Height: 21 - 27 in.
Weight: 55 - 90 lbs.
Life Span: 10 - 15 years.
Litter Size: 5 - 9 puppies. Under a dozen litters born annually; about 100 pups a year.
Country of Origin: United States
Activity: Medium. Chinooks enjoy being inside, but are unafraid of any kind of outside work. They save their energy for when the time comes.
Watch-dog: Medium. Chinooks will alert you to new sounds and smells, but do not always bark.
Guard-dog: Low. The Chinook is a friendly breed, and if it was alert towards a stranger, it would probably not jump in to defend.
Description: The Chinook is a distinct American breed of sled dog, with the tremendous power and endurance of the larger Alaskan freighting husky combined with the speed of the smaller Siberian husky used on the tundra. Chinooks are medium to large sized dogs, with a tawny coat and often black on muzzle, around the eyes and ears. They have a medium length double coat that is dense, soft and light in color. An old line of Chinook produced drop ears, which still survives today, but the erect ears are becoming more common. The breed has a saber-like tail, with furry feet which are webbed. Chinooks are said to be extremely good in endurance, strength and speed. They were bred for sledding, and have proven their abilities in the past. In 1940, the breed was challenged to prove its worthiness over the Malamute, Eskimo and Husky sled dog breeds. The sled was to drive 502 miles in Maine, with 800 lbs. of equipment, as well as a 13-year old boy. In 90 hours, the seven-dog-team arrived at their goal without one dog limping, as well as all of the dogs in excellent shape - some had even gained weight! A large working dog capable of pulling light to heavy loads, the Chinook exemplifies a sound athlete.
Does this Breed sound right to you ? Click Here to Find a Breeder
Colors: Ideal coloration runs from light honey color to reddish-gold, with some black markings but NO white markings. Dark markings on the eyes are also preferred, as well as dark markings on the ears and muzzle.
Coat: Medium length, double coat.
Temperament: Calm, non-aggressive, and friendly. Sometimes Chinooks are reserved with strangers, but they are very good with children. They are quite headstrong and do require firm training, but not harsh, painful training. They do not respond well to negative training, but do need to know who is in charge. They are among the best sled dogs, possessing great strength and endurance. They are protective of their family, loyal, and very versatile. Chinooks are very intelligent, alert and quite trainable. They get along very well with children and other animals, but they mature slower than other breeds. They were bred to be within a family or unit, and therefore long to be around their owners. They are not good outdoor pets, as they like to be with family.
With Children: Inherently gentle with children. Thrives as a family companion and should never appear timid or aggressive.
With Pets: Gregarious in the company of other dogs.
Special Skills: Sled dog.
Care and Training: Chinooks require little grooming. Brushing every once in a while should suffice, as some naturally shed, while others only shed twice a year. The Chinook needs only moderate exercise. Walks or jogs will do just fine, and obedience training will keep the attention and body fit the same as a walk. Chinooks should have a firm handler when training. They tend to be head strong, making it difficult for the weak-willed to let them know who's boss. Although they need a firm hand, a heavy hand is not suggested. Chinooks do not respond well to negative training and have an intolerance for pain. They should be trained from puppyhood.
Learning Rate: High, but with a determined trainer. They are very intelligent, but mature slowly.
Special Needs: Exercise, fenced yard, grooming, an indoor lifestyle, socialization and training.
Living Environment: Whether running in teams down a snowy trail, earning show titles, flying through an agility trial, hiking up a mountain, obediently and lovingly staring into the eyes of its owner, or snuggling on the couch with a child, the Chinook is the ideal companion for any environment, as long as it is not entirely outside. Chinooks are not good outdoor dogs, and are best kept alongside their family. The best owner for this breed would be an active family that lives in a rural or suburban home. The Chinook is also suitable in an apartment as long as daily exercise is given.
Health Issues: Epilepsy, hip dysplasia, eye defects (cataracts). Other health concerns include: cryptorchidism (undescended testis), shyness, and skin problems.
History: The Chinook began development with one man, Arthur Treadwell Walden of Wonalancet, New Hampshire. He was the lead driver and trainer on the 1929 Byrd Antarctic expedition. The breed derives primarily from one male ancestor born around 1917, named “Chinook” (Chinook meaning "warm winds"). Chinook came from a dam that was a crossbreeding of husky and, according to Walden, "half-bred Eskimo", who happened to be the lead sled dog from the Peary North Pole expedition. The sire was a large, tawny, mastiff-type male, which was Walden’s lead dog and stud. Walden said the sire was a "...mongrel...a trace of Saint Bernard." The mastiff-type male was said to have been "bred with Belgian Sheepdogs, German Shepherd Dogs, Canadian Eskimo Dogs and perhaps other breeds; the progeny were bred back to him to set the desired type." The 12-year old “Chinook” was lost on the Byrd expedition. Only days after his 12th birthday, the old Chinook disappeared into the snow, no one could find him or track him. The men on the expedition say he left to die alone because his days of service were done. Control of the core breeding stock passed from Walden to Julia Lombard and from her to Perry Greene in the late 1930s. Greene, a noted outdoorsman, bred Chinooks in Maine until his death in 1963. Greene guarded the Chinook recipe severely, only selling spayed female pups to other people. He feared the breed would be ruined if anyone else tried to breed them. The population dwindled rapidly after his death, having only 125 in 1966, marking the World's Rarest Dog in the Guinness Book of World Records, 1966. By 1981 only eleven breedable Chinooks survived. Breeders in Maine, Ohio and California divided the remaining stock and managed to save the type from extinction. The Chinook obtained registered status with the UKC in 1991; current numbers of these registered canines are only around 800. Only about 100 Chinook puppies are born year round.
First Registered by the AKC: 2010
AKC Group: Working Group