Chinook

AKC Group: Working

This Northern breed can be traced back to author/explorer Arthur Walden’s New Hampshire farm in 1917. Chinook was one of three puppies born to a “Northern Husky” female. His father was a large, mixed breed. Chinook did not resemble either parent. An outstanding sled dog, Chinook accompanied an Admiral Byrd’s expedition of the South Pole in 1927. Chinook’s offspring inherited his coloring, size and characteristics. They were bred to combine the strength of a large dog with the speed of smaller racing dogs. In 1966, the Chinook was listed as the world’s rarest dog (Guinness World Book), with only 125 in existence. By the 1980s, only 12 dogs were able to used for breeding in the world. All major kennel clubs are working to preserve the breed.

Size: 20 to 30 inches. 55 to 70 pounds

Color: Tawny (light honey to reddish gold). The ears and muzzle are dark tawny or black.

Life span: 10 to 15 years

Health problems: Eye abnormalities, hip dysplasia, hormonal skin issues, mono or bilateral cryptorchidism, seizures, spondylosis. These problems occur in a very small percentage of dogs (breeders work hard to screen out dogs with any condition listed).

These muscular dogs have a powerful muzzle with teeth that meet in a scissor bite. Their black noses have large, wide nostrils. The oval feet have webbed toes and tough, cushioned pads. The tail is thick, tapers to the end and hangs down when the Chinook is at ease or stands up when he’s excited. The Chinook has a double coat: a soft, thick undercoat lays underneath the coarse, medium-length hair of the outer coat. The Chinook sports a ruff around the neck.

Bred for sledding and carting, the Chinook is a dedicated, hard-working dog. Performing their task is their only concern in life. (This is a dog that lives to work.) The Chinook is a calm, willing, friendly, non-aggressive dog bred to work in teams. Bred to work, a Chinook makes an excellent companion. They do well around children even if they’ve never encountered one before. Socialization will help keep them calm around strangers or in unfamiliar situations.

A Chinook is incredibly loyal; they are extremely reliable off leash. Your daily walk will be the perfect circumstance to train them to heel (to walk beside you, not in front). A Chinook will do best when he knows he’s part of the family; they don’t do well if they have to live outside. They do well with other companion animals and will adore any other canine companion.

For effective training, you should be firm and confident, but never harsh. You are the Top Dog (as exhibited by teaching him to heel; yes, that’s all it takes). If he thinks he is the Top Dog, he will develop a strong-willed stubborn mentality. Positive reinforcement alone can train a Chinook. He will not respond to heavy-handed treatment. A Chinook is a smart dog, tell him what he needs to do or what you expect from him and he’ll do it. Despite his double coat, grooming requires little to no effort. Shedding is hit and miss: Some owners report little shedding while others report constant. As a dog with a double coat, Chinooks tend to shed heavily once or twice a year for a week.

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