The Smart, Savvy, and Loyal Chinook Dog Breed

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two chinooks running in field

The Chinook dog breed has its origins in Wonalancet, New Hampshire, USA. Despite being a hard-working, easy to train, child-loving breed of dog, there are very few around. At last count, fewer than 1000 Chinook dogs exist.

Originally bred for pulling sleds, these hard-working dogs are great companions for those who love to take part in dog sports such as skijoring, sled pulling, dog agility, and bikejoring.

The Brief History of the Chinook Dog Breed

At the foot of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, lies a little village called Wonalancet. It is here where the Chinook dog breed came to be. Author, explorer, and sled-dog driver, Arthur Treadwell Walden, crossed a mastiff-type working dog with a husky dog to create a large, tawny-colored dog with a dark muzzle and ears.

One of the three puppies born from this litter was later given the name Chinook. Named after a sled dog that Walden had come to know while transporting supplies for gold miners in the Yukon. This Chinook became the fore-father and namesake of all Chinook dogs to follow.

In 1928, Walden was asked to head the Dog Department for Admiral Byrd’s first expedition to Antarctica. Walden and his team of 13 dogs lead by Chinook were touted as the backbone of the transport for the Byrd Antarctic expedition.

A Record for the World’s Rarest Breed

In 1965, a total of 125 Chinook dogs won the Guinness World Record’s title of “rarest dog breed”. However, this number declined even further before breed enthusiasts made a concerted effort to turn things around.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) welcomed the Chinook dog breed into its Working Dog ranks in 2013. At this point in time, there were 813 Chinooks registered.

The Appearance, Size, and Weight of Chinooks

These working dogs have a tawny colored outer coat. As a result of their Mastiff ancestry, they typically have a black muzzle and ears. Their almond-shaped eyes are usually dark in color. The pitch of their ears can vary somewhat.

They have a powerful and muscular confirmation.

Male Chinooks have a distinctively masculine look about them. Meanwhile, their female counterparts are typically feminine. Males stand to a shoulder height of 23 – 27 inches (57.5 – 67.5 cm). They weigh in at around 70 pounds (32 kg). Female Chinook dogs have a shoulder height of 21 – 25 inches (53.5 – 62.5 cm), and a weight of approximately 55 pounds (25 kg).

Chinook dogs have a plush double coat. Brushing once a week will keep your dog’s coat looking super! During seasonal shedding times, daily brushing might be necessary.

chinook dog face up close

What Chinook (Dog) Lovers Should Know About Their Temperament

These dogs have a wonderful even temperament. They are not aggressive, neither are they too shy.

The size and appearance of a Chinook might lead you to believe that it will be a good watchdog. But this is not the case.

Above all Chinook dogs are intelligent and eager to please. Early socialization and obedience training will stand you in good stead to raise a well-rounded Chinook puppy. Subsequently, positive reinforcement training applied consistently will result in a wonderful companion canine.

Their Personality: Do They Make Good Family Dogs?

One of the key characteristics of the Chinook dog is its love of children. Therefore these canines make for wonderful family pets. Their mellow and fun-loving temperaments make them great companions for children. In addition, they get along well with other family pets, including cats.

Exercise Requirements: Working Chinooks are Happy Chinooks!

As with all working dogs, Chinooks require regular, age appropriate exercise. You might see this pet lying about the house for a great part of the day. But don’t misjudge and think that they are content with little exercise and training. Chinook dogs need walks of 30 – 60 minutes every day. In addition, they enjoy hiking, jogging and to pull sleds.

4 Health Problems Common in Chinook Dogs

Certainly Chinook dogs are a healthy breed. They have a life span of between 12 and 15 years. However, as with all purebred dogs, there are some health issues that seem to be more prevalent among that specific breed. In the case of the Chinook dog, these are:

  1. Hip dysplasia. A condition common among many medium and large breed dogs. This heritable condition results in the thigh bone not fitting comfortably in the hip socket. As a result, the dog might experience pain and/or lameness.
  2. Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchidism. Defined by the absence of one or both testes from the scrotum of a male canine.
  3. Chinook seizures. There is still little clarity on the cause of this condition. It generally only occurs later in the dog’s life. Medication has proven useful in the treatment of some dogs. But the condition is not 100 % curable.
  4. Cataracts. A cataract is an opacity on the lens of the dog’s eye. This condition causes difficulty in seeing.

picture of chinook (dog) face up close

3 Fun Dog Facts About This Breed

  1. The Chinook breed of dogs ranks 190 out of 193 among American dog breeds on the American Kennel Club popularity chart.
  2. Originally, the word Chinook referred to the warm winds that would melt the Alaskan snow at the end of Winter.
  3. The Chinook was named the state dog of New Hampshire in 2009.

Chinook for Sale? How Much Do These Dogs Cost?

You can expect to pay anything between $ 1700 – $ 2200. The price of a purebred Chinook puppy will depend on several factors:

  • The pedigree and championship status of the puppies’ parents.
  • The costs involved in raising a healthy, and well-adjusted litter of Chinook puppies.
  • This is a very rare dog breed. Consequently, it will be harder to come by.

 Make Sure You Find Responsible a Breeder! 

It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for a Belgian sheepdog or a Bichon Frise puppy. You should always do your due diligence in researching dog breeders. Most importantly, to find a reputable breeder of your choice of dog breed. Some things to take into consideration are:

  • The breeder should be willing and able to answer any questions that you may have about the health of the Chinook dog breed. Certainly, about the health of both parents and of course the litter of puppies.
  • The responsible breeder will take very seriously any testing available to check the health of their bloodlines. If asked for, future dog owners should be able to see health clearances for both parents.
  • A reputable breeder will gladly allow you to meet both parents of the pups. This will give you a good idea of what you can expect from the Chinook puppy that you will be taking home with you.
  • The location in which the litter of puppies grows up should be clean and hygienic. Moreover, you will want your pup to spend its first few weeks of life in a warm and loving environment.

adorable chinook puppy sniffing ground

Adopt! Don’t Shop! Why Not Find Your Furever Friend at a Shelter?

It is always a great idea to adopt an adult dog rather than buy a new puppy. However, the Chinook dog breed is so well regulated, you will be hard-pressed to find a Chinook at your local animal shelter.

Do you have your heart set on adopting an adult Chinook? Get in touch with the Chinook Club of America. Their small network of Chinook breeders might be able to point you in the right direction!

Common Questions About Chinook Dogs

Are they suitable as family pets?

Is training a Chinook to pull sleds easy?

How much does a pure bred Chinook puppy cost?

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