The last time we wrote about the Alaskan Klee-Kai, the breed wasn’t eligible for an AKC conformation ring, but with its acceptance into the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Services in October of 2020, it is closer than it’s ever been.
A companion-sized version of the Alaskan Husky, the Alaskan Klee Kai (whose name is an Eskimo term for ‘little dog”) was developed in the early 1970s in Wasilla, Alaska by Linda Spurlin and her family. From the early 70s through 1988, the Spurlins carefully selected smaller, sound dogs from well-bred husky dogs (and by some accounts, the breed was developed also using Siberian Huskies, Schipperkes, and American Eskimo Dogs to bring down the size without dwarfism). In 1988, the breed was made available to others, and at that time, it was called the “Klee Kai” (pronounced KLEE-ki), but changed to Alaskan Klee Kai in 1995 to denote its place of origin.
That is the long version.
The short “backstory” version is that Spurlin was inspired to create the breed after seeing what looked like a miniature husky while visiting family in Oklahoma. The dog was actually the offspring of an “oops” mating between a small dog and an Alaskan Husky, but Spurlin was smitten – and determined to create a new breed in a positive way.
After fifty years, the Alaskan Klee Kai has evolved into a strong breed with strong breed characteristics. This is a highly entertaining, high energy dog that should never be trusted off leash, and more than one source describes it as a breed that can be a handful compared to some other dogs its size. Still, the Klee Kai is a lovely, loyal breed that bonds closely with his or her owners.
The Alaskan Klee Kai was officially recognized by the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA) in 1995, by the United Kennel Club in 1997, and again, was inducted into the AKC as an FSS breed in 2020 where it continues to develop while being provided reliable record maintenance. We don’t know how robust breed numbers are, but one sources has described it as a rare breed with approximately 700 dogs world wide.
We encourage you to read the Alaskan Klee Kai’s history written for AKC FSS consideration by Linda S. Spurlin, herself here.
*The subject title has been borrowed from the AKC which wrote about the breed in 2018 and that you can see here.