The Alaskan Klee Kai is a relatively recent breed that was first developed in the 1970s in Alaska by a breeder named Linda Spurlin. It was her aim to create a dog that looked like a smaller version of the Siberian and Alaskan Huskies. The breed's name roughly translates to "small dog" in the Inuit language. To reach her goal, Spurlin mixed Alaskan and Siberian Huskies with smaller breeds such as the American Eskimo Dog and Schipperke. The breed was officially recognized by the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA) in 1995 and by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1997.
Alaskan Klee Kai can suffer from Factor VII deficiency, hypothyroidism, patellar luxation, thyroid disease including autoimmune thyroiditis, heart murmurs, juvenile cataracts and other eye conditions, liver disease, pyometra, and cryptorchidism.
The Alaskan Klee Kai is known for being intelligent, active, and somewhat reserved. They are not typically overly friendly with strangers, which can make them good watchdogs, but they are very loyal and loving with their families. Alaskan Klee Kais are also known for their high energy levels and need for regular exercise. They can be quite vocal, often "talking" to their owners, and can sometimes display a strong prey drive. Training and socialization from an early age are very important for this breed to help manage their energy levels and ensure they are comfortable around strangers and other animals
According to the AKC, the breed name Alaskan "Klee Kai" is derived from Alaskan Athabaskan words that mean "little dog".