The Chinook is a rare breed with wonderful character and impressive appearance. It was initially created to be a sled dog in the state of New Hampshire (USA), which has granted it the status of the official state dog. Nowadays the breed is considered to be truly versatile and participates in hiking, agility and various dog sports, pulls a sled or other cart, and of course plays with children and makes a great family companion.
The Chinook originated in America in the beginning of XX century and was derived from a single descendent. The original dog had a name Chinook (from it the breed got its name) and it was owned by musher Arthur Treadwell Walden. It’s a common knowledge, that he used in a breeding process some Greenland sled dogs and a mastiff-type farm dog. Perhaps the genes of German Shepherds and Belgian Shepherd can also be found in the lineage of the Chinook. The resulting dog combined the power of the big freight dog with the agility and speed of more compact racing sled dog.
In 1927 Walden was made responsible for getting together the group of 16 Chinooks for the transporting provisions for Admiral Richard Byrd’s trek to Antarctica. The original Chinook was also included in the group. The expedition ended successfully with one sad exception: 12 years-old Chinook got lost somewhere along the way and was never detected.
After this adventure Walden passed the right on his kennel to Milt Seeley, Julia Lombard, and Perry and Honey Greene, but they failed to maintain its number. In the 1965 the Chinook was afforded a dubious honour to be put on record with the Guinness Book of World Records as the rarest breed of dog in the world. In 1981 a couple of breed’s fanciers named Neil and Marra Wollpert intended to re-establish the former population of the breed. They managed to find only 11 dogs suitable for breeding program which helped them over time achieve significant increase in the Chinook’s number.
The Chinook got official acceptance of the United Kennel Club (UKC) in March 1991. The UKC worked with the COA (Chinook Owners Association) to initiate a crossbreeding program, which is aimed to bring more diversity and health in the gene code of the Chinook by crossing it with its initial descendants.
The Chinook’s outstanding demeanour is probably its most defining trait and is always emphasized by the fans of this dog. It strives for human presence and attention and can get uneasy and destructive when left alone for a long time regularly. This affectionate and gentle dog forms a close relation with all family and as a rule becomes a fully-fledged member of it. The Chinook is renowned for its love to children. When it’s properly introduced to them your dog will always be kind and amicable with kids even if they want to pull it in some kind of a rough game.
The Chinook generally gets along well with strangers. At first the dog may act somewhat restraint but eventually it will build up a friendly relationship with new people in its life. The most common unwanted behavioural patterns with the breed are shyness and fearfulness but they can be easily eliminated by socialisation. Some breed members are enough alert to warn the master about the approach of a stranger others are completely deprived of this quality. The Chinook will make an awful guard dog, as it will welcome any possible housebreaker and escort it to the house.
As a sled dog the Chinook had to cooperate with dozens of other dogs without expressing aggression, therefore the majority of the members are ok with other animals. It gets on well with other canines and can be relatively problem-free introduced into a household with another dog. Along the way of the Chinooke’s development the breeders pursued the goal to minimize aggressive impulses towards other species. If the dog and home cat got acquainted correctly and timely, it’s very improbable that the dog will somehow harass it in the future. The same also goes with small creatures as rabbits, hamsters, home rats, guinea pigs and such. As the matter of fact in this respect the Chinook is the most reliable among northern breeds.
The most common problems for the breed include:
– skin allergies;
– eye abnormalities;
– canine hip dysplasia;
– elbow dysplasia;
– gastrointestinal difficulties.
The owner of the Chinook won’t spend much time on the maintenance of the dog’s coat. It also won’t require professional attendance and will only demand a regular use of a brush once a week and seldom baths.
The Chinook is reckoned to be a heavy shedder and gets rid from most of its hair twice a year. This process is called «blowing» and during that time you are going to find bunch of hair on your furniture, carpets, and clothing. It’s important to consider that some Chinooks will lose its hair all the year around.
The Chinook is a breed with high intelligence and at the same time it is also apt to be disciplinable. Its willingness to oblige and good-naturedness make it pleasure to train. The dog excels in obedience competitions and agility trials.
Nonetheless, some breed members pose more challenge to train than others, as they tend to show stubborn streak in them by refusing to follow the commands. It wouldn’t be wise to use harsh methods of training with such a complaisant and capable dog so positive encouragement, verbal and food incentives are the best alternative in learning of the Chinook.
The Chinook’s main working assignment was to pull massive sled for many miles across rugged terrain. So this dog possesses exceptional endurance and needs prodigious amount of exercise. It should be provided with ample opportunities to discharge its exuberant energy otherwise certain behavioural issues as uncontrolled destructiveness will quickly show up. Having said that, diligent and committed owner who is willing to dedicate an hour per day to walking with his dog is going to meet its exercise needs.
The Chinook is a perfect dog for families with active hobbies like hiking or jogging. The dog can adapt to urban life but it would feel itself much more comfortable in the household with a big yard or in the countryside.