Following are some of the basic questions that people usually ask when they want more information about the Alaskan Klee Kai. Please understand that the following questions are as they were asked, and the answers are as I gave them. Very spontaneous and therefore are not carefully composed documents. If you do not find the answers to your own question here, please feel free to contact me by e-mail, AFTER you have studied this entire web site and completed my questionnaire and returned it for my review. I appreciate your attention to the Web Site, as I talk to so very many people about these dogs that I must conserve as much time as possible, and many of the questions you would be asking me have probably already been asked by someone else and answered in detail. The answers to the questions are my own opinions and you may get different answers to the same questions from other breeder/owners. I encourage you to interview various different Breeders and Owners before you make your decision as to where you wish to go for information and possibly for an Alaskan Klee Kai of your own.
I have been associated with the Alaskan Klee Kai since before they were made available to the public, and all the information you find here is from my own personal experiences with the dogs, as well as from what other owners have reported to me. It is my hope that you will better understand the Breed as a whole after carefully reading and understanding this section of my Web Site, but do keep in mind that every dog is an individual and not a duplicate of any other animal. .
Q. How big do these dogs get?
A. Check out the Link to UKC BREED STANDARD and you will find the heights for the three varieties. This is a rather new breed, and we do still have some "throw-backs" that will go oversized, and those dogs are not allowed in the Breeding Pool nor in the Show Ring. Weights are not addressed in the Breed Standards, as an animal’s weight can fluctuate. Toys usually weigh up to ABOUT 10 pounds. Miniatures are usually from about 10 to 15 pounds, and Standard sizes usually are from about 15 to 22 pounds.
Q. What sizes do you have?
A. I have all three sizes. Since I brought the breed into the Continental United States and got other breeders started with them, I have always felt it was a duty for me to have all sizes and types so that any visitor would be able to get a good idea of what they should really look for in an Alaskan Klee Kai, also I feel it is my responsibility to have all sizes available if service is needed for those that I had placed in other Breeders’ Care.
Q. Do you have any puppies available now or soon?
A. I may or may not have puppies at this time, but the people on my waiting list are eligible to make their choices before new depositors would be able to choose. Obtaining an Alaskan Klee Kai is different from most other breeds as they are so rare and most of the breeders are so loyal and dedicated to following the Rules that have been established by Linda S. Spurlin, Breed Developer, and accepted by the Alaskan Klee Kai Association of America. One of the Rules is that every adult dog will be examined and deemed to carry none of the disqualifications that are listed in the Breed Standards, and thus can be declared Breeding Quality. The Breeders who have faithfully followed this requirement have helped maintain the quality of the breed, which has resulted in the breed remaining quite rare.
The first thing you should do is carefully read the information I have made available to you and determine if this breed is really for you or not, and if you think you can personally live under the Rules and Regulations of the Alaskan Klee Kai Kennelette, which were adopted from the Alaskan Klee Kai Association of America. The AKKAOA is the Association which was established to be the parent club of the breed and assist in the formation of any new local clubs that wish to become established. The AKKAOA is the organization which has tried to protect this breed since its origination.
You should also determine if you can live under the Rules of the United Kennel Club which holds the Registry for the Alaskan Klee Kai. Hopefully the information you find here will help you make that decision.
Q. How was this breed developed?
A. I invite you to go to Linda Spurlin's web site. She and her family developed the breed and she has her story posted for your convenience. When I became aware of this breed, Linda had already dedicated about fifteen years of her life to it. I am very proud of what she accomplished. I could never have done what she did, but I am also proud of the fact that I have helped by maintaining the Book of Records on the Breed and have been very instrumental in getting the breed recognized by the American Rare Breed Association, the Federation of International Canines and the United Kennel Club. This work has taken up most of my time since 1987, but when I receive an exciting letter from a new owner, it makes it all worth while. Linda's web address is as follows ---- http://www.alaskankleekai.com/spurlin/index.html or you can find her under ALASKAN KLEE KAI LINKS on my first page.
Q. Will an Alaskan Klee Kai get along with another dog or a cat?
A. Usually when that question is asked it is because you already have a dog or cat in residence. In my opinion, you should be asking "will my dog or cat accept another animal into his territory". I have been placing the AKK into homes for more than fifteen years, and have had one returned because it did not get along with the eight year old boy in the household. Also, there was one pup returned because the German Shepherd Dog that lived there kept looking at the pup and licking its lips, and the owner was afraid the pup would end up being lunch for the other dog. One family decided the pup that they received after a very very long airplane flight, and would not come out of its kennel, was not the personality that they wanted, and they returned it right away. Also there was a parrot that was killed because the owners left their young AKK in a closed room for many hours and with the parrot flying free. Generally speaking, with most breeds, a young puppy will not object to another occupant, either human or animal. Now if you were considering getting an older AKK which is looking for a home, that would be a different situation and would depend upon the individual dog and how it had been trained with the previous owners.
Q. How will an Alaskan Klee Kai do with my children?
A. That depends a lot on the children. If your children are hyper the AKK is apt to be hyper too. If your children are of a calm nature, your AKK will probably be the same. If the children torment and mistreat your AKK, it will learn to torment and mistreat the children. Dogs are not born trained, and it is your responsibility to be consistent in your instruction and make them into good companions, as well as teaching your children and all the visiting children the proper way to treat and respect an animal.
Q. Where are you located, and is it possible to come and visit so we can see the dogs in person.
A. I am located in Peyton , Colorado -- which is about 35 miles East of Colorado Springs. Yes, we welcome people to come and visit, however ONLY by appointment. This is our home, so we do require knowing when someone is going to arrive. I can send directions if you wish. You should also know that regardless of the appointment, if you do not arrive within one hour after your appointed time, and have not called, then we feel free to leave if we wish to.
Q. Can you advise me of other breeders that may be closer to me. How about owners that live in my area that would let me come and see their dogs. I have never seen one of these Alaskan Klee Kai in person.
A. I have a list of owners at one of my other web sites. Please send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and request additional information. The information I send includes the URL where you can locate lists of owners and breeders.
Q. On your web site, you mention that these dogs like to talk. Does it sound like a bark, or like a whine.
A. Every dog is different --- but their "talking" is more like they are actually trying to say something. Not a bark and not a whine -- more like "Hey, Mom!!! You left me alone all day and the telephone rang, and I didn't know what to say." During this "conversation" you might as well sit on the floor with your excited AKK and have about three minutes interchange with him, and then he will calm down, however, if you don't take that time, then the dog is apt to continue talking - and it may become shouting to get your attention. He needs to know that you are just as happy to be home with him as he is to have you there.
Q. What is the personality of the Alaskan Klee Kai?
A. I believe that every dog is an individual, just as every person is an individual. The one thing that runs in the breed is a strong tendency to be very cautious with strangers. It is critical that you take your dog every where you are allowed to, and expose it to all kinds of circumstances so that it will become a well rounded personality. Obedience classes are wonderful --- I don't care if you have personally trained three dozen dogs, the AKK will benefit greatly if you take it to public Obedience classes so that it can see that other dogs are doing this , and it can meet other owners. SOCIALIZE, SOCIALIZE, SOCIALIZE -- and then you will be on the road to having a dog that is only careful about strangers and not overly cautious or fearful.
Q. Do these dogs shed?
A. You bet !!! they are of the Nordic Breeds, and they do shed. Well, so do you -- just check your hairbrush. If you have an AKK for a house dog, you will be petting it, and you can be getting rid of the shed hair during this process of loving. These guys are small, so you can sort of control where the hair goes. About twice a year, and after weaning puppies, they are going to blow their coat -- and during that time you want to comb and brush daily. During the rest of the year once a week will probably be ample.
Q. How much do you charge for your pups?
A. In my opinion all dogs are individuals and deserve to be treated as such. I do not enjoy talking prices until I know that you are really serious about this being YOUR breed, and you have agreed to abide by our Rules and Regulations. If I have a pup that I plan to save for my own, and you just have to have that puppy, then you will pay more for it as then I will be the one who has to start over again, or sometimes I will agree to place the pup with a special potential breeder family on a co-ownership with a "split litter" contract so I can get puppies back in that line. On the other hand, if I happen to have a puppy that has a medical problem, then you will pay less for it out of respect for your loving care. But first things first -- you first must decide if this is the BREED you really want, and not that you are just falling in love with a pretty and unusual animal. This is a long term commitment for you, so move slowly and carefully and make an educated decision. If you feel this is indeed the breed for you, then you may send me an e-mail and request the GREGORY QUESTIONNAIRE. Send the completed questionnaire to me by e-mail and we will proceed from there on a personal basis rather than through this Web Site.
Q Are they a good watchdog?
A. most of them are excellent watch dogs ---- meaning that they will alert you when someone comes on your property --- however they are not normally good GUARD dogs where they would attack someone. They should NOT be made into guard dogs - these are designed to be good companions --- lets leave the guarding to the large breeds.
Q. Do they have specific genetic disorders or diseases that I may have to watch for or get them tested for?
A. This is a remarkable breed where health problems are concerned, and I think this has been accomplished through the efforts of Linda Spurlin and the loyal breeders who have followed her for their careful dedication of breeding only the best and neutering the rest. If you complete and return my questionnaire you will find that the last questions is “Do you have any more questions that have not already been answered” and this is where you can ask me about any particular type of health issue that you are concerned with.
Q. Are the parents hips and eyes checked?
A. The AKKAOA has no requirements to have that done, so it is up to the individual breeder. There have been no authenticated reports of hip problems, to my knowledge, and the eye problems (with the exception of one detached retina) are all in the senior dogs that are no longer breeding and are deemed to be caused by age.
Q. I would like to have a pet only. I have no interest in showing or breeding, thus I want to spay/neuter the dog. Because I would like to spay/neuter the dog, would you like me to still have the Qualification Exam done?
A. When you sign the Sale and Purchase Contract, one of the things you are agreeing to is to have the quality exam completed. This exam is not for the sole purpose of stating a dog is granted breeding privileges or not ---- it is to tell us, as breders, how the dog grew up. We need to know as much as possible about the adult dog, as this provides better guidance for the future matings. Yes, you do need to have the quality exam completed and the questions answered by a Veterinarian. You can find a copy of that form at http://www.alaskankleekai.net/information/exam.htm
Q. If the dog is deemed breeding quality, do I have to breed the dog?
A. You would have to check your Sale and Purchase contract. Some Breeders may state that a particular dog must be bred if it qualifies as they may need that particular blood line. Sometimes dogs are sold on co-ownership with some pups coming back to the breeder. I, personally, encourage spaying and neutering of most puppies that I allow to leave my home. My opinion is that if you do not wish to be bothered with puppies, then I don't want you to be bothered by puppies. I do encourage people to show/breed their AKK, providing it is a top quality specimen – but in most cases it is not one of my requirements.
Q. At what age are the puppies able to be shipped?
A. I do not know of any Airlines that will accept puppies for shipment prior to the age of 8 weeks. Also, if I, personally, am to ship a puppy that I feel is not mature enough or stable enough to handle the trauma of a shipment, I will either delay shipment or deny placement of that pup with that person unless they come and pick it up. This does not happen often, but I have had some that are just too small for me to allow to be shipped in the cargo hold. It is suitable to be put under the seat in the cabin, but I just won’t let those really tiny, or those that are more nervous, to be shipped as Cargo. The majority of my pups do very well with Cargo shipment with proper arrangements and care. In the Continental United States, the cost is usually about $300.00 which includes Vet Services, shipping kennel and Land and Air Fare. Of course that is subject to change. I only ship to major airports – no commuter planes for my babies.
Q. How small (weight) are the puppies at eight weeks?
A. This varies with the pup and with what size it will be when full grown. I would say they are usually between 3 and 8 pounds, but that is just a guess --- I have never taken the time to document that information to arrive at an average. I can tell you that all puppies I have shipped at 8 weeks have easily been shipped in the small airlines kennel with room to spare.
Q. What airline(s) do you use to ship the puppies?
A. Within Continental United States I prefer using the airlines that has a non stop flight to the destination. I have had excellant success with every Airline that I have used. For shipment out of country, we try to find the most suitable airlines with the best connections
Q. I do not live near you so must pay by mail, I would rather send a money order since I won't send cash in the mail. Is that acceptable?
A.Your personal check is fine for the deposit to get on my waiting list. The final payment must be a Bank Cashier's check or cash if it is paid in person. When it comes time for you to complete the contract, everything will be explained in details that pertain to your own particular situation.
Q .If you send a dog overseas, and there is an additional expense to the Buyer due to the exchange rate, how do you compensate for that?
A. I don't compensate for that at all. The price I offer my dogs at is in U.S. funds. If it costs the Buyer more (or less) because of exchange rate, then they should consider this in making their decision.
Q. I have written to different Breeders about their dogs and some have not answered and some take a long time to answer. I will be pleased if you answer right away as I am excited. It seems to me that a Breeder would be eager to talk to someone who is interested in their breed, why do people take so long to respond?
A. The Alaskan Klee Kai is a very rare breed, and frankly to my knowledge there has been no urgent need for any Breeder to try to find someone to adopt their puppies. My web site generates considerable traffic, and yet it is there just for education --- not to make sales. If someone contacts me through a web site and ends up being the person I want to place one of my little ones with, that is great -- then the Web site has done double duty with education and placement.
It takes time and effort to answer all those questions, and all of the Breeders just don't have that kind of time, or choose not to spend their time answering questions from people who are just curious. That is the reason I have resorted to publishing all this information. My hope is that after you read everything on the Web that you can find, and read everything that I send to you personally , then most of your questions will be answered. AFTER you have read and agree to the requirements of the Alaskan Klee Kai Kennelette , and after you have completed my personal questionnaire and placed unanswered questions there, and I have determined you could possibly be a good owner for one of my babies, then you are welcome to send your personal questions that have not already been answered.
Obviously, I write in detail, and it does take time to answer everyone's questions, but I willingly do that if you are really interested. If you send me an e-mail and I do not answer within 7 days, please do send it again. I talk to very many people and sometimes an e-mail unintentionally gets lost in the shuffle.
Q. Huskies are known for being diggers who are capable of digging up gardens. Does the Alaskan Klee Kai maintain that tradition?
A. It seems to me that every Alaskan Klee Kai is an individual. I have some that dig when they hear a bug under the soil, or bubbles in the watering system, and I have some that wouldn't dream of it. My own back yard is all dirt as it is just for the dogs, so I don't worry about their digging. Other people have taken a particular section of their lawn and dug it up just for the dog to have a place. I have had very few complaints from owners who say the AKK destroyed their lawn, but other owners have written in that their AKK loves to dig. I, personally, have never had any of my AKK dig for the purpose of escaping their play yards, but I have had some dig under the fence to join another AKK in the next play yard.
Q. Is the AKK suitable for apartment living?
A. Yes, providing they have ample time out in the sunlight and exercise. Sun is important to the dogs, but they also need to be able to get into the shade when they need it. I have owners that traveled year round in a Motor Home with their two AKK and the dogs did quite well. They stopped and walked the dogs and allowed them to exercise, and they had no problems.
Q. How trainable are they (relative to a other breeds)?
A. I don't wish to compare between breeds, as every dog is an individual. I have seen dogs of all breeds that did not appear to be trainable while it was probably their owners who just did not take the time and effort. I can tell you that any dog is trainable only if their master is smarter than they are. I have been told by many of the owners of the AKK that this is the smartest dog they ever had. I can recall only one person who told me they thought the AKK is not intelligent. Of course breeds do have different instincts -- example - the retriever wanting to always bring something back to you. The AKK is more apt to run out and pick up what you threw and then tempt you with it while just staying out of your reach, so the retrieving would have to be taught to them. One problem I have personally observed in training the AKK is the problem of keeping eye contact. They are so curious about everything that is going on around them, that they don't feel they need to watch you like is desirable in the show ring. That takes training.
Q. What is the current waiting list?
A. Again it depends on the Breeder. My waiting list has consistently been over 25 for at least the last five years, and has been as high as 120. I can tell you that I will not produce litters just to fill a waiting list, and there is absolutely no way that I can tell you how long YOU will wait for your dream puppy. (Please do not ask me, because I will not be pinned down to even a vague statement in that department).. Therefore I make the stipulation in my deposit contract that you can cancel your order any time you want, and you receive most of your deposit back. I also suggest you interview other breeders and get on waiting lists for all those that you feel comfortable with. I, personally, never resent it if you cancel your order with me because you have found your heart's desire quicker with someone else. My goal is to get the right puppy in the right arms.
Q. Would a breeder sell an AKK to someone outside the US (assuming the potential owner would come to the kennel to meet the dogs and the breeders)?
A. I have placed AKK in the Cayman Islands , in England, and in Australia. I, personally, do not yet have an owner in Canada, but am hoping for that when the right puppy comes along. Ideally, the potential owner would come to the kennels and learn as much as they can, but that is not always possible. Many different things come into play when you are talking about placing outside the United States so I take each case as it is presented and try to make decisions that are for the best for the animal under discussion.
Q. How long will I have to wait to get my puppy?
A. There is no way that I can honestly answer that question. I am dealing with Human Nature as well as Mother Nature. When I have puppies available to those who have sent in a Deposit and Order Contract and are on my waiting list, I publish the list on a Web Site that is designed only for those people. When a person that is on the list sees the puppy they want they contact me and we go on from there. Many people are waiting for a particular blood line to mate with one they already have, and they might have to wait longer. People on deposit can refuse any pup and not lose their place in line. If you must know when you will be able to get your puppy, then you should talk to a breeder who does not work with waiting lists as they may be able to tell you closer. I, personally, feel it is only fair to contact the people who have been waiting the longest, rather than to place with the person who is standing at the door with dollars in their hand. It takes a lot more effort on my part, and a lot of bookkeeping, but it is an honest way to fill the needs of the depositors. Not all breeders are in a position where they can keep a deposit on hand, and that does not mean they will not treat your fairly. This is just the way I have chosen to handle my personal business.
Q. What is the life expectancy of an Alaskan Klee Kai?
A. That is a question that I cannot honestly answer because the breed is so new. My first Alaskan Klee Kai, Nikishka, was in excellent health until just a few days before I let her go. She had begun to slow down a little and had an occasional limp, and otherwise seemed the same as usual. When she started to give up, it was only a few days before I decided that she was telling me she was tired and wanted her well earned rest. She was just short of 15 years of age. Veterinarians tell me that Dogs this size usually live longer than very tiny dogs and longer than massive dogs.
Q. What are the determining factors between breed and show quality?
A. The terms "Show Quality" and "Breeding Quality" are almost interchangeable. Anything in the Breed Standards that is a disqualification means it is disqualified for the Show Ring --- in which case I would automatically disqualify that dog for Breeding Privileges. Additionally, In my Sale and Purchase Contracts, I retain the right to disqualify any of my dogs from the Breeding Program, even if the Breed Standards don't. Example, if one of my pups has a heart murmur, it could probably carry a litter of puppies to birthing and survive it --- but I, as breeder of that dog, will not authorize it to be Bred as it would possibly pass that defect to its offspring or to their offspring. So the Breeder of each dog has a responsibility to deny Breeding Privileges where it is advisable or desired.
Q. If I choose not to show my dogs, am I still eligible to breed them?
A. Although we would like to find more people who would be interested in Showing the AKK, that certainly is not one of my requirements. Many people do not have the time to properly train for the show ring, or do not have the time and money to travel around to the different shows. I personally think it is wonderful to teach your youngsters how to show. 4-H has programs for this and all youngsters that I know who have become involved have really benefited from the experience as well as having a better canine companion at their side. I encourage showing, but I , personally , do not insist upon it. I think that is a personal decision for the individual owner to make. It is possible that someday I may have a very special puppy that I will place with another owner ONLY on the basis it is shown, but it would be a case of owner and myself making that agreement, and it would be clearly detailed in the Purchase and Sale Contract.
Q. When I am ready to begin breeding, is it acceptable to begin small, with just a carefully monitored pair, and then build as we grow?
A. Absolutely! I think it would be a crime to say someone has to purchase a certain number of dogs to be qualified as a breeder. I, personally, think that the person who has only one pair, or even has only one female or male, can be just as conscientious of a breeder as the person who has a kennels with 50 dogs in it. What a shame it would be if you were required to purchase 6 dogs to be known as a breeder, and then find out that you did not care for them when they got out of the cute puppy stage. I, personally, have nothing against the so-called Back Yard Breeder with just one or two dogs, as long as they are practicing good breeding habits. This is not a popular position to take with many professional Breeders, but it is my opinion that a person with just one dog, and who produces just one litter, can be just as dedicated to good breeding principles as someone who has put as many years into the Breeding Program as I have done.
Q. I have searched everywhere and I am not able to find much information about these dogs. Why is that?
A. Until recently, most of the Breeders felt it was best not to put out too much information for fear the dogs would get too popular before they were really firmly established. This is still a very young breed, and one or two unscrupulous Breeders could do a lot of harm, so most owners/breeders are very particular to follow the guidelines as established by Linda Spurlin and the Association. Obviously, I have determined it was time to open our web site and to provide people with a place where they could go to get accurate information about the Alaskan Klee Kai breed and about its Association, breeders and owners.
Q. Why don't you put your Sale Contracts on your Web site so that they can be printed off so people won't have to talk to you through e-mails or on the phone. Other people do this.
A. It is not my desire to use my Web site as a place to market puppies. My Web site is designed to offer you information, and to give you a place to find out more information. In fact, when you first write to me, I do not send you Sale Contracts. The first thing I do is send you more information about the requirements of owning an AKK. If you don't agree with those policies, then you don't have a need for my contracts. If you do agree to those policies, then you must complete and return my questionnaire so I will know if I want to consider you as an owner of one of my babies or not. After I considered you approvable, I will send you to a sample of one of my sale contracts so you can better determine if I am the kind of person that you would want to work with. Also a deposit contract will be there for your use in placing your order on my Waiting List if you decide we could have a good working relationship for the caring of your own AKK as well as watching over the breed.
Q. Where can I find the official Alaskan Klee Kai Association web site?
A. AKKAOA web site is http://www.akkaoa.com The Alaskan Klee Kai Association of America is the organization that has protected this breed from the beginning and for years has worked under the guidance of Linda S. Spurlin (breed developer) . AKKAOA is now firmly established with a Board of Directors and various active committees and now will ask us old timers for information and opinions on a rare occasion. There is also another AKK club that is recognized by UKC. That site is at http://www.uakka.org. (United Alaskan Klee Kai Association. While you are researching sites, you might want to look at United Kennel Club - http://www.ukcdogs.com You can find the Breed Standards there, as well as information about upcoming shows that you may wish to attend in the hopes of seeing our breed in the show ring.
Q. Can you tell me if any of the AKK are going to be going to any dog shows in my area?
A. I do not have this information. I suggest you check with United Kennel Club at 616-343-9020, ask for Field Operations, and then ask them how you can find out when shows are being held in your area. It may be that there would be a schedule listed on their web site at http://www.ukcdogs.com
Q. Do you have red and white AKK? That is what I want.
A. Thank you for asking as this gives me the opportunity to brag a bit. No red/whites were used in the foundation stock which started this breed. Reds were included in the UKC Breed Standards as we knew that someday one might show up due to the Alaskan Husky beginnings, and we felt it would be a shame for it to be disqualified just because reds were not included in the Standards. Well, on August 16, 1999, "Alasco's Tyler First Red Alkai" made his entrance into the world, as a result of a couple of really tough genes joining together at the mating of a couple of AKK that came from my kennels. UKC Grand Champion "Heldeberg BuddyBuoy Nakit Alasco" owned by Jim and Marilyn Butler, and bred by Greg and Eileen Gregory, and UKC Champion "Katina Nakit Alasco", owned and bred by Greg and Eileen Gregory, met in Kalamazoo Michigan and utilized the bathroom of a Motor Home owned by Mary Jones of Tyler Texas, and from that mating came our Tyler. Since that time there has been about half a dozen red/whites born, but not in my kennels. Unfortunately our Tyler does not seem to be very productive. Rest assured, even if he produces red/whites by abundance, but the puppies are lacking in other desirable attributes, he will be neutered and will be loved just as much. I do not feel that the red and white color is enough to allow an otherwise inferior animal to reproduce. Tyler is an excellent specimen of the Alaskan Klee Kai, with a remarkable personality, and I will be proud of him even if he had not qualified for the Breeding Program. I am sure you realize that our Tyler is one dog that has NO price tag on him.
I am sure it will be a long time before a line of reds will be developed so they will be available to others, but this is certainly a beginning. Careful study of pedigrees of the breed has shown where we think this Red Gene came from, and there is now a DNA test that is available to see if a particular dog is Red Factored or not. You can be sure that breeders will be making a carefully studied and concentrated effort to start a line of red/white AKK.
Q. The breed standard doesn’t say much about temperament --- how would you describe the temperament of the Alaskan Klee Kai?
A. Breed Standards don’t usually adequately describe temperament on breeds. I commend you for being concerned about temperament – too many people are just concerned with appearance and prestige. The Alaskan Klee Kai generally is rather cautious with strangers. It is very important that they are socialized heavily as puppies and through adulthood. If you keep the puppy at home, it will be fine with your family, but when someone comes to visit it will be more apt to turn shy. As far as I can recall, I have had only one Alaskan Klee Kai returned due to personality. It did not follow the kids around like the Mother wanted – so we traded for a different one, and she ended up getting three more. She did the right thing, as that “pup” stayed in my kennels and never was a good “people dog”, but she turned out some really nice friendly puppies.
Q. How does this breed do in cold weather and in hot weather?
A. The Alaskan Klee Kai can be an outside dog or an inside dog. We have doggy doors so they can make their own choices, and mine usually would rather be on my lap than anyplace else. They do well in the cold or in the heat, but they must have shelter from the weather. I prefer my dogs to be house dogs --- they make better companions when they are part of the family than when they are left outside and forgotten about for hours on end. The breed was developed in Alaska, so you know they do well in cold weather. For a personal report on how they deal with hot weather, please go to my OWNERS’ STORIES and you will find a report about “Bandit” who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Q. Someplace on the web I saw a picture of a long haired female named Niki – she is beautiful. Can you lead me to get one of these puppies?
A. Niki is a “long haired” Alaskan Klee Kai which is much much more rare than the shorter coat, and according to the Breed Standards is not as desirable as the short coat. I do occasionally get longed haired pups, but sometimes as the dog matures and goes through a shedding cycle, the new hair will grow in shorter, and sometimes it is just a fuller coat, but not really long. And of course, sometimes it comes back in just as long as before.
Q. What personality traits do Alaskan Klee Kai have? Do they bark and whine often?
A. I have placed many puppies, and have received only a few calls asking how they can train the dog not to bark. I have a kennels, and yes, in the kennels when someone is in their territory, they do bark. Those same dogs do not feel the need to bark when they are in my territory (the house). Whine? No, I don’t think it is common for an AKK to be a whiner. Now TALKING is a different situation. When you leave them alone, and then return, they are going to talk and talk and tell you everything that happened that day. Then you should take the time to sit down with your dog and have a conversation with it --- when the conversation is finished you can go on with your household chores in relative peace. Many books will tell you to ignore your dog if he gets overly excited when you return home --- I do not agree with this at all. Your dog needs to know that you are there for him and that you understand his discomfort at being left alone, but now that you are home everything is okay.
Q. Do they bite – some small dogs have these traits.
I have had some owners tell me that their smallest ones have a tendency to be heel nippers. Most of these owners did not take the dog to training classes and perhaps lacked on the efforts to socialize. The Miniatures and Standards sizes do not seem to have as much of that tendency as the Toy size does. Usually the heel nipping is at strangers who have come into your home, bent down over your dog, and the dog had to stand there and be uneasy at having this big stranger patting them on the top of the head (which probably makes them feel smaller yet). Then when the stranger turns and starts to walk away, the dog hits the heel with its nose or sometimes even with its teeth. If your little one has that tendency, I recommend putting it in his crate in a different room when the stranger first comes into the home --- then they get used to the fact that it is okay for that person to be there, and are better behaved when you let them join the company.
Q. I have two German Shepherds – do they get along with large dogs? My dogs are really sweet, and I know they would be fine with a small dog, but would they scare a little Alaskan Klee Kai?. I guess I wondered if they are skittish and nervous?
If your dogs will accept a new one into your residence, there should be no problem. I have Alaskan Klee Kai placed with people with Chihuahua’s up to Pyranees, and have had no reports of the AKK causing trouble. I have pictures of Alaskan Klee Kai herding ducks (I do not recommend this, but the people knew how to train it) --- playing with ferrets, cats, big dogs and little dogs --- one family reported that every night when they drive into the driveway, their headlights shine on rabbit eyes. They let their AKK out of the car, who barks like mad and chases the rabbits to the sidewalk, and then sits down and looks back to ask if she did a good job or not. I cannot stress too much, that every animal is an individual, and you must not judge the actions of your dog, strictly upon the actions of another of the same breed or a different breed. Spend time with your dog, and train it well, and you should be happy with the results.
Q. I would like to get an Alaskan Klee Kai, but I am worried about how to introduce it to my present dogs.
I always recommend that your current dogs meet the new one on neutral territory, like in a school play ground or a park. Then when you take them home, they already know each other. It is important that you don’t let your present dogs come into the house to find the new one eating out of their dish or sleeping in their bed.
Q. I think these dogs are beautiful, I’d like a sweet little friend to hold & love. I teach my dogs basic things like to come, sit, lay down, etc., but I do not show my dogs. Do I have to agree to show my dog in order to get a pup from you?
I never showed dogs before either, but now that the Alaskan Klee Kai are accepted by the American Rare Breed Association and the United Kennel Club, I have more of an incentive to enter the show ring --- and I am now really bitten by the show bug. Seldom would I require someone to show my puppy in order to become its care taker, but I suppose the possibility exists. I really feel that to show or not to show should be a personal matter and should not be forced on someone who does not wish to do so.
Q. I never put my babies in a Boarding Kennel. When I have to leave them, they stay home & I pay a pet sitter to come feed them and play with them for an hour twice a day. How do you feel about Boarding Kennels?
I definitely feel that it is better, in most cases, to have any animal cared for in its own home by a friendly neighbor that it feels comfortable with. Boarding Kennels can be acceptable, but I certainly would not recommend just taking one out of the telephone directory. You should have personal recommendations, and you should personally visit the kennel and require that you are allowed to go through all areas of the kennel so you can make your own observations. If there are training classes held at the same establishment, I recommend that you visit during the classes. Watch how the trainer works. If he has a heavy hand in training, I would not recommend leaving an AKK with him. These dogs do better with praise than anything else. If they are praised for doing well, and ignored for doing poorly, you will usually have better success with making them into good citizens. There is a need and purpose for good Boarding Kennels, but I personally prefer using the method you use when the dogs need care from someone other than yourself.
Q. I think I would give a good home to one of these puppies, they would be loved & taken care of. I buy the best food and treats available and give my animals lots of attention. I don’t have kids, so I have lots of time and love to give.
A. And the AKK have lots of love to give in return. These dogs do not automatically demand a lot of attention, all they want is to be made part of your family. They want rules to abide by, so they will not be yelled at for doing what comes naturally. If they understand what they are allowed to do, they are much more comfortable and at ease, so it is important that they are taken to class to learn right from wrong, and then you can freely shower them with your attention, without spoiling them. In other words, they need the love and attention, but also need to obey the rules of the household.
Q. I would love to breed puppies, although I have never done it. My present dogs never blessed me with puppies. I would probably need to learn more about it. Any information would be appreciated.
A. If you decide to breed your AKK, and if it qualifies for the breeding program, we would give you all the help and advise that we can. It is important for you to understand that AKK is a very unique breed and we are very careful about which ones are allowed to lend their genes to the breeding pool. There is a required examination for the dog to pass before it will be given its breeding priveleges. The Alaskan Klee Kai are not the same as most other breeds, so becoming a breeder is not the easiest thing to do, but most other breeds do not give you the help and guidance that we do either. It is also a good idea for you to join the AKKAOA so you can receive the News Letter and learn more about the breed. You will find the AKKAOA application for membership by clicking on AKKAOA INFORMATION on the first page of this web site. You will also find my recap of the AKKAOA Rules and Regulations there.
Do you still have a question that you would like to have answered? Click on the e-mail button below , send us your letter, and we will answer as soon as we can. Eileen Gregory
. . .