Very small and very large dogs are becoming increasingly popular with pet owners. A striking example is with Siberian and Alaskan huskies, which are now bred to be both larger and smaller than breed standard. These smaller forms--the miniature Siberian husky and Klee Kai--are very similar, but are actually different breeds.
Miniature Siberian Husky
Miniature Siberian huskies are not mixed dogs; rather, they are a line of Siberian huskies that have been selectively bred down to "miniature" size. The animals are a result of a naturally occurring mutation, meaning they share the characteristics of their older brothers and sisters, but in miniature sizes. Miniature Siberian huskies grow to heights of 12 to 14 inches and weigh 16 to 18 pounds.
Klee Kais, on the other hand, are miniature Alaskan huskies, but they have been crossed with Alaskan Eskimos to gain their miniature size. They weigh between 10 and 40 pounds, come in a range of colors and resemble Siberian huskies more than Alaskan huskies. They are bred in three sizes: standard (15 to 17.5 inches), miniature (13 to 15 inches) and toy (under 13 inches).
Mini Siberian huskies are dedicated and loyal, and have the balanced, dependable personality of purebred dogs. They are smart but also independent, and they can be stubborn. As huskies, they share the personality of the larger dogs, and do well with children and in families with other pets. They do best in colder areas, with outdoor time and plenty of space to run. Klee Kais are energetic and require lots of exercise. Though small enough to live in an apartment, Dog Breed Info Center recommends that Klee Kais have access to at least a small yard. They will become disruptive and high-strung if they don't receive enough exercise. They can exist with children who treat them with respect and aren't too rough with them. They have a strong hunting instinct, but they have been known to live well with other animals if introduced properly.
Both miniature Siberian huskies and Klee Kais require specific care. These dogs have the long, dense coats of the husky breed, so they need consistent bathing and grooming. Lack of grooming results in their coats becoming matted, which can be painful. Both breeds are prone to extensive shedding, regardless of grooming. Both breeds require plenty of exercise and like to be included in family matters. Training is simple for these dogs if owners are consistent and very patient. Both miniature Siberian huskies and Klee Kais can live into their teens with proper care.
Buying mixed breeds such as a Klee Kai is always a risk for the purchaser. Because the Klee Kai is not a recognized or "set" breed, it does not have a breed standard or a dependable set of characteristics. A lack of AKC recognition also means that no controls are set on breedings or health for these dogs. The miniature Siberian husky, as a small line of recognized Siberian huskies, is recognized as a husky by the AKC. Breedings are strictly controlled.