Chinook (Dog Breed Information)

Chinook – A Truly American Family Dog

The handsome breed known as the Chinook was born in 1917 in Wonalancet, New Hampshire. They were bred to be sled dogs. The original sire, who was named “Chinook” was also the name that the breed would become known by. This versatile dog is also New Hampshire’s State dog. Conceived and bred in Wonalancet, New Hampshire, the Chinook is a truly American breed. Read on to find out the history of this fantastic canine and to see if this dog is for you!

Chinook At A Glance

  • Breed: Chinook
  • Breed Group: Working
  • Temperament: Intelligent, Patient, Faithful
  • D.H.T. Outdoor Ranking: -7/10 For Temperate Climates
  • Worldwide Popularity: Low
  • Breed Origin: United States of America

General Information And Breed History

Arthur Treadwell Walden was a jack of many trades. He was an author, explorer, prospector, stevedore, logger, riverboat pilot, and sled dog driver. Determined to develop his line of sled dogs, Arthur Treadwell Walden cross-bred a female Greenland Husky and his male farm dog a Saint Bernard/Mastiff mix. Born in 1917 this initial litter of the Chinook breed would hold his lead sled dog which he named Chinook. He would go on to be the stud to several litters of pups furthering the breed which would eventually take his name.

The Chinook pups were friendly and loving and made great sled dogs. Their stride effortless and long and had a tawny double coat.  In 1928 Walden, Chinook and his team accompanied Admiral Richard Byrd on his expedition to Antarctica. They were an integral part of the expedition carrying important supplies for the trip. Byrd called them the “backbone” of the expedition, quickly running supplies from the ship to their base. Sadly, “Chinook” was lost on this expedition at the age of 12. As a result of this hard work on the expedition, Walden was given the Congressional Medal of Honour in 1931 and is credited with bringing sled dog racing to New England. 

More History About The Chinook Canine

In 1947 Walden died a heroic death after rescuing his wife from a fire that destroyed their family home. With only a handful of Chinook breeders to take the helm following his death the numbers of the breed, he developed declined drastically. Therefore, the breed was taken to the brink of extinction. They became named the world’s rarest dog breed by Guinness Book of World records in 1965. Approaching 1981 only 11 breakable dogs still existed. Fortunately, breeders ramped up their efforts to save the endangered breed however the breed is still relatively hard to find to this day. There are only about 800 registered dogs are listed and only around 100 puppies are born each year. 

In 1991 the Chinook was recognized by the UKC and was recognized by the AKC in 2013. However, the breed is still seeking recognition from most other organizations. 

General Appearance

The Chinook is a sizable 21 inches to 27 inches at the withers and weighs on average 55 to 90 pounds. They are muscular and athletic dogs with a sleek, tawny-colored coat, dark almond-shaped, black-rimmed eyes. Females are decidedly more feminine looking and smaller than the males.

Body

The Chinook has a well-balanced body. However, its proportions are a little longer than it is tall. They have a broad wedge-shaped head with black eye rims. Their dark almond-shaped eyes hold an intelligent, kind expression. These canines are strong and well-muscled, have an arched neck and straight level back. The chest is moderately broad. As well as deep and filled. Their ribs are oval and well sprung and flatten toward the lower end allowing good elbow clearance for efficient movement. Chinooks are known for their various ear carriages. Such as pricked, drop or what’s called a propeller ear carriage, which means they maintain a fold when held erect. 

Coat

The thick double coat of the Chinook is made up of a coarse, straight outer coat and lined with a dense, short, soft undercoat that lies close to the body. The fur is longer over the ruff, shoulder blades, withers, breeches, and underside. Their summer coat is thinner and coarser than their winter coat, which is soft and plush. Their tawny color ranges from pale honey to reddish gold. They can have symmetrical white, cream or pale goals on their cheeks, throat, chest, breeches, and underside. Their ears and muzzle range from being darker than their overall color to a black shading. The latter is more preferred. They have dark eye rims and a black apostrophe shape in their inner eye.

Legs & Feet

A Chinook has strong, well-muscled forelegs, and oval bones. Their shoulder blades and forearms are equal in length and parallel and when viewed from the front. Their pasterns are medium length and slope slightly when viewed from the side. Their feet are tight and may display a slight outturn. They have arched webbed toes, thick tough dark pads, and strong nails. Dewclaws may be removed. 

Tail & Hindquarters

The Chinook’s hindquarters are muscular and proportionate to the front, with well-defined thighs muscles. Their pasterns sit at perpendicular to the ground. Rear feet face straight ahead and rear dewclaws must be removed. As expected from a sled dog they have a smooth easy gait that’s tireless and effortless with good reach and extension allowing for great ground coverage. 

Differences Between The Male and Female Chinook

Handsome and masculine male Chinook dogs stand between 24 to 26 inches and average around 70 pounds. The females, however, are classically feminine looking and smaller than the males. Ranging from 21 to 25 inches and weigh on average 55 pounds. They also sport a lighter coat than the males. You may also find them to be more independent thinkers than their male counterparts. 

General Statistics

  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
  • Male Height (at the withers): 24-26 inches (61 – 66 cm)
  • Female Height (at the withers): 22-24 inches (56 – 61 cm)
  • Male Weight: 55-90 lbs (25 – 41 kg)
  • Female Weight: 50-65 lbs (23 – 30 kg)

Recommended Dog House Dimensions

The recommended dog house dimensions for the Chinook can be found on the dog house dimensions charts for 440 recognized breeds which includes this dog breed that looks like a wolf.  But to save you time, here are our dog house minimum size recommendations:

  • Door Height: 28.6 inches (73 cm)
  • Door Width: 18.2 inches (46 cm)
  • Inside Ceiling Height: 35.1 inches (89 cm)
  • Interior House Length: 57.2 inches (145 cm)
  • Interior House Width: 36.4 inches (92)

Expected Costs

Breed Average Puppy Cost: $1,000 USD

Starter Costs: $2,000

This is our estimate for initial purchase, shots and a few things like food, a bed, leash, that sort of thing.  Basically, this will get you set up but the costs will be greater once the dog is old enough to get spayed or neutered.

Anticipated Annual Care Cost: $500-$1,000

How The Chinook Canine Reacts To

Babies/Children

Chinooks are known for their gentle nature and special bond with children. They’re a devoted family dog that’s playful and very eager to please. Their patient and kind disposition make them a wonderful companion for children. Sometimes wary of strangers they may act dignified and reserved but should never appear shy or aggressive toward those they don’t know. 

Other Dogs

As a sled dog, the Chinook was bred to be part of a team so they’re very sociable with other dogs. They prefer to be with their “pack” so they are very sensitive to being alone and do not do well being left alone for long periods. 

Cats

All of the traits that make them great with children and other dogs also make them great with cats and other pets however they do best if raised or socialized with them

Other Animals

The Chinook was bred to be non-aggressive so they do well with other pets especially if socialized from an early age with them. They even do well with livestock. Their earliest roots were from a New Hampshire farm dog.

Chinook Dog Care Requirements

Exercise 

The Chinook is an energetic working dog though they have an easy and relaxed personality. They thrive on playtime and exercise needing about an hour a day to keep them healthy and happy. Additionally, these canines form strong bonds with their humans and love spending time with them. They make perfect hiking companions and enjoy walks, biking and going camping. Running sleds was their original passion. But now they can be found doing activities such as tracking, lure coursing, agility, obedience training. They also excel at dog packing, search and rescue and skijoring.

Grooming & Coat Info

The Chinook is an easy-care dog. They lightly shed year-round but weekly brushings keep their coat in top shape. During shedding seasons they’ll need daily brushing to deal with the excess loss of fur but this is only twice a year unless they’re neutered or spayed and that can be a little more often. Clipping is not required or encouraged. Nails should be kept neatly trimmed as with all dogs.

Health & Nutrition

The Chinook will do well on high-quality dog food.  Chinooks are a breed that can put on extra pounds if you do not follow the portion instructions.  Do not feed this canine any cooked bones. If you are going to feed your chinook human food, make sure to know which ones are safe.  If you are unsure, contact your veterinarian.

Chinooks are a strong and generally healthy dog breed.  There are just a few health issues they are prone to, and that is 

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Cryptorchidism
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Allergies

Chinook Dog Training

Chinooks are intelligent dogs and therefore, learn very quickly making them highly trainable. They are adaptable and versatile in their abilities. Using positive reinforcement will end in great results when training these highly sensitive dogs. Early socialization to expose them to a wide variety of people, sights and sounds and training help to ensure good manners as an adult.

Above all consistency is key to mold the behavior of your Chinook. They are reliable off-leash, unlike most sled dogs, because of their strong devotion to their owners. However, these strong bonds also mean that they do not do well alone for long periods or with living outside. While a large fenced yard to play in is wonderful for them they need to live with their pack. A Chinook will tend to jump up when they’re young to be face to face with their owners, so some work will be needed to dissuade that behavior.

Having a friendly outgoing nature makes them unlikely guard dogs however, some may alert you to intruders on occasion. They are also known to dig and this is not a trait that can be trained away. Therefore, it is best to provide a dedicated space for them to dig both for the happiness of the dog and their humans alike. 

Bibliography

  1. The Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds- D. Caroline Coile Ph. D
  2. American Kennel Club
  3. Wikipedia
  4. United Kennel Club
  5. Chinook Club of America

© 2020, C.Valitutti. All rights reserved.

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