Alaskan Klee Kai

Do Alaskan Klee Kai Make Good Apartment Pets?

August 29, 2022

I have two dogs.  An Alaskan klee kai named Fenrir, and a papillon named Kitsune.  I recently wrote about keeping papillons in an apartment.  I thought it would be fitting to write a similar article about whether or not Alaskan klee kai make good apartment dogs.  My little pack and I are currently living in a rental house.  But for many years we resided in a third floor, walk up city apartment.  My Alaskan klee kai joined our pack in September of 2015, and from then until we moved in late 2019, Fenrir was an apartment klee kai!  So what was my experience like living in an apartment with an Alaskan klee kai?  Would I recommend Alaskan klee kai as an apartment pet?  Read on to find out!

Any dog can make a ‘perfect’ apartment dog!

Alaskan klee kai apartmentLike I mentioned in my post about whether or not papillons make good apartment pets, my definition of what makes the perfect apartment dog might be a little lax.  Rather than recommending a specific breed for life in an apartment, I really feel like it comes down to each individual dog!  You can make generalizations about a dog based on his or her breed, but not every single individual in that breed will behave the same way.

Whether or not your individual dog will make a good apartment pet can also come down to how dedicated you are to making your dog happy in an apartment environment.  When I was living in the city, I met all kinds of apartment dogs.  Some of which were breeds that wouldn’t normally be recommended for apartment living.  My dogs were friends with a border collie, for example, who very happily resided in an apartment building.  Her owner was very dedicated to making sure that she got enough exercise and mental stimulation, so that she didn’t go crazy living in an apartment setting.

These traits, in general, make for a better apartment dog…

If you don’t have a dog already, and you’re looking for one to share the apartment life with, it can help to look for individual dog who has these traits.

  • Lower Energy Dogs:  In general, lazier or lower energy dogs will be easier to manage in an apartment, especially for owners who aren’t prepared to spend a lot of time outside of the apartment exercising their dog.
  • Quiet Dogs:  This one is pretty self explanatory.  Dogs who are loud, usually by barking excessively, don’t make the best neighbors in close quarters.
  • Friendly Dogs:  Dogs that are friendly towards both strangers and other dogs are the easiest to manage in an apartment, where meeting neighbors, both people and other animals, in hallways and other public spaces is a common occurrence.
  • Dogs Without Behavioral Issues:  Separation anxiety comes into mind here.  While stressful to manage in any situation, dealing with behavioral issues in an apartment building can add an extra layer of stress.

Notice that I didn’t mention size?  While many people think of small dogs as being more suitable for apartment life, that’s not always the case.  Many small dog breeds are actually quite high energy.  There are some larger breed dogs, such as greyhounds, who are generally lazy and calm and, although large, make better apartment dogs than a high energy, high maintenance small dog.

Do Alaskan Klee Kai make good apartment pets?

In my opinion, as someone who has owned an Alaskan Klee Kai for 7+ years, and who lived in an apartment with an Alaskan Klee Kai, this breed does not make the best apartment pet.  While most Alaskan klee kai are smaller dogs, and they aren’t usually overly barky, they can have some personality quarks that makes them harder than other breeds to deal with in an apartment type setting.

The biggest challenges of raising an Alaskan klee kai in an apartment…

Alaskan klee kai apartmentAlaskan klee kai are generally 1 person dogs.  They’ll adore their special person, and usually love other family members as well.  But they commonly want little to nothing to do with anyone else.  Alaskan klee kai can be shy, timid, and sometimes reactive around strangers.  These can be very stressful traits to manage if you’re living in a building full of other people.  It doesn’t help any that Alaskan klee kai are adorable, small, unique looking dogs.  Everyone wants to pet them!

When it comes to apartment life, Alaskan klee kai have a few other strikes against them as well.  Alaskan klee kai can be very high energy little dogs!  Most AKK will not be content to sit around in an apartment all day.  Because they bond so strongly with their family members, they are also prone to separation anxiety.  Alaskan klee kai are little Velcro dogs!  They are obsessed with their people and want to be around them as much as possible.

Alaskan klee kai can be super sensitive dogs, and they are prone to developing anxieties.  They really feed off of their owners emotions.  This is a generally a very high maintenance breed too.  Think of what you’d get if you mixed the most mischievous cat with a high energy, hyper alert, clingy dog.  That’s an Alaskan klee kai!  They often remain somewhat puppy-like well into adulthood, and are amazing at getting themselves into trouble if you let them get bored.

My experiences keeping an Alaskan klee kai in an apartment.

Alaskan klee kai apartmentI adore Fenrir, and I’d never say that I regret getting him.  But when we still lived in an apartment, I often wished I had waited until we were in a house to get my klee kai.

Fenrir was afraid of one of the neighbors in our apartment building.  She was loud and always tried to grab at him, which isn’t the right approach to take around these often shy dogs.  I found myself constantly trying to avoid that one neighbor when I had Fen with me, because I didn’t want to deal with her stressing him out.  But trying to avoid her all the time started to stress me out!

That same neighbor, go figure, had a dog that didn’t get along with Fenrir.  It snapped at Fen once in the hallway, and ever since Fen would get really stressed inside our apartment when he heard that particular dog running around in the shared hallway.

Other than those issues, Fen did ok in our apartment.  But I also took him on multiple walks everyday.  Every morning I would walk him to the park so we could play fetch on his long line.  We also did (and still do) daily training sessions.  Alaskan klee kai are not a breed for the lazy!  You really need to keep up with their mental, and physical exercise.

A breed for experienced dog owners

As I mentioned in my Alaskan klee kai breed profile, this is a unique, high maintenance breed that, in my opinion, would do best with experienced dog owners.  Potential owners should be well informed about this breeds potential quarks.  Alaskan klee kai need committed owners who are willing to provide them with ample, and on-going training, as well as plenty of mental and physical exercise.

Unfortunately some of the issues that come up commonly with this breed can make them difficult to maintain stress free in an apartment.  These are dogs that very much appreciate a quiet, stress free, home environment with their pack.  The hustle and bustle of neighbors constantly coming and going in an apartment building can cause these often times shy dogs quite a bit of stress.

Making it work…

Many of these potential issues can be managed, notably with training.  However, training takes time and dedication.  If you really, really have your heart set on an Alaskan klee kai my advice would be to meet as many of them as possible, and talk to owners, to make sure this is the breed for you.  Be prepared to really commit to making this breed integrate well into apartment life.  Perhaps consider adopting an older, adult Alaskan klee kai, so you have a better idea of what its personality and energy level is going to be.  Alaskan klee kai puppies are somewhat notorious for developing some of the klee kai quarks as they mature.  An adult dog will have a more established personality, so you’ll be able to better assess how it would do living in an apartment.

What do you think?  Do you, or have you ever lived in an apartment with an Alaskan klee kai?  What are some breeds of dogs you have experience with that you would recommend  for apartment living?  

Alaskan klee kai apartment

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