The Alaskan Klee Kai exhibits many of the best characteristics of its arctic working ancestors. A pressing question for potential owners then is, whether this small member of the spitz dog family is a healthy choice.
The Alaskan Klee Kai, a small breed dog related to the Alaskan Husky, is just a baby in the world of dog breeds. The breed was begun in the mid-1970's through the private efforts of Linda Spurlin. Since this is such a young and rare breed, public informational resources are limited and to some extent are subject to change with the growth of the breed. To date, the following is known in regards to the overall health of the Alaskan Klee Kai breed.
General Health Of The Alaskan Klee Kai
Taken as a whole, the Alaskan Klee Kai is generally considered a healthy breed of dog. To a certain degree, the extent to which this holds true will depend on how breed health is maintained as the Alaskan Klee Kai population grows.
The Alaskan Klee Kais that are currently placed as pets and in breeding kennels have maintained the healthy characteristics of their ancestors, the Alaskan Husky. In many ways, the Alaskan Klee Kai is as it was intended to be-a small, companion size version of the Alaskan Husky which bears the best characteristics the breed has to offer.
There is very little to be concerned about in regards to diseases and disorders affecting the Alaskan Klee Kai. Although there have been limited reports of eye and hip problems, these are not considered a norm for the breed. With the exception of one known case, all associated eye difficulties are attributable to old age. Reports of hip problems were not substantiated.
Most recently, however, it was discovered that some of these dogs carried a mutated gene which causes a bleeding disorder. This is referred to as Factor VII Deficiency; the disorder operates similar to bleeding disorders affecting other dog breeds wherein the blood does not clot effectively; excessive bleeding and poor healing result (a condition comparable to hemophilia in humans).
Not all dogs carrying the Factor VII Deficiency gene are affected by it; some dogs carry just one gene and will never be "bleeders". Other dogs carry two genes and the syndrome presents.
Fortunately, this anomaly has been discovered early in the life of this breed and scientists have managed to develop a fast and effective means of testing for the gene through DNA testing. Dogs that are affected are restricted from breeding and dogs that are shown to be carriers are not bred to other carriers, therefore their offspring will not be affected. Thanks to the early identification and subsequent culling of effected breed members, there is a good chance this syndrome will not significantly impact the breed; better still, there is a possibility it may be completely eliminated.
Conscientious Breeding Creates Healthy New Breeds
The health of the Alaskan Klee Kai can be directly attributed to the breed's developer, Linda Spurlin. Linda was steadfast in her standards for breeding and for culling of inferior specimens through spay and neuter programs. By and large Alaskan Klee Kai breeders have respected her guidelines and have followed suit. The result is a well-bred animal whose potential for disease has been greatly diminished. Because the breed is still very rare and very well controlled, the future of the Alaskan Klee Kai shows great promise, and the health of the breed is sure to hold true as long as responsible breeding practices dominate.