Perhaps you are considering getting a Husky because you like the look but really want a small dog. So you are wanting a dog that looks like a Husky but is small. What are your options?
When people talk about the Husky they are generally referring to the Siberian Husky which is a kennel club registered breed. The other type of Husky is the Alaskan Husky. So what is the difference?
The Alaskan Husky is a type of dog rather than a breed as such. They are a mix of the Malamute, Siberian Husky, Inuit Husky, Eskimo Dog, and other breeds such as the German Shepherd. Technically they are a mixed breed rather than a pedigree. They are bred as working dogs and the top choice of shed racers.
Other differences between the two Husky breeds are:-
- Alaskan Huskies are bred for work and sled racing, the Siberian Husky is bred for both work and show.
- Eye color. Alaskan Huskies have brown eyes, Siberian Huskies can have blue or dark brown eyes. In some cases, they may even have one blue, one brown eye.
- Place of origin. Alaskan Huskies originate from Alaska, Siberian Huskies from Siberia as the name suggests.
- Size. Alaskan Huskies are generally shorter than Siberian Huskies. As a guide to the size and weight of each – Siberian Huskies are 40-50 pounds (18 to 23 kg) and 22-23 inches (56 to 58 cm)tall at the shoulder. Alaskan Huskies are from 35 to 60 pounds (16 to 27 kg) and a little shorter.
Is there a smaller version of a Husky
Huskies are a Spitz type breed. The physical look of the Spitz breeds is like a Wolf with their pointy upright ears, long muzzles, thick double coat, and bushy tail.
The Spitz breed is not an official group in the way a sporting breed or similar would be as defined by the Kennel Club. Most of the Spitz breeds were bred for arctic climates, and they originated in Scandinavia, Russia, and North America.
There is not a fixed definition of what breeds are considered to be Spitz-type dogs. It is estimated that there are 50 to 70 breeds that can be considered Spitz-type breeds. These vary in size from big like the Akita or Malamute to small and medium-sized breeds such as the Japanese Spitz or Alaskan Klee Kai.
Although most Spitz were bred to be working dogs, there are some examples of Spitz breeds that have been bred into non working or companion dogs such as the Pomeranian.
So if you are looking for a dog breed that is similar to the Husky but smaller, you may want to consider another Spitz breed. Many of these other breeds have a similar appearance to a Husky but may have different coat color and markings and the length of the coat may vary.
If you are wanting a smaller version of a Husky, the obvious choice would be a Miniature Husky. A Miniature or Mini Husky is not a different breed to the Husky and is not considered by the kennel clubs to be a separate breed. However, due to their smaller size, they do not meet the breed standard and can not be show dogs.
They are the result of some breeders taking smaller standard sized Siberian Huskies and selectively breeding them until the miniature Husky was formed.
The Miniature Husky is exactly like a standard size Husky in all ways with the exception of their size and weight. They have the same temperament, high energy and exercise needs, and come in the same coat color and markings. For a guide to Husky exercise needs see here.
Male Mini Huskies are typically 14 to 17 inches tall at the shoulder (35 to 43 cm approx.) and weigh 25 to 35 pounds (11 to 16 kg).
Female Miniature Huskies are around 13 to 16 inches tall (33 to 40 cm approx.) and weigh 20 to 30 pounds (9 to 14 kg).
This is compared to a standard size Husky that is 20 to 24 inches tall (51 to 61 cm) and weighs 35 to 60 pounds (16 to 27 kg).
A word of caution if you are wanting to get one of these smaller Huskies. In this trend to develop smaller versions of popular breeds, health issues can be developed. Ensure that you do your research well, get a full vet check, and select a reputable breeder.
Alaskan Klee Kai
The Alaskan Klee Kai is probably the most similar-looking smaller breed to the Husky but is a separate breed. The name roughly translates as little or small dog.
If one of the features that draw you to the Siberian Husky is the blue eyes then this smaller version of a Husky will appeal. They too often have that eye color.
The smaller size of the Alaskan Klee Kai may be exactly what you are looking for. They come in three different variations of this breed.
- Toy Klee Kais are between 10-13 inches tall (25 to 33 cm) and weigh between 10-13 pounds (4.5 to 6 kg).
- Mini Klee Kais are 13-15 inches tall (33 to 38 cm) and weigh between 14-16 pounds (6 to 7 kg approx.).
- Standard Alaskan Klee Kai is between 15-17 inches tall (38 to 43 cm) and weighs between 17-20 pounds (8 to 9 kg approx).
Klee Kais have a double coat with ruffs around the neck and tail. They come in a mix of black, white and grey mostly. They can also be reddish brown or silver in color.
Advantages of the Alaskan Klee Kai include:-
- Despite their thick coat they tend to shed less than a Husky. Typically they do a bigger coat shed twice a year.
- Relatively easy to train.
- They get along well with other Klee Kai.
Disadvantages and potential cons include:-
- Shy and aloof around people they don’t know. They usually attach and bond with one or two people they know and trust.
- They can be anxious and difficult to socialize. Separation anxiety can be quite common with them.
- Not generally a good family dog as they tend to gravitate to one person.
- They have a very high prey drive. This makes them real escape artists and is not usually good off-leash.
- Alaskan Klee Kai can be very vocal and howl a lot.
- If you are wanting one of these little dogs, they are hard to find. Tend to be very expensive when you do find a suitable breeder.
Another thing to take into consideration with this breed is their high energy and exercise needs. As adults, they will require a least 45 minutes an hour a day of energy-burning activity. This is less than that of a Husky but is still crucial to prevent behavior issues.
The Swedish Vallhund is a Husky looking dog with short legs. As the name suggests they originated from Sweden. The word Vallhund translates to mean herding dog and was used as a cattle dog.
You may think that such a small dog would not be suitable for herding such a large animal as a cow. However, the Corgi is also a cattle herding dog even though they are not related at all. The Vallhund is a Spitz breed.
Being a herding dog they are high energy and highly intelligent. They do require daily moderate exercise to maintain their health and mental stimulation to prevent boredom.
The Vallhund has a fun, loving, and playful nature. They are generally sociable with people and good with other animals. Their grooming needs are moderate with a weekly brush to remove dead undercoat be sufficient.
A common issue with the Swedish Vallhund is barking. If not trained they can become nuisance barkers which is quite common with cattle breeds. They can also be strong-willed and independent and are better for a confident owner.
The Swedish Vallhund measure approximately 13 inches (33 cm) for males and 12 inches (31 cm) for females. They weigh between 22 to 35 pounds (10 to 16 kg).
American Eskimo Dog
The American Eskimo Dog, often referred to as the Eskies, are another Spitz type breed. Obviously they don’t have the coloring of a Husky but have the pointed ears and muzzle, and bushy tail.
The Eskie comes in three sizes:-
- Toy 9-12 inches (23 to 30 cm) at the shoulder and weighing 6 to 10 pounds (2.5 to 4.5 kg)
- Miniature 12-15 inches (30 to 38 cm) at the shoulder and weighing (4.5 to 9 kg)
- Standard 15-19 inches (38 to 48 cm) at the shoulder and weighing (17 to 22 kg)
They are alert, intelligent, and friendly dogs. They are not shy but can be a little conservative when meeting new people and other dogs. The Eskie is not known to be aggressive.
American Eskimo Dogs are smart and highly trainable. They are great with kids and make an excellent family dog.
The name of American Eskimo Dog is a little misleading as they have nothing to do with Eskimos. German immigrants to the USA in the early 1800s brought with them the German Spitz. These are the ancestor of what is now the American Eskimo Dog.
Due to prejudice against anything German at the start of World War 1 the name was changed. This was quite common for many German breeds of dog such as the German Shepherd becoming known as an Alsatian.
The Schipperke is a small black dog. Despite looking like a Spitz type dog they are in fact not a Spitz.
The Schipperke originated in Belgium as a small breed version of the Leauvenaar. This now extinct breed is also the forefather of the Belgium Shepherd.
They were originally used to guard the boats and catch rats on the canals between Brussels and Antwerp. Today they are an increasingly popular companion dog.
Coming from working herding stock they do have a strong herding instinct. They also have a strong prey drive and like to chase small animals such as rabbits, rats, and birds.
A Schipperke requires at least 40 to 60 minutes a day of energy-burning exercise and activity. They are a playful and tireless little dog and would not say no to more. Failure to provide sufficient daily exercise and result in behavior and health issues.
Schipperkes love to play with toys and can get a lot of exercise inside. They tend to be an active dog when in the house in comparison to other breeds. If you want a small dog with a high tolerance for exercise, the Schipperke is ideal. For a full guide to Schipperke exercise see here.
They are also intelligent, and quite independent and strong-willed, and require plenty of mental stimulation and enrichment as well. Mental exercise can help to tire a dog as much as physical activity.
The size of the Schipperke is:-
- Height: 11-13 inches (25 to 33 cm ) for a male, 10-12 inches (25 to 31cm) for a female.
- Weight: 10-16 pounds (4.5 to 7.25 kg)
The Finnish Lapphund is a medium sized Spitz looking dog with the temperament of the herding dog . Although they are not what is considered a small breed dog they are smaller than a Husky.
A guide to the size of a Finnish Lapphund is:-
- Height: 18-21 inches (45 to 53 cm) for a male, 16-19 inches (40 to 48 cm) for a female.
- Weight: 33-53 pounds (15 to 24 kg).
The Finnish Lapphund is a reindeer herding breed from north of the Arctic Circle. They are very friendly as long as you are not trying to steal their reindeer.
The downside of owning a Lapphund is the shedding which can be managed with regular brushing. They can also become nuisance barkers without good training.
They come in a wide variety of colors and markings. Any color is allowed in the breed standard, although a single color should predominate. The most common color is a combination of black and tan. This should be predominantly black with tan legs and face.
Other common colors may include crème, black, red, brown, sable, and wolf-sable.
The Shiba Inu is another medium sized Spitz type breed. They are not a little dog but are smaller than a Husky. A guide to their size is:-
- Height: 14.5-16.5 inches (37 to 42 cm) for a male, 13.5-15.5 inches (34 to 39 cm) for a female.
- Weight: 23 pounds (10.5 kg) for a male, 17 pounds (8 kg approx) for a female.
The Shiba Inu is an ancient Japanese breed and one of the most popular companion breeds in their homeland. They are spirited and can be a challenge. Training is extremely essential.
The Shiba Inu is energetic and has a high prey drive. This often means that they can not be trusted off-leash. They are also very intelligent and learn quickly.
They require at least one hour of exercise every day or they will become frustrated. This can result in destructive or even aggressive behavior. Due to their intelligence, they require plenty of mental stimulation and enrichment. For a full guide to Shiba Inu exercise see here.
The Shiba Inu can be shy and aloof around people they don’t know. They usually attach and bond with one or two people they know and trust. They are also not always good with other dogs but get a lot well with their own kind.
The Japanese Spitz is another small white Spitz type dog. They are a nice small size being around 12 to 15 inches ( 30 to 38 cm) tall at the shoulder and weighing between 10 to 25 pounds (5 to 11 kg approx.).
This loving, playful, and intelligent little dog makes an amazing companion. They are a good dog for a first time dog owner and are a great addition to any family being good with kids.
The Japanese Spitz is also very people orientated and do require a fair amount of attention and affection. They can also be a little mischievous and at times naughty. They require an owner that can provide good leadership, training, and socialization. Failure to do so can result in behavior issues such as nuisance barking, and destructive behavior.
Japanese Spitz can also make good watchdogs and will bark to alert you to any stranger approaching. However, they are not likely to do much about it. They will more than likely befriend the stranger.
The Japanese Spitz has a true willingness to please and are very smart. This makes them relatively easy to train as long as you focus their attention. They enjoy being busy and love to be outdoors.
They are fairly high energy and also very intelligent and require 60 to 90 minutes of exercise and activity a day but would be more than happy to go for much longer. Plenty of mental stimulation and enrichment is also needed. For a full guide to Japanese Spitz exercise see here.
Overall, the Japanese Spitz is a healthy breed and doesn’t tend to have many of the health issues common in many breeds. They have a life expectancy of 10 to 16 making them relatively long-lived. With a healthy quality diet and daily exercise they often live longer.
The German Spitz is another cute small Spitz breed and looks similar to the Pomeranian. They are about the size of the Japanese Spitz being 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 cm) tall at the shoulder. They weight around 24 to 26 pounds (11 to 12 kg).
The coat coloring of the German Spitz comes in a variety of colors including white, black, cream, gold, black and tan, sable, and chocolate brown. They are smart and highly trainable.However, training and socialization is crucial as they can be a little independent.
The downside of owning a German Spitz is the shedding which can be managed with regular brushing. They can also become nuisance barkers without good training.
The German Spitz is overall a healthy breed with a low incidence of serious health problems. However, they can be prone to becoming overweight or obese. It is important to manage their diet and weight.
They are a lively and energetic dog and enjoy long walks. However, they can also cope with being an indoor dog, but they are reasonably active and require 30 minutes of outdoor activity daily. It is a reasonably high-energy breed in the home, rarely lying still unless there is nothing going on around it.
The Finnish Spitz obviously originates from Finland. They were originally a hunting breed used to hunt a range of prey from squirrels and other rodents to bears. they would locate the game and indicate it’s location by barking.
Size-wise they are 17.5 to 20 inches (44.5 to 51 cm) for the males and 15.5 to 18 inches (39 to 46 cm) for females. They weigh 25 to 33 pounds (11 to 15 kg) for males and 20 to 28 pounds (9 to 13 kg) for females.
They are a friendly and playful dog. Like many of the Spitz breeds they do shed a lot and can be real barkers. The color is typically a golden-red with variations from pale honey to dark.
If you are wanting a cute toy sized companion dog that has the Spitz look, the Pomeranian is the ideal dog. These little dogs are usually around 7 to 12 inches (18 to 30 cm)tall and weigh 3 to 7 pounds (1.5 to 3 kg).
They are an affectionate and friendly dog but often think they are much bigger than they are. The Pom is good with kids, but it is important the children understand they are fragile.
Summary – small dogs that look like Huskies
If you are wanting a small dog that has similar looks to a Husky there are many possible options. If you want a small dog that looks exactly like a Husky, then the Miniature Husky is the obvious choice.
The Mini or Miniature Husky is actually a Husky but though selective breeding of smaller standard Huskies there size has been bred down.
The next option would be the Alaskan Klee Kai. These are a completely different breed
If one of the features that draw you to the Siberian Husky is the blue eyes then either the Klee Kai or Mini Husky will appeal. They too often have that eye color.
There are many other small to medium size Spitz Type Breeds that may suit your better. The physical look of the Spitz breeds is like a Wolf with their pointy upright ears, long muzzles, thick double coat, and bushy tail.
The list above gives you some ideas of some Spitz breed dogs that may appeal. the one exception in the list is the Schipperke. This breed looks similar to a Spitz dog but is in fact from sheep dog lineage.