How do you create an entirely new breed of dog? You start with a dream, add persistence and dedication, and multiply by excellence in breeding standards-precisely the way Linda Spurlin developed the Alaskan Klee Kai.
An Accidental Meeting With Fate
The development of the Alaskan Klee Kai dog breed began with a family vacation and an accidental mating between an Alaskan Husky and a smaller dog.
In the mid-1970's Linda Spurlin and her husband traveled from Alaska to Oklahoma to visit family. While there, they fell in love with a small, 17 pound dog named "Curious" that looked just like a full-size Alaskan Husky; when they flew home, that little dog flew with them.
Linda set off on an adventure to recreate this amazing little companion-sized Alaskan Husky, and eventually, through a breeding process of trial and error, was able to produce a handful of promising breed specimens.
What Linda didn't know was that her brother-in-law had owned an Alaskan Husky who was accidentally bred to a small dog; these dogs were the ancestors of her new little Curious. He, too was attempting to recreate the breed, but with limited success. Eventually, he gave up breeding the tiny huskies because his family just didn't have the heart to allow him to cull the more inferior reproductions. The brother-in-law sold his established stock to Linda Spurlin, who took to heart the advice he gave (which she already knew) to select only the best for breeding; the rest were to be spayed and neutered so as to stop inferior traits and characteristics within the breed.
Dedication To Breeding Excellence
As the gene pool grew, Spurlin developed a strict set of breed standards which thoroughly detailed the composition, temperament, and health characteristics acceptable for the Alaskan Klee Kai. She held fast to her set standards and insisted that responsible breeders and owners do so once the breed went out for public ownership (something that didn't happen for almost 20 years).
Dogs that showed substandard health, temper, or composition traits were not allowed to be bred and were required to be spayed or neutered through strict contractual agreements. Fortunately, breeders and owners responded and followed the guidelines presented to them, carefully researching bloodlines and tracking offspring to determine the success of each mate pairing.
Over the years, Linda Spurlin decided that her active breeding days were done, and she sold her remaining breeding stock to a trusted breeder, Eileen Gregory, who was instrumental in the early days of the Alaskan Klee Kai Association of America and in the meticulous recording process required in the development of the breed. Linda still serves in an advisory capacity to the Association, and is active in matters concerning the Alaskan Klee Kai.
Linda's legacy lives on in every healthy, sound, Alaskan Klee Kai; the great majority of Alaskan Klee Kai breeders have put faith in Linda's original breeding standards and continue to grow the Alaskan Klee Kai population, but only as is prudent to maintain the stability and integrity of the breed.
Today's Alaskan Klee Kai is a sturdy, healthy, friendly companion, loved by many. Owning an Alaskan Klee Kai, however, does require a level of commitment from owners. Owners are required to complete Qualification Examinations of their dogs and remit the information to the appropriate breeder or overseeing body so that the breed can continue to be improved upon. For lovers of the Alaskan Klee Kai, though, the price they pay for the love and affection of these little huskies is but a tiny inconvenience in comparison.