A couple of weeks ago I posted our list of US based papillon rescues. Ever since then I’ve been wanting to write a similar post about Alaskan Klee Kai (AKK). My Alaskan Klee Kai, Fenrir, recently turned 7 years old! I got him from a breeder when he was just a pup. But I totally understand why some people may prefer checking rescues over going with a breeder. The problem? Because Alaskan klee kai are a newer breed, it can be hard to find one in a rescue/shelter. There really aren’t a lot of breed specific rescues that cater to AKK. In fact, I only know of one US based Alaskan klee kai rescue!
A Newer Breed
Alaskan klee kai have not been on the breed scene for very long. The breed’s foundation can be tracked back to the 1970’s. A breeder by the name of Linda Spurlin is credited as the original creator of the Alaskan klee kai. Being so new, the Alaskan klee kai is actually not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club. However, in 2020 they were accepted into the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service. Alaskan klee kai are recognized by the United Kennel Club. Read more about this breed’s history over on my Alaskan Klee Kai Breed Profile post!
Alaskan Klee Kai National Rescue
So far, the Alaskan Klee Kai National Rescue is the only US based rescue that works exclusively with Alaskan klee kai. It was formed in 2008, and operates throughout the US with the help of reginal rescue coordinators. On average, the Alaskan Klee Kai National Rescue only has a few Alaskan klee kai per year available for adoption.
Other Ways to Rescue Alaskan Klee Kai
One rescue, with only a few available dogs per year, may make it sound like it would be next to impossible to find an Alaskan klee kai for adoption. There are, however, options out there for anyone determined to adopt an Alaskan klee kai!
- Talk to local breeders: Breeders don’t only have available puppies. Many AKK breeders will occasionally have adult dogs available for adoption. Usually these will either be retired show and/or breeding dogs. Some will be pets that owners could not keep anymore and returned to the breeder. This can be a great way to get an adult dog, if you’re specifically looking to avoid the crazy puppy stage. You can check out the Alaskan Klee Kai Association of America to find a breeder. Breeders on this list must follow strict codes of ethics.
- Use Petfinder.com: I ran a quick search on Petfinder.com, and it came up with a list of 12 Alaskan klee kai, or AKK mixes, currently available for adoption!
- Check your local rescues/shelters: Hey, you never know! Many local rescues, if they don’t have a dog that meets your needs, will take down your information and contact you if a dog that matches what you’re looking for turns up.
- Check local husky rescues: Believe it or not, I’ve seen more AKK available for adoption through a local, to me, husky rescue that I follow than I’ve seen posted on the Alaskan Klee Kai National Rescue site! Many husky rescues seem happy to branch out a bit and also help Alaskan klee kai in need!
Is that Really an AKK?
In recent years, sadly, backyard breeders have gotten their paws on Alaskan klee kai. Backyard breeders, and sometimes well meaning rescues, tend to label any husky like dog that’s on the smaller side as an Alaskan klee kai, even if it isn’t one. Some of these dogs are Alaskan klee kai mixes, or poorly bred Alaskan klee kai. Others are small husky mixes, etc. Buying a dog from a breeder and not actually getting the breed you paid for is wrong on a lot of levels. It’s SO important to learn how to recognize and avoid backyard breeders.
But if you’re getting a dog from a rescue, especially an adult dog with an already established personality, I’d argue that it doesn’t matter so much if the dog you adopt is truly a purebred or not. Recues don’t always have the funds to DNA test every dog that walks through their doors. They do the best they can when it comes to guessing a dog’s breed.
Most people don’t seem to know much about Alaskan klee kai, other than the fact that they look like tiny huskies. It’s kind of understandable why any dog that looks like a tiny husky gets labeled as an AKK, even when it isn’t one. If you get a dog of unknown origin that you suspect might be an AKK or an AKK mix, a DNA test can help identify your dog’s breed(s). Knowing this information can be helpful. But, at the end of the day, if the shelter dog you adopted fits in well with your family it shouldn’t matter too much what breed he/she is.
Why are Alaskan Klee Kai Rare in Rescues?
Alaskan klee kai are a heavily guarded breed. Responsible breeders are held to high standards and are careful about selecting the perfect families for their dogs. Responsible breeders of this breed have contracts that say that when/if a new owner can no longer keep their AKK, he/she must be returned to the breeder. This is so the breeder can then find another good home for that dog. AKK can be challenging dogs to work with. Breeders know this, and they are familiar with what it takes to find loving homes who can take on that challenge. Breeders don’t want to see dogs they created end up in shelters any more than anyone else does!
The diligence of responsible breeders, along with the fact that this breed is relatively new and not super well known yet, means that you won’t find well bred AKK filling up shelters. AKK owners themselves are a somewhat close knit bunch too, with an extreme passion for their chosen breed. Usually, when an AKK does show up in rescue, the AKK community doesn’t waste any time getting that dog to safety!
Hard, but Not Impossible
Finding an AKK in rescue won’t be as easy as finding some of your more common breeds. That doesn’t mean it’s an impossible task. This is a breed that, no matter what, you will need some patience to acquire. For the right families, they are amazing little dogs that are well worth the time and effort it takes to find the perfect one for you!
Comment below! If you have an Alaskan klee kai, where did you get him/her? If you are currently looking for an AKK to adopt, how has your search been going so far?