Celebrities Boost Popularity of Alaskan Klee Kai
They have been featured in magazines and are becoming more popular due to star-power from celebrities like Miley Cyrus and One Direction band member Liam Payne.
Both own an Alaskan Klee Kai, a small dog breed that was developed in Wasilla in the 1970s by Linda Spurlin. Though the breed is often referred to as a miniature husky because of its small stature, it is a mix of breeds that include the American Eskimo, Schipperke, Alaskan husky and Siberian husky.
"I think most of the time (people) think they are just regular puppies. Just husky puppies. They don't realize they're not growing anymore," said Lena Kleven, an Alaskan Klee Kai breeder and owner.
Kleven bought her dog Loki nearly six years ago. She learned that even though the breed was developed in Alaska, there were no Alaskan Klee Kai breeders in the state at the time.
"It was frustrating not having a breeder up here when it was developed here years ago," she said.
That led her to start Haakens AKK, becoming a small breeder based in Palmer. The newest litter of puppies are nearly eight weeks old. They will get larger, but not by much. Alaskan Klee Kai are bred as a toy, miniature and standard-- the largest size being standard, about 18 inches in height. The puppies- affectionately known for now as Chena, Adak and Koyuk- will soon be going to their new homes. That can be the difficult part of the job, said Kleven.
"I cry every single time when I have to say good bye," she said.
The breed, which is recognized by the United Kennel Club, is becoming more popular in the Lower 48 where their small size is a hit with prospective pet owners. Klee Kai are also smart, agile and energetic, says Kleven. And there are some similarities between the Alaskan Klee Kai and their husky relatives.
"They're not one that can just follow you around like a lab or golden (retriever) because they do have that instinct to run," said Kleven. "They do pretty good staying with you but if there's something that entices them, they're going to run."
(Copyright © 2013, KTUU-TV)