Breed Info

How Much Exercise Do Alaskan Klee Kai Need?

Skye the Alaskan Klee Kai (Photo: Life With Klee Kai)

Last Updated on July 3, 2023 by Kieran

So you’re thinking about getting an Alaskan Klee Kai but you’re unsure about the breed’s exercise requirements.

Well, as someone with two Alaskan Klee Kai dogs for the past six years, I can share my experiences on this topic.

I’ve spent a lot of time keeping Copper and Skye both physically and mentally stimulated on a day-to-day basis.

In this article, I’ll shed light on the exercise needs of Alaskan Klee Kai and what are some activities you can do with your AKK.

If you haven’t already, you can check out Alaskan Klee Kai pros and cons to get a better understanding of this unique breed.

With the introduction out of the way, I’m going to start by providing a brief history of the Alaskan Klee Kai breed before discussing their exercise.

What Is An Alaskan Klee Kai?

Skye the Alaskan Klee Kai (Photo: Life With Klee Kai)
Skye the Alaskan Klee Kai (Photo: Life With Klee Kai)

Alaskan Klee Kai are a small dog breed that were created by an American lady named Linda Spurlin in the 1980s.

Having adopted an undersized Husky dog called Curious, she decided to set about creating a companion-sized Husky-like dog breed.

Spurlin used the Alaskan Husky, Siberian Husky, the American Eskimo Dog and the Schipperke to create her initial batch of Klee Kai.

After some refinement, she had her breeding stock of Alaskan Klee Kai before she reluctantly decided to release them to the world in the late 1980s.

It’s important to note that these days, you can only get a purebred Alaskan Klee Kai by breeding two UKC-registered Alaskan Klee Kai dogs.

The United Kennel Club recognized the breed in the 1997, but the Klee Kai hasn’t been granted status by the American Kennel Club at the time of writing.

The Alaskan Klee Kai Association Of America is the governing body for the breed, setting out a breed standard for Alaskan Klee Kai breeders to adhere to.

There’s thought to be over 15,000 Alaskan Klee Kai worldwide as these so-called mini huskies continue to grow in popularity.

How Much Exercise Do Alaskan Klee Kai Need?

Skye the Alaskan Klee Kai (Photo: Life With Klee Kai)
Skye the Alaskan Klee Kai (Photo: Life With Klee Kai)

So you’re probably wondering how much exercise do Alaskan Klee Kai need if they’re related to the Alaskan Husky and the Siberian Husky.

These are two hard-working dogs accustomed to hauling heavy loads in sleds over long distances, relying on their impressive stamina.

Well, Spurlin created her Alaskan Klee Kai dogs to be companion pets so they’re not a working breed like the Alaskan Husky and the Siberian Husky.

While they may be companion dogs, they’re not lapdogs either. They’re an active breed who do need regular exercise and mental stimulation.

I find with Skye and Copper, I need to take them for at least two 30 minute walks every day to allow them to stretch their legs and have a sniff outside.

In my experience, Alaskan Klee Kai are extremely adaptable. Copper and Skye will happily hike for 60 to 120 minutes if I decide to go for an extended walk.

However, if I’m feeling tired or unwell, they’re also happy with a short 15 minute walk around the block to stretch their legs.

As a general rule of thumb, I’d suggest 60 minutes of exercise a day for your Alaskan Klee Kai to ensure they’re getting a good amount of daily exercise.

What Types Of Exercise Do Alaskan Klee Kai Like?

Skye the Alaskan Klee Kai (Photo: Life With Klee Kai)
Skye the Alaskan Klee Kai (Photo: Life With Klee Kai)

I think the one word that comes to mind when I think about Alaskan Klee Kai and exercise is versatility.

For example, Copper and Skye enjoy a daily walk around the block that isn’t strenuous or taxing. They get to stop and sniff some interesting smells, go potty and we head home.

But I find they love to go on hikes in the California hills and they’ve got relatively high endurance levels for being such small dogs. They’ll happily hike for 60 to 120 minutes.

Before I became a father and had more spare time, I’d regularly go for 5k, 10k or 15k runs with Copper and Skye using a running leash.

While Copper enjoyed it a little more than Skye, I found that they were more than happy to stride alongside me with the occasional break for water or a treat.

While I haven’t taken Copper and Skye to agility training, there’s plenty of examples of Alaskan Klee Kai on social media who enjoy taking on an obstacle course.

Do Alaskan Klee Kai Require A Lot Of Mental Stimulation?

Skye the Alaskan Klee Kai (Photo: Life With Klee Kai)
Skye the Alaskan Klee Kai (Photo: Life With Klee Kai)

On the days when it’s too hot outside or I’m feeling tired, I will set up scent work games for Copper and Skye. They really enjoy this form of mental stimulation, especially Copper.

You can use snuffle mats that you can find on Amazon or at your local pet store to get started. They’re relatively inexpensive as they usually cost less than $20.

There’s other puzzle boards or puzzle mats that you can purchase that allow you to hide treats in chambers to get your Klee Kai working their brain and their nose.

I usually just get some treats, put Copper and Skye in a different room or in their crate, and play a simple game of hide and seek with the treats.

They bound out of their crate or the spare room and use their nose to try and find all the little nooks where I’ve hidden treats. It’s a simple but effective way to tire them out!

You can do the same outside if you’ve got a secure garden or yard (they’re escape artists so I wouldn’t recommend doing this if you think they might wander off!).

Do Alaskan Klee Kai Require A Lot Of Training?

Copper the Alaskan Klee Kai (Photo: Life With Klee Kai)
Copper the Alaskan Klee Kai (Photo: Life With Klee Kai)

I think it’s a good idea to do as much training with your Alaskan Klee Kai from a young age. Frankly, I wish we dedicated more time to it when Copper and Skye were puppies.

They’re really smart dogs but they’ll often try to outsmart you or display a stubborn streak that can be difficult to deal with.

Skye is an independent thinker and stubborn so she’s proven a little trickier to train because she’s not food motivated. She tends to be obedient with sufficient repitition.

Copper loves his food so teaching him the initial tricks was easy but it doesn’t take much to distract him and his prey drive is off the charts. He’s less obedient off leash.

But there’s no doubt doing some training sessions with your Alaskan Klee Kai will tire them out so it’s a good way to give them their daily mental and physical exercise.

Do The AKKAOA Recommend Any Forms Of Exercise?

Skye the Alaskan Klee Kai (Photo: Life With Klee Kai)
Skye the Alaskan Klee Kai (Photo: Life With Klee Kai)

The Alaskan Klee Kai Association Of America give a full list of potential activities to do with your Klee Kai on their website. They write in this section:

“AKK are more than just cute faces. They are involved in all kinds of activities, including Conformation, Agility and Parkour, Obedience, Nosework, Therapy and Service Work,¬†Drag Racing and Lure Coursing,¬†Weight Pull, Dock Diving, Carting, Obedience, Freestyle and Tricks, and Loving companion.”


Skye the Alaskan Klee Kai (Photo: Life With Klee Kai)
Skye the Alaskan Klee Kai (Photo: Life With Klee Kai)

So there we have it. The Alaskan Klee Kai is an active, energetic breed with high intelligence levels so you’ll need to give them plenty of mental and physical stimulation.

In my day-to-day life with Copper and Skye, I try to make sure they get at least 60 minutes of exercise a day. This usually takes the form of a walk in the morning and evening.

However, I like to do scent work with them in my home or in my yard to keep their senses sharp and tire out their brains.

But as the AKKAOA highlighted in the section above, these versatile dogs can really take to any form of exercise without much trouble. They’re versatile dogs!

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