A male Chinook
|Country of origin
|Classification and breed standards
|Not recognized by any major kennel club
|This breed of dog is
The Chinook is a rare
or variety developed in the
England region of the
in the early
Standing 21 to 27 inches (53-69 cm) in height at the
weighing 55 to 90 pounds (25-41 kg), the Chinook is balanced and muscular. The
coat is “tawny” in colour, with darker shadings on muzzle and ears; white
dogs are not allowed, nor are other colours. Eyes are brown to amber in colour.
Ear carriage is variable, but dropped is preferred and the head more strongly
rectangular than other sleddog breeds. The tail is a well-furred saber and not
the usual brush or plume of
Overall, the Chinook seems to owe more to
The breed is described as calm, nonaggressive and friendly, though sometimes
reserved with strangers. They are inherently gentle with children.
Health issues in Chinooks are
dysplasia, and eye defects.
The Chinook owes its existence to one man,
Arthur Walden of
Hampshire. The breed derives principally from one male ancestor born in
“Chinook,” who was Walden’s lead dog and stud. Chinook derived from a
crossbreeding of husky stock from the
Peary North Pole expedition with a large, tawny
male. Photos of “Chinook” show a drop-eared dog with a broad Mastiff head and
muzzle. Walden’s leader was bred to
German Shepherd Dogs,
Canadian Eskimo Dogs and perhaps other breeds; the progeny were bred back to
him to set the desired type and was apparently a strong reproducer of his own
traits. Arthur Walden was an experienced dog driver with years of experience in
the Yukon; he was
lead driver and trainer on the
antarctic expedition. He is credited with bringing sleddog sport to New
England and with founding the New England Sled Dog Club in
1924. The 12-year
old “Chinook” was lost on the Byrd expedition.
Control of the core breeding stock passed from Walden to Mrs. Julia Lombard
and from her to
Perry Greene in the late 1930s. Greene, a noted outdoorsman, bred Chinooks
for many years until his death in
1963. Rare and
closely-held by Greene who was for many years the only breeder of Chinooks, the
population dwindled rapidly after his death. By
1981 only eleven
breedable Chinooks survived. Breeders in
divided the remaining stock and managed to save the type from extinction. The
Chinook obtained registered status with the
United Kennel Club in
numbers of registered animals are around 400. The registry has a cross-breeding
programme under which Chinooks are bred to individuals of other breeds thought
to have contributed to Chinook development; fourth-generation backcross
descendants of such crosses may be accepted as registered Chinooks.
Although still used for recreational dogsledding by some owners, Chinooks
today appear to be used largely as family pets. Individuals are also used for
search and rescue,
Chinooks are slowly gaining recognition by major kennel clubs.
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