Chinook – Everything You Need To Know

The pride of New Hampshire, the Chinook dog is a high-energetic working breed recognized for their athletic build, long legs, big heart, starry gaze, intelligence, patience, and sweet disposition. These hounds were initially bred as the finest breeds in agility and stamina, and they have seen their days of gore and glory. They were designed as dual-purpose haulers, with the ability of freight dogs and the gait of sled racers. Chinook dogs are most suitable for active pet owners who can provide plenty of daily exercises and attention with a large, fenced-in yard where they can run effortlessly. They’ve mastered several pursuits: sledding, obedience, agility, carting, search-and-rescue work, and herding. Since they are large and strong, families with kids are ideal and a great selection as a first pet.

Chinooks possess tremendous physical strength and stamina and serve as man’s sports companions in hiking, jogging, and other canine sports. These rare breeds are generally sensitive and gentle hounds with pleasant demeanors. However, novice parents should be cautious because these dogs need professional, consistent training. Although they can adapt to apartment life, Chinooks prefer homes with big yards. They are diggers, so ensure your yard’s fence is rugged and capable of preventing escape attempts.

Chinook Overview

The Chinook is a large, athletic, hard-bodied hound that moves quickly and gracefully. They have a naturally long stride powered by their muscular body. In addition, these rare breeds are highly sociable with strong attachments to their humans. There is a lot to unpack in this fun-loving, goofy adventure package. Not just maintaining an American ancestry and history but also an American liveliness, the Chinook is an all-rounder for those who want a partner, a hunter, a sportsman, and a companion to live.

Chinook Pros and Cons

Loyal and affectionateHigh shedding level
Pet and kid-friendlyRare breed
Easy to trainProne to separation anxiety

Chinook Basic Information

  • Name: Chinook
  • Origin: United States
  • Group: Working group
  • Size: Medium to large
  • Height: 24 – 26 inches (male), 22 – 24 inches (female)
  • Weight: 55 – 90 pounds (male), 50 – 65 pounds (female)
  • Coat: Medium-length, smooth coat 
  • Color: Fawn, red-gold, tawny, palomino, gray-red
  • Energy: High
  • Activities: Walking, hiking, playing fetch, agility, companion dogs, guard dogs, conformation, obedience, herding.
  • Barking Level: Occasional
  • Shedding Level: Occasional
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Litter Size: 1-8 puppies
  • Life Span: 12 – 15 years

History of Chinook

In 1896, an adventure and sled dog driver, Arthur Treadwell Walden, traveled to Alaska. Drawn by the Gold Rush, Arthur traveled across the Klondike and evolved into a talented musher. Also, he got inspired by the sled dogs and decided to develop his own breed. In 1902, Arthur returned to his hometown and made his dream a reality. In 1917, a litter of three pups was born by breeding a Husky and a Mastiff, and the Chinook breed began. He named one of three pups “Chinook” after the lead dog on his sled dog team. Unfortunately, Arthur passed away in 1947, and the Chinook almost didn’t survive without him. 

  • The Guinness World Records recognized the Chinook as the rarest breed worldwide in 1965.
  • The Chinook breed became the official state dog of New Hampshire in 2009 and was recognized by the AKC in 2013.

Chinook Highlights

  • Chinooks are gentle, intelligent, people-pleasers, and are rarely shy or aggressive.
  • Chinooks enjoy jogging, pulling, and hiking and require 30 to 60 minutes of exercise daily.
  • Chinooks prefer living indoors with their human family, mainly in a home with access to a safely fenced backyard.
  • Chinooks are quick learners.
  • Chinooks are not excessive barkers but can be chatty, whining, and woo-wooing to express their opinions.

Chinook Personality

Chinooks are recognized for their extraordinary companionship, alluring personalities, and a blend of noble royalty and wild hunters. These breeds can be alpha with solid qualities and require a firm and consistent owner with experience who can put themselves as pack leader. They undoubtedly love their packs. However, Chinooks are not suitable for houses where they are alone for long periods, as they’re delighted when getting plenty of attention from their human family. Great with children, other pets, and outsiders, Chinooks have laid-back and sensible qualities that work well in social households.

Chinooks are powerful hounds with muscular, straight, broad chests, level backs, and muscular hindquarters. They also have tight, oval-shaped feet with thick, tough pads and medium-sized, almond-shaped eyes that convey an intelligent, inquisitive, kind expression.

Friendliness Overview

Affection levelHigh
Stranger-friendlyMedium to high

Adaptability Overview

Good for apartment livingMedium to high
Good for new ownersLow
Sensitivity levelHigh
Tolerates being aloneLow 
Cold toleranceHigh
Heat toleranceMedium to high

Chinook Physical Features

Head: Broad, impressive, wedge-shaped head with well-developed and slightly rounded cheeks, medium-sized, almond-shaped eyes, V-shaped ears, square-shaped, slightly arched top skull, moderate stop, large nose, aquiline muzzle, and scissors or a level bite.

Neck, Topline, and Body: Arched and strong neck with a straight and leveled back, hard, well-muscled body, deep, broad, well-filled chest, oval in shape ribs, and a muscular, slightly sloping croup.

Tail: The well-coated tail is saber and set below the topline.

Forequarters: Straight, well-muscled forelegs with moderate, oval bone, laid-back shoulders, flexible pasterns, tight, oval-shaped feet with strong nails. 

Hindquarters: Strong, muscular, moderately angulated hindquarters with well-defined lower and upper thigh muscles. 

Coat: The coat should be a thick double coat lying close to the body. The outer coat is strong, straight, and coarse. The undercoat is dense and short, downy in texture, providing insulation. 

Color: The perfect coat color is tawny, varying from honey to a deep reddish-gold.

Gait: Gait is easy, smooth, balanced, and seemingly tireless. 

Disqualification (AKC Standards)

  • Any eye color other than brown. 
  • Any coat color other than tawny. 

Chinook Temperament

Perfectly groomed, elegant, and athletic, Chinooks are winning hearts. These cheerful little critters fit your house perfectly. They crave human attention and are friendly with strangers. However, these hounds are highly energetic and need lots of activities to be happy and healthy. As a result, these fearless dogs are commonly unphased and approach everything and everyone with curiosity, delight, and enthusiasm. They are not naturally aggressive or known for biting beyond the puppy stage. Thanks to their serene, sweet-natured personalities and strong work ethics, Chinook breeds have been trained as search and rescue and therapy dogs. 

With a constantly-wagging tail, Chinooks are adaptable and happy to live in an apartment as long as they get good everyday walks. They love to play and run and will do well with chase or fetch games, agility, obedience, and field competitions. Their friendly behavior makes them great family dogs, although because these hounds are large, it’s essential to supervise them around small children. That friendliness also indicates they don’t make the best guard dogs. 

If you are getting a Chinook puppy, ensure you have enough time and energy to keep them engaged. They might exhibit separation anxiety, which most commonly manifests as nervous barking. In addition, you can change their stubborn temperaments with proper and continuous training.  

Chinook Training

Chinook’s energetic nature and curiousness make these breeds fun and easy to train. Also, they are well-known for having sweet, gentle, and affectionate demeanors, making them exceptional therapy dogs for the disabled or elderly. Training should be easy as long as positive reinforcement and consistency are the keys. These breeds make excellent companions for novice pet owners since they don’t require a substantial hand. Likewise, Chinooks don’t respond to mistreatment and violence.

Here are some of the training activities that you need to do with your Chinook dog:

Trainability Overview

Easy to trainMedium to high
Prey driveLow to medium
Mouthiness tendenciesMedium
Barking and Howling tendenciesLow to medium
Wanderlust tendenciesLow to medium

Chinook Exercise Needs

Chinooks are active, energetic dogs with high stamina and enjoy outdoor games. However, they need proper exercise to keep their physical and mental stimulation for optimum health. Depending on age and energy levels, Chinooks need around 40 – 60 minutes of daily exercise or interactive play sessions. They may become restless or destructive without proper workouts. 

Chinook’s natural gait makes them well-suited for dog sports like agility and dock diving. In addition, you can play to their pulling instincts by participating in bikejoring or skijoring during summer. In addition to training time, give your puppy interactive toys to play with. They’ll enjoy solving puzzles and relish getting a treat when they’ve solved it.

You can meet your Chinook’s daily exercise essentials by:

  • Teaching new tricks 
  • Walking 
  • Fetching 
  • Playing with puzzle toys 
  • Frisbee 
  • Flyball 
  • Agility training 
  • Hiking 
  • Dog park 

Exercise Needs Overview

Energy levelMedium 
Exercise needsMedium 
PlayfulnessMedium to high

Chinook Grooming

Chinooks are a double-coated, non-hypoallergenic breed that sheds a moderate amount year-round, so you will always find some hairs on your clothes or around the home. In addition, they shed a little more seasonally; twice yearly, they shed their undercoat to prep for summer or grow a thicker one for winter. 

Chinook’s grooming requirements are as follows:

  • Brush their coat every week with a slicker brush. Routine brushing also will help in keeping up with shedding.
  • Bathe every six to eight weeks with a mild, soap-free, aloe or oatmeal-based shampoo.
  • Brush their teeth daily, spending 30 seconds on each of the four outer tooth surfaces. Routine dental care aids prevent gum infections, plaque, pain, and eventual tooth loss. 
  • Trim their nails once a month.  
  • Regularly check their ear for infections such as discharge, spots, redness, or foul odor.
  • Chinooks are prone to many eye disorders, so monitoring their eye color and appearance is important.

Grooming Overview

Easy to groomLow to medium
Drooling tendenciesLow
Amount of sheddingHigh

Chinook Health

The Chinook is a healthy hound with few congenital problems. So, it is necessary to maintain good health care and routine vet check-ups.

Health Overview

General HealthMedium to high
Weight gain tendenciesMedium
SizeMedium to high

Cryptorchidism: One of the most dominant and painful genetic development defects in canines. This disorder affects one or both testicles, leading to cancerous growth or spermatic cord torsion in the concerned testicle or testicles.

Heart Disease: This condition might cause abnormal heart murmurs and heart rhythm. You can diagnose this illness through an X-ray, an ECG, or an echocardiogram. Therapy depends on the cause and ranges from medication to dental care and weight control. 

Patellar Luxation: When the patella (kneecap), which generally lies in the cleft of the femur (thighbone), slips out of position, it is referred to as the luxating patella. Your dog may feel periodic hind limb “skipping,” lameness, or locking up the leg at an irregular angle if the patella luxates. 

Bone cancer: In dogs over the age of ten, cancer is the prime reason for mortality. However, if diagnosed early, you can rectify half of all the malignancies in your dog.

Symptoms of cancer:

  • Unusual discharge from the mouth, eyes, ears, or rectum
  • Weird odors emanating from the mouth, ears, or any other part of the body
  • Lumps and bumps underneath a dog’s skin
  • Non-healing wounds or sores
  • Changes in appetite
  • Lethargy or depression
  • Evidence of pain
  • Changes in bathroom habits
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Sudden and irreversible weight loss
  • Coughing or difficulty in breathing

Retinal Dysplasia: The retina becomes detached and abnormal, causing blindness. 

Hip dysplasia: When a dog’s thigh bones fail to fit into the pelvic socket of the hip joint, it results in hip dysplasia, a genetic condition. 

Elbow dysplasia: When dogs go lame later in life, elbow dysplasia is the most common reason. It’s a malformation of the elbow joint, driving it to deviate, resulting in pain, loss of motion, and, finally, lameness. This disorder most generally concerns large-breed dogs such as Chinooks.

Epilepsy:  This is an inherited condition for which the reason is unknown. Dogs may undergo seizures at one or the other time but look perfectly normal in between the events.

Cataracts: A condition characterized by cloudy spots on the eyes that develop gradually. This disease doesn’t damage vision but causes vision loss in some cases. Typically, cataracts can be removed surgically. 

Flea Allergies: One of the most common allergens, flea allergies in your dogs, can be reduced with the help of regular health check-ups and flea-preventative treatments.

Hypothyroidism: A disease in the thyroid gland that is considered to cause hair loss, epilepsy, obesity, lethargy, dark skin patches, and other skin ailments. You can treat this sickness with a proper diet and medication.

Chinook Seizures: Some Chinooks are prone to a seizure-like disorder called paroxysmal dyskinesia. These may look like a “weakened” seizure, and your pet is awake and looking around (commonly, a dog isn’t conscious during a seizure). Some experts think this is a “movement” condition rather than a traditional seizure disorder. Therapy will depend on their severity and cause, but a vet may advise medication to help control it.

Bloat: GDV or bloat is a life-threatening condition common in deep-chested dogs. When bloat happens, your dog’s gut inflates with twists and gas. The confined gas hinders your Chinook’s capacity to vomit or belch. 

Causes Of Bloat: 

  • Drinks large volumes of water after eating 
  • Exercise vigorously after eating 
  • They eat rapidly 
  • When they are fed more than one large meal per day

Symptoms of Bloat: 

  • Lethargy 
  • Excessive salivation 
  • A distended abdomen 
  • Depression 
  • Restlessness 
  • Weakness 
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Retching without vomit 

Gastrointestinal issues: Chinook’s most common gastrointestinal issues are inflammation or infection of the stomach and intestines.

MDR1 Medication Sensitivity: The MDR1 gene mutation causes a defect in a drug-pumping protein vital in limiting drug absorption and distribution (mainly to the brain). Canines with the MDR1 mutation may have severe adverse reactions to some commonly used medications.

Chondrodysplasia: Chondrodysplasia is a skeletal condition that leads to the development of shorter-than-normal legs.

Recommended Health Tests

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

Chinook Diet and Nutrition

Chinooks are high-energy dogs that require 2 to 3 cups of high-quality dog food. Several commercial kibbles are protein riched, but consider supplementing them with high-quality lean meat and canned dog food. According to the vet’s advice, you can split their meal time into two or three. Each breed is distinctive, and the correct amount and quality of food depend on age, weight, activity level, health, and more.

Chinook Living Condition

Chinooks require the following living requirements to lead a happy and healthy life:

  • A fenced backyard and ample space to run around.
  • A regular exercise regime.
  • Chinooks may exhibit digging and chewing characteristics. So, provide them with toys to keep them engaged.
  • If you live in an apartment, ensure enough time for their physical and mental exertion.

Did You Know?

  • Chinook is the Inuit term for warm winter winds.
  • Polar explorer Arthur developed the Chinook breed during the early 1900s on his farm in Wonalancet.
  • In 1927 Arthur, along with 16 of his male Chinook dogs, went on Admiral Richard’s first voyage to Antarctica. 

Adding a Chinook to Your Family

Getting a Chinook puppy from a reputable breeder is best to prevent inevitable circumstances like health diseases and provide you with vaccination certificates. In addition, it is best to check with the puppy’s parents to ensure their health and happiness. A Chinook puppy may cost around $1000 to $2500.

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