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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Initially, I wanted a klee kai, Keeshond mix, but then I realized that the breeder that would be able to produce that is a little scary... So I steered widely away from that and have looked at a variety of breeds. I've looked at the following breeds in some level of depth:

  • australian shepherd
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
  • Brittany
After an encounter with a couple huskies, I find myself drawn back to the spitz breeds. I really do like the physical characteristics of this breed group and would like to be able to find something suitable within it. What I'm finding, however, is that these dogs always have something that isn't quite what I'm looking for:

  • Huskies are a good size and have a nice coat, but they require hours of exercise.
  • Keeshonds are a good size and have manageable exercise requirements, but they're HUGELY fluffy. The same is true for:
    • Samoyed
    • American Eskimo dog
  • A number of them seem pretty awesome but are very rare.
  • A number of them are not ridiculously fluffy and have reasonable exercise needs, but then they're a bit on the small side or too big.
What I want is a medium sized Spitz type dog that has a medium coat and can do well with an hour of exercise a day (opposed to huskies which I hear can need 3 or more hours of exercise!). I don't mind training a dog to walk with a bike so as to make the exercise more intense for a higher energy dog and I plan to fence my yard with a climb resistant and dig resistant fence. My husband is a stay-at-home dad and we plan to home-school the kids, so alone time should be minimal and play opportunities should exist throughout the day. I do have small children but plan to wait until the youngest knows how to be nice to the cat before getting a dog. So given all of this, what spitz breed do you think comes closest? I'm currently wondering about the Alaskan Klee Kai the most. It's rather small, but I think size is probably less important than coat length or exercise needs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
When I said that size is less important, I don't mean that it's not a consideration. I also would rather go smaller rather than larger for a first dog with small kids. Something like a Pomeranian though would be out of the question as would the miniature or toy klee kai.
 

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Eurasier perhaps?
They seem to be good family dogs.
Do you have them in your country?

the normal German Spitzes (perhaps Wolfspitz and Großspitz would be your type)are all nice family dogs too, if you can deal with the barking...

...please refrain from hugging your dog though and teach your children not to hug dogs...most dogs don't like hugging too much since they see as a domenating gesture and it can be a source of conflict between children and dogs.
 

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I have been in love with the Finnish Spitz forever. Cute little foxy dogs. Decent exercise, but nothing like a Husky, and are known to love children. Like all Spitz, training is likely to be a bit of a challenge.
 

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Just gonna throw the Icelandic Sheepdog out there for you to consider. I know a lady with severeal. She trains, shows, and occasionally has a litter. Her dogs are really lovely. Seem to be s a nice medium energy level, sweet, friendly.
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It's very refreshing to see someone so responsible in their dog search, let me tell you that!

Might I reccomend the Finnish Spitz? They are about 15-20 inches tall, so about Keeshond size, with a beautiful reddish brown coat and need about 1-2 hours of exercise daily. They can bark quite a lot, but they do love to play and make awesome family pets.
The Finnish Lapphund is also a breed to look into. They are also about the size of a Keeshond, with less hair. They are also friendly and loyal dogs, and affectionate and faithful.

I personally love both of these breeds! I hope this works out for you! You could also look into a mixed breed at a shelter or rescue program.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Eurasiers are too rare in the US.

It looks like there are finnish spitz breeders in Oregon. I'll have to look into that one more.

I was looking into the icelandic sheepdog at one point. I sent an email to what looked like a former breeder and never heard back. I threw that one out the window because of the rarity as well. I would prefer to get a dog from somewhere that I can drive to...
 

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I have a Norwegian Elkhound. A little on the smaller side as she was from a rescue and before they got her she was malnourished. She isn't a high energy dog. A good hour to hour and a half a day and she is good to go. Her coat does require the seasonal brushing when she sheds her undercoat, but I think it is very manageable. They have the same color coat as a Keeshond, but it is less fluffy. I am a bit bias but I do love Elkies ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
For some reason I thought elkhounds were bigger than they are and haven't looked into them. There are multiple breeders in Oregon. I will look into them as well!
 

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Take another look at Keeshonden! Keep in mind that almost all "official" pictures you see will be a dog in-coat, and likely groomed up the wazoo. There are also some dogs/breeders that simply produce less coat. (and females will have less coat than males)

Keesies are definitely less fluffy than Sammys! Granted, they do have longer-ish fur, but it's not really all that bad. My girl is a BYB so her coat is not stellar by any means - but I've some really high-quality keesies, and in person their coats are absolutely "normal" when not all puffed out for the show ring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So I put together a rough outline of a road trip to see breeders for the following breeds:

* Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
* Brittany
* Alaskan Klee Kai
* American Eskimo Dog
* Norwegian Elkhound
* Keeshond
* Finnish Spitz

I figured we may as well look at the breeds I was considering prior to deciding a spitz might be the way to go and I included all the spitz breeds I might potentially be interested in that are within a reasonable distance. I considered looking at the Icelandic Sheepdog, but the closest breeder is 10 and a half hours away... if you're NOT traveling with children! So... We decided to stick to closer breeders. The furthest one is about 5 and a half hours away. Traveling with small children (15 months and 3.5 years), the trip altogether would be about 4 days and 3 nights. However, it seemed like a lot of travel and a lot of breeders. In the end, my husband and I decided to pair it down to three breeds for a preliminary trip. It wouldn't actually cut down all that much on the distance driven, however, but it should be more manageable and leave us feeling less overwhelmed with options. If we find a dog that just seems perfect, we'll go with it. If we're left wondering about the other breeds, we'll plan a second trip.

I'm really interested in the Klee Kai and my husband is really interested in the Finnish Spitz. I'm also rather interested in it. We're also still curious about the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. So, we're going to go see those breeds.

Here's about what our road trip will look like:

https://goo.gl/maps/qMRj3shn7uM2

We plan to go camping and hiking along the way since there are some BEAUTIFUL areas we'll be driving through. We'll also be spending the night at my in-laws, and possibly doing a different rout and spending the night at my parent's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
We decided to look at:

* Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
* Alaskan Klee Kai
* Finnish Spitz

instead of the full list. If, after looking at those breeds, we're still left wondering about the others, we'll check them out. If one just seems right, we'll go with it. I have a feeling it will be the Finnish Spitz because I think my husband will like them, but I want a Klee Kai too...
 

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@HelloToYou - That's a nice list. I am partial to the Finnish Spitz, they're too cute.

Be super vigilant about the Klee Kai breeders. They are super popular right now, which means very unscrupulous people are mass-breeding them. (See: "Miniature American Shepherd", Any sort of Doodle, and of course, the Pugle. =/ )

Good luck and please keep us updated on which direction you go! Especially puppy pictures, feed my addiction!
 

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I would say Norwegians Elkhounds, Finnish Spitzes or Icelandic Sheepdogs like the others said. In terms of Klee Kais...I wouldn't really say they're good with small kids. I've never met one that wasn't a quivering ball of anxiety and they're not the hardiest of dogs that are suited to being around kids. Someone with more Klee Kai experience can correct me but that's just what I've seen. Also, the breeds I suggested aren't as super fluffy as others, but if you want a spitz type dog, you will have to deal with a lot of hair.
 

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We decided to look at:

* Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
* Alaskan Klee Kai
* Finnish Spitz

instead of the full list. If, after looking at those breeds, we're still left wondering about the others, we'll check them out. If one just seems right, we'll go with it. I have a feeling it will be the Finnish Spitz because I think my husband will like them, but I want a Klee Kai too...
I have a friend in Vancouver who is a Toller fancier and she said that Kijabe Winds and Readyfor Tollers are good breeders but to stay clear of Tollchester. She and her boyfriend had a really great dog from Kijabe. All of those breeders are in British Columbia
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well change of plans. We seem to be narrowing in on a breed. We have plans to go to Klamath Falls (5 hours from where I live) to visit a Finnish Spitz breeder. If the breed feels right, we'll likely stick with it. So no big road trip (probably). This is the first breed where it doesn't feel like one of us is compromising if we decide to get it.
 

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Initially, I wanted a klee kai, Keeshond mix,


What I want is a medium sized Spitz type dog that has a medium coat and can do well with an hour of exercise a day

I'm currently wondering about the Alaskan Klee Kai the most. It's rather small, but I think size is probably less important than coat length or exercise needs.
I snipped out some bits.

I have to ask...what where you envisioning when you said you desired a keeshon x klee kai? A shorter coated keeshon?

You are right most of the spitz clan seems to be either big and in need of lots of exercise or small and fluffy up the wazoo.

It really comes down to one group of spitzen being working dogs which is why they have a more normal coat and big energy while the other group has been bred for companionship and fluffy coat was a desirable trait.

Someone else suggested the Finnish Spitz and you seem to be really considering that. I'd love to get one someday as well. Note, though, they can be real barkers. And most are still hunting dogs at their hearts so while exercise isn't as demanding as with a sled dog or laika, it needs more exercise than a german spitz, american eskimo, etc.

The Klee Kai is a breed I've recommended to people who want a husky because of it's looks but who are probably unprepared for the husky energy or mentality.

A couple things to keep in mind though. The Klee Kai started out as an oops breeding between a sled dog of unknown type (often called an alaskan husky) and a smaller dog of unknown breed. And then there were various additional breedings of sled dogs to smaller dogs, often german spitzes/american eskimo.

The dog was bred based on looks first...trying to create a miniature husky. I think they have good personalities to be pets, but I think this is a great trait carried over from their american eskimo/german spitz blood not something that was actually bred for.

This means that temperament as a much secondary characteristic bred for, can be hit or miss.

Note, some klee kai have relatively short coats like a siberian husky, while others are quite poofy. The ones that look the most like mini siberians get the most pictures online. It's hard to tell how many grow up to be more poofy. But absolutely some do.

I am sure you realize there are 3 size types, and size isn't breeding true. While you are unlikely to get a large size form mating a small x small the medium x medium do produce pups that grow up into small and into large.

Because this breed has exploded in popularity, a lot of people are producing dogs to meet the demand with less attention paid to quality. Plus some are just sleddog x small dog mixes. Not that a klee kai is somehow fundamentally different, it was about 30 years ago that it was the same exact thing...it's just important to note that is out there.
 
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