A superficial similarity exists between the Klee Kai dog, formally known as the Alaskan Klee Kai, and the Siberian husky. In truth, the Alaskan Klee Kai was created with that superficial resemblance in mind: to fulfill the needs of the people who admired huskies but who lacked the space or energy to deal with a large, athletic dog. Regardless of how the two breeds resemble each other, many differences exist between them.
One significant difference between the Alaskan Klee Kai and the husky is the different dog registries’ willingness to recognize the breeds at all. The Alaskan Klee Kai is recognized by only one major registry in the United States, the United Kennel Club. The Alaskan Klee Kai is also recognized by the American Rare Breed Association. By contrast, the Siberian husky is recognized for registration as a purebred dog in both major American all-breed dog registries, as well as minor all-breed dog registries and pet dog registries. The Alaskan husky is not a recognized breed in the United States.
The AKK was bred to be a companion dog, rather than a working dog like the Siberian husky. Despite being included in the UKC’s Northern Breed Group, which also includes the Siberian husky, the Klee Kai dog was never intended to pull a sled. As a companion dog, the Alaskan Klee Kai is curious, alert and affectionate with his family members. At the same time, he is reserved with strangers and makes a good watchdog, says the UKC. Because the Siberian husky was required to work well in a team, the breed was expected to be of even temperament. The UKC standard describes the Siberian husky as being friendly, gentle and alert, with no hint of being possessive or overly suspicious of strangers. The UKC considers a tendency toward viciousness or shyness to be a disqualification in the Siberian husky.
The Alaskan Klee Kai is a small breed, consisting of three varieties: toy, miniature and standard. The toy variety of Alaskan Klee Kai must not stand over 13 inches at the highest point of the shoulder, called the withers. The miniature variety must not stand over 15 inches, and the standard variety much not stand over 17 inches. The Siberian husky is larger, a medium-size breed, with sex-related differences in height. Males should not measure below 21 inches and should not measure above 23.5 inches. Females should not measure below 20 inches and should not measure above 22 inches. Size notwithstanding, the Klee Kai dog should bear a resemblance to the Siberian husky.
Linda S. Spurlin, creator of the Alaskan Klee Kai breed, says she used the Alaskan husky as the foundational stock for the Klee Kai. Unlike the Siberian husky, the Alaskan husky is a mixed-breed. Many Alaskan huskies have characteristics similar to those of Siberian huskies such as small, upright ears, wolflike coloration and a tail that curls over the dog’s back. However, not all Alaskan huskies meet this description, because, as mixed breeds, they have never been bred to meet a standard of perfection the way purebred dogs have been. By contrast, ancestors of the Siberian husky were being bred to have certain characteristics as long as 3,000 years ago, in what is now the Soviet arctic.
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