Breed Category: Working
Country of Origin: United States
Average Size: 55-65 cm (at the withers)
Average Weight: 25-40 kg
Average Life Span: 11-13 years
Grooming Requirements: Medium
Exercise Requirements: Medium
The Chinook is a working dog developed in the northeastern United States to aid in pulling loads by sled. The breed was developed in the New England state of New Hampshire in the early 1900s. It has since been named the official state dog of New Hampshire due to its origin and popularity in the area.
The breed was developed in 1917 by Arthur Walden, who lived in Wonalancet, New Hampshire. A dog named Chinook, of husky and mastiff descent was born that year. Walden spent his career with sled dogs and wanted to create a strong, sturdy and hearty breed that would be capable of leading Arctic expeditions while also excelling in sled dog shows. Chinook, the dog that became the namesake of the breed, was then bred with German Shepherds, Belgian Sheepdogs and other dogs in order to help form the breed standard. The result was a breed that had the strength and power to pull heavy sleds.
Breeding continued with a small number of breeders through the mid 1900s. For many years, Perry Greene was the only known breeder of the Chinook. The breed’s numbers declined dramatically upon his death in the 1960s. A few breeders throughout the United States were able to spare the breed from extinction, though the number of Chinooks remains low even today. There are estimated to be 100 Chinook births each year in the entire world, which highlights the breed’s rarity. It was recognised as a breed in 1991 by the United Kennel Club. Presently, efforts are being made to help expand and preserve the Chinook breed.
The Chinook is a large dog that is often golden or red in colour. Its thick coat is medium to long in length and the fur is coarse to the touch. The breed is an average shedder and generally sheds more fur during the warmer months. Regular grooming and brushing will help keep its coat healthy.
There are often black markings near the ears, eyes and snout. Its eyes are generally a shade of brown. It has large, expressive ears that either fold or stand outward from the dog’s head. The Chinook’s tail is long, full and curved.
It weighs 25-40 kg and is typically 55-65 cm in height. The female Chinook is usually leaner and more feminine in appearance, though both genders have a muscular look.
Though it was originally bred as an ambitious and eager working dog, and is still used in sled racing and pulling, the Chinook also makes a loyal and affectionate companion dog.
It is known to have a wonderful temperament and is typically friendly, gentle and good-natured. These characteristics make it a suitable breed for families with children or other animals.
The athletic Chinook thrives on activity, so it is important to give this breed plenty of exercise, whether in the form on walks, agility tasks or sled pulling.
The Chinook is a healthy breed that lives an average of 11-13 years, but it is at risk for common canine conditions such as hip dysplasia and epilepsy. Care and diligence on the part of past and present breeders have kept most genetic disorders at bay, though this can also be attributed to the Chinook’s small population.