Nature Mikey

Nature Mikey

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Breed of the Day: Alaskan Klee Kai

Country of Origin: United States
Group: Non-Sporting; Unrecognized by the AKC
Purpose: Companion
Average Life-Span: 10 to 13 years
Color: All colors permissible so long as the mask on the face is distinct and clearly visible with a contrasting lighter color on the throat, chest and underside.
Grooming: Heavy shedder; Brush frequently. Bathe only as needed, or ideally twice a year.
Height: Up to 17 inches at the withers
Weight: 10 to 25 pounds

    The Alaskan Klee Kai is an extremely rare breed of dog of the spitz type. The name Klee Kai is derived from Alaskan Athabaskan words meaning "Little Dog". The breed was developed to create a companion-sized version of the Husky, resulting in an energetic, intelligent apartment dog that still retains the regal appearance of its northern working heritage. The breed was developed in Wasilla, Alaska during the mid 1970s by Linda S. Spurlin after she observed the result of an accidental breeding of a Husky and a small dog of an unknown breed. The Alaskan Klee Kai was further developed by breeding huskies with Schipperke and American Eskimo Dog to bring down the size without having to create genetic dwarfism by inbreeding. As a result and relative to other new breeds, the Alaskan Klee Kai is remarkably free of genetic defects. However some health conditions linked to the breed include juvenile cataracts, liver disease, Factor VII deficiency, pyometra, luxating patellas, cryptorchid, cardiac issues including PDA and thyroid diseases including autoimmune thyroiditis. Going through a responsible breeder who has their sires and dams health tested and registered with the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) for cardiac, patellas and thyroid health. Alaskan Klee Kais are now accepted by CHIC (Canine Health Information Center) if they have passed their OFA and CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) eye exams.
    The Alaskan Klee Kai is a highly intelligent, active and curious breed. Unlike Huskies, which they closely resemble, Alaskan Klee Kais are typically stand-offish and cautious around unfamiliar individuals, which makes them excel as watch dogs despite their small stature. However, because of this they will need continual socialization throughout their lives. Also, unless they are properly introduced and raised with smaller pets (cats, birds, rabbits, etc), they have strong prey drives and my injure or kill them. Alaskan Klee Kais are distinctly intolerant of being mistreated (poked, pinched etc.) by children and may get nippy with them, unlike the Husky, which is considered to be great with children. Even so, they make great pets for families with responsible children. They have a high drive to please their owners and so excel at obedience classes as well as many other types of activities. Just because they can be kept in an apartment doesn't mean they don't still have all the energy of their working breed heritage. They will need lot of exercise to burn off all of that energy and prevent behavioral problems. Highly active Alaskan Klee Kais will greatly benefit from agility courses and competitions.

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