Last Updated on January 11, 2024 by Kieran Beckles
Are you interested in the Alaskan Klee Kai breed but you’re wondering whether these so-called mini huskies make good pets?
If you’ve been following our social media channels or a reader of our website, you’ll know that we’ve got two Alaskan Klee Kai dogs called Copper and Skye.
We’ve shared our lives with our Alaskan Klee Kai for the best part of seven years since we first picked up our female Klee Kai (Skye) in 2017.
You won’t be surprised to learn that we consider Alaskan Klee Kai to be great pets but there’s certainly some things to consider before you decide to start searching for Alaskan Klee Kai puppies.
In this article, we’re going to share our firsthand experiences with Copper and Skye in the context of whether Alaskan Klee Kai make good pets.
We’ll also share the perspective of some other Alaskan Klee Kai owners who are part of our community – too.
1: Great Companions
The Alaskan Klee Kai breed was started in the 1980s by an American lady called Linda Spurlin. She adopted an undersized Husky dog and the experience inspired Spurlin to create the Alaskan Klee Kai.
The Alaskan Husky is one of the founding dogs of the Klee Kai breed but Alaskan Huskies are large working dogs. While Spurlin speaks of her great admiration for Alaskan Huskies on the Alaskan Klee Kai Association Of America’s website, she wanted to create a companion-size breed.
While Linda Spurlin did use Alaskan Husky and Siberian Husky to create the Alaskan Klee Kai breed, she also used smaller breeds such as the American Eskimo Dog and the Schipperke to ensure her AKK looked more like mini huskies than an Alaskan Husky.
We’ve shared so much of our lives with Copper and Skye and we can certainly speak to the fact that they’re great companion dogs. They love being in our company, whether it’s sitting on our laps while we work at the desk or curling up next to us on the sofa.
The AKKAOA’s website suggests that some Klee Kai will become particularly bonded to family members – usually one family member in particular. If you’re familiar with Life With Klee Kai social media content, you’ll know that Skye is attached to me and Copper is attached to my husband.
2: Great Apartment Dogs
Recognised by the United Kennel Club in 1997, the Alaskan Klee Kai has surged in popularity over the past couple of decades. It’s little wonder considering the dog breed make excellent companion pets and come in a much more manageable size than an Alaskan Husky or a Siberian Husky.
If you’re a lover of husky breeds but you don’t have the space for a big dog like an Alaskan Husky and you’re looking for the ideal apartment dog, the Alaskan Klee Kai could be the perfect compromise. They’re a small dog that embody a lot of the traits of other husky breeds with the size issue.
The Alaskan Klee Kai is an active dog breed that will need plenty of exercise whether it’s going to the dog park or playing brain games inside your apartment. I must stress that most Alaskan Klee Kai will need ample exercise and stimulation despite making good apartment dogs.
Copper and Skye are high energy dogs who have lived in apartments in California, London and the Cotswolds over the past few years. We’ve always ensured to give them daily walks, provide mental stimulation and keep up with regular training to satisfy their needs despite apartment living.
We find Copper and Skye go between between energetic despite being smell pets than Alaskan Huskies and Siberian Huskies, before switching mode and becoming couch potatoes.
3: Excellent Watchdogs
The United Kennel Club state within the Alaskan Klee Kai breed standard that “loyalty and alertness make the Alaskan Klee Kai great watchdogs”. In our experience, this certainly rings true.
We had no idea Alaskan Klee Kai were such good watchdogs before we brought home Skye and Copper. Nothing gets past our Alaskan Klee Kai. I really mean nothing! We’ve heard from other dog owners with the same breed that their Alaskan Klee Kai are just the same.
Copper and Skye are ready to raise the alarm whenever there’s a visitor – family members or unfamiliar faces. Overall, we’d have no hesitation saying the Alaskan Klee Kai breed make good watchdogs. They’re too small to be guard dogs, though! So while they’ll bark, we’ve found our Alaskan Klee Kai to be a little bit skittish around unfamiliar people.
4: Healthy Breed
As a relatively new breed, the full extent of health issues affecting Alaskan Klee Kai are yet to be fully unveiled. As we mentioned above, the Alaskan Klee Kai only started in the 1980s. Having said that, Alaskan Klee Kai do appear to be a healthy dog breed.
Fortunately, our Alaskan Klee Kai Copper and Skye haven’t suffered from an underlying health problems unlike some dog breeds. Most of our trips to the vet have been the result of one-time freak accidents or securing the necessary travel documentation to go abroad.
Having said that, Alaskan Klee Kai do tend to be picky eaters so it’s worth feeding high quality dog food. We did end up going to the vet a lot because Skye was fussy with her food and would quickly go off traditional pet food like kibble or wet food. However, we haven’t had any more issues since switching to human grade dog food. We currently feed Copper and Skye a combination of We Feed Raw and Sundays.
If you visit the Alaskan Klee Kai Association Of America’s website, you can read up about health issues to be aware of such as factor vii deficiency, heart murmur and patellar luxation that have affected some Alaskan Klee Kai.
Of course, we should add that weight gain is something to keep in mind considering the obesity crisis amongst dogs in the UK and USA.
You should speak to your Alaskan Klee Kai breeder to make sure they’ve carried out all the health tests recommended by the Alaskan Klee Kai Association Of America on your puppy before you go home.
5: No Dog Odor
Perhaps one of the best kept secrets related to the Alaskan Klee Kai breed is their lack of dog smell. Unlike other dogs who smell, well, like dogs, the Alaskan Klee Kai are a fastidious breed. It’s just one of the many ways Alaskan Klee Kai remind us of cats.
Our Alaskan Klee Kai Copper and Skye keep themselves very clean, don’t have that typical doggie smell and hate getting dirty (for the most part). Skye won’t go for a walk if it’s raining because she doesn’t like to get wet or muddy.
We’ve had plenty of compliments about how our Alaskan Klee Kai don’t really smell like some family pets.
However, Alaskan Klee Kai do shed a lot, with a double coat that usually blows out at least once or twice a year. Their double coat is made up of a dense, thick inner coat and a coarse, longer outer coat. We find loose hair flying off Copper and Skye, while we have to vacuum every day to collect excess hair.
We recommend brushing their fluffy coat at least three or four times a week to remove excess hair. Clearly, Alaskan Klee Kai aren’t hypoallergenic.
6: Smart Dogs
Alaskan Klee Kai are smart dogs which probably shouldn’t be a surprise seeing as they’re ancestors are four relatively smart breeds – Alaskan Huskies, Siberian Huskies, Schipperkes and American Eskimo Dogs.
We found our Alaskan Klee Kai to be highly trainable through positive reinforcement. It takes a lot of patience and repetition, especially if you’ve got a dog like Skye who isn’t particularly food motivated and possesses a stubborn streak. To put it simply, she can be high strung (sometimes).
If you’re ready to get a mini husky, we’d recommend training your rare breed from a young age to lay down ground rules and create a bond with your Alaskan Klee Kai. Klee Kai, just like many breeds, will benefit from starting training early.
While we’ve trained our Alaskan Klee Kai to a good level, we still struggle with recall (especially where Copper is concerned). He’s got a really high prey drive like Siberian Huskies. This is something to keep in mind before you bring your Alaskan Klee Kai home.
7: Highly Adaptable
Alaskan Klee Kai, who are recognised by the American Rare Breed Association, are highly adaptable.
By that, I mean they’re able to adapt quickly to different situations. We’ve lived in apartments, houses and cottages. They’ve excelled in all these locations.
We’ve lived in the UK and the USA in vastly different climates and our Alaskan Klee Kai haven’t had any issues adjusting to hot weather in California, cold weather in the Cotswolds or mild weather in London.
They’ve also adapted to like with a toddler – which has taken some time but Copper and Skye are growing closer to our daughter every day that passes.
Having grown up with a family dog who struggled with changes to their environment and routine, I’d feel confident saying Alaskan Klee Kai are highly adaptable.
8: Versatile Athletes
Yes, you read correctly. We’d consider the Alaskan Klee Kai breed to be versatile athletes. Kieran used to regularly run with Copper and Skye despite being small dogs.
When we spent a couple of years in the Cotswolds, Copper and Skye would run 5k, 10k and sometimes even 15k on any given day.
Skye has great agility – her ability to jump over obstacles never ceases to amaze us. You can find other Alaskan Klee Kai who excel at dog agility competitions. Skye just sticks to miscellaneous household items.
Copper has a strong nose. He loves nothing more than to play scent work games where he has to find a hidden food, treat or object. Again, I’m sure there’s Alaskan Klee Kai who thrive in a more official setting.
They love having impromptu play sessions that quickly escalate into full-on play fighting.
What Other Alaskan Klee Kai Owners Have To Say
We asked current dog owners who have Alaskan Klee Kai where they believe this small dog breed is a great pet. Here are some of the answers we got from the dog owners in our group.
Sydni shared that her small dog matches the energy levels of her son, while showing a loving, loyal, protective and hyper side all at once.
Another dog owner called Becki echoed those sentiments by describing Klee Kai dogs as loving, cuddly, fun and loyal.
Anything Else To Consider?
We don’t have other pets or other dogs so we can’t share whether Alaskan Klee Kai make good pets if you’ve already got a dog in your home.
I’d recommend contacting your Alaskan Klee Kai breeder to get some advice on how to introduce Klee Kai to other dogs to ensure a smooth transition.
We’ve reached the end of our article looking at whether Alaskan Klee Kai are good pets.
For pet parents thinking of sharing their lives with these smaller pets, I’d say you’re making a great decision.
While they may be a little dog, Klee Kai have big personalities that’ll win you over.
As there are many scams, make sure your Klee Kai is following the breed standards. You can visit the AKKAOA’s website to find their list of Klee Kai breeders who have signed up to their code of ethics.
But overall, Alaskan Klee Kai make great pets provided you’re willing to put the work in when they’re a puppy and into adulthood when it comes to exercise, mental stimulation, training, grooming and giving them lots of attention.
On, and make sure to take lots of photos and videos of your Alaskan Klee Kai pup. They grow up fast!