Monday, November 28, 2011

Unusual Breed: Alaskan Klee Kai

This breed is basically a small husky

The Alaskan Klee Kai (or AKK) is a more recently created breed of dog. It began in the 1970s with a single bitch who had been the product of a breeding between an Alaskan husky and a small dog of some sort. She looked like a husky in perfect miniature, and everyone thought it was adorable, so the owner, Linda S. Spurlin decided to create a new breed replicating the first. After some rather harsh selective breeding based on the mantra of "breed the best, cull the rest," the Klee Kai was born. 

Size comparison to a Siberian husky
Alaskan Klee Kais come in three size varieties, several coat types, and multiple colors. They also have the same high incidence of blue eyes that is seen in huskies. The standard is really quite strict, and that probably ties into the harsh breeding practices used in the breed's creation. For example, a long coat is a disqualification, as is the color white, asymetrical markings, and having an uncurled tail. The absence of a mask is also a disqualification, which is ironic because the acceptable dogs have light faces and the usual mask produces a dark face (which is the "unacceptable lack of mask" in the AKK). The breed is still not a very common one, though its popularity has been spreading since it was made available to the public in 1988. The biggest registry that accepts it is currently the United Kennel Club.  

Health-wise, the AKK is prone to a wide variety of ailments including patellar luxation, hypothyroidism, liver issues, heart murmurs, cleft palate, an open fontanel (i.e. soft spot on the head), and retained baby teeth, among many other things.  

Sources are Linda S. Spurlin, the Alaskan Klee Kai Association of America, United Kennel Club, and a breeder. Images are from Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license or are copyright free: one, two.

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