klee Kai isn’t the right breed for you.
They’re moderate-to-high shedders. Copper and Skye shed throughout the year and they’ll blow out their undercoat at least twice a year.
You’ll need to brush your Klee Kai at least two-to-three times a week to get rid of dead or loose hair caught in their coat.
We recommend buying the Tangle Teezer because it’s our favourite brush and perhaps more importantly, Copper and Skye’s favourite brush to use during our grooming sessions.
You can buy it here if you’ve got a high shedding dog and you want to change brush. If you’d like to learn more about how much Alaskan Klee Kai shed, you can read our in-depth article on Alaskan Klee Kai shedding here.
Wrapping Up – Our Final Thoughts
Just like other dogs, whether we’re talking Alaskan Husky puppies or Siberian Husky puppies, Alaskan Klee Kai puppies will be a lot of work.
You should carefully research Alaskan Klee Kai Association of America’s website for further information on the dog breed to educate yourself as much as possible.
While the Alaskan Klee Kai has been recognised by the United Kennel Club since 1997, there’s still a lot of misinformation online about this dog breed.
This rare breed can make a great option for dog lovers but first time owners may find an Alaskan Klee Kai a little more challenging. It’s not to say they still can’t make great pets.
We’ve shared our Alaskan Klee Kai advantages and disadvantages based upon our experience – but remember every Klee Kai owner will have a different experience.
Yasmin and I believe the Alaskan Klee Kai makes a great choice for a dog, companion and family member. We haven’t regretted bringing home Copper and Skye.
For more information such as Alaskan Klee Kai cost, are Alaskan Klee Kai good dogs for you and further background the Alaskan Klee Kai breed, you can check out the Alaskan Klee Kai Association of America.