Although they look very similar, the miniature husky and the Alaskan klee kai are classified as two different dog types. Even though they are both types of huskies, they are bred differently and have different temperaments. Both breeds are rare but gaining popularity as companion-sized huskies better suited to families with smaller homes.
How the Miniature Husky is Bred
Bree Normandin was the first to breed miniature huskies in the 1990s. She began by selectively breeding Siberian huskies to achieve an even cuter, more compact size. Standard huskies that were exceptionally small were mated to propagate their "little gene" and pass it on to their tiny pups. The American Kennel Club doesn't recognize the miniature husky as a separate breed from the Siberian husky, instead they are classified as a size variation.
How the Alaskan Klee Kai is Bred
The Alaskan klee kai (AKK) was first bred by Linda Spurlin in 1970. Her goal was to produce a companion-sized version of the Alaskan husky. Her breed is a mix of Alaskan husky, Siberian husky and American eskimo dog. The AKK is not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club as an official breed, but is instead considered a mixed breed. The AKK has been recognized by the American Rare Breed Association and the United Kennel Club as a stand-alone breed.
AKKs are energetic, intelligent, agile dogs. They are loyal to their families but can be wary of strangers and unfamiliar situations. Despite their small stature, AKKs can be excellent guard dogs willing to defend their turf. The AKK is prone to developing "small dog syndrome" -- overcompensating for its small size with loud barks and assertive posturing around bigger dogs.
The mini husky maintains many of the full-sized husky's personality traits. They are friendly with family as well as strangers. Just like the big guys, mini huskies are gentle, energetic and love to work and play hard. Mini huskies greatly enjoy the fact that they can come along for outings and spend time with their families more often than their full-sized counterparts.
Size & Appearance
Just by looking at them, there's not a whole lot to go on if you're trying to separate the AKKs from the mini huskies. But a few key characteristics set them apart.
The "mask" of the Alaskan Klee Kai is one of its most important features. Having a mask means the dog has bands of color around the eyes and running down the snout. Three varieties of AKK have been bred: toy (up to and including 13 inches tall), miniature (13 to 15 inches), and standard (15 to 17 inches tall). AKKs are bred to have many marking colors, including black, gray, red, and liver (a shade of light brown). The only color that's not considered desirable is all white.
The mini husky grows to about 35 pounds. Mini huskies in most every way resemble their full-sized cousins, which grow to be 45 to 60 pounds for the guys and 35 to 50 pounds for the ladies. They can have gray, black, or red coats, and sometimes an albino pup will pop up. They range in height from 14 to 17 inches tall, just like the AKK. They aren't differentiated into separate varieties, instead all very small huskies are placed in the group "miniature husky."
Madeline Masters works as a dog walker and professional writer. In the past she has worked as a fitness columnist, fundraising copywriter and news reporter. Masters won two Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Awards in 2009. She graduated from Elizabethtown College with a Bachelor of Arts in English.