Chinook

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55-90 lbs
21-25"
United States

The Chinook is truly an American dog. The original Chinook was descended from a Northern Husky female and a North Pole dog. The father was a mixed breed dog and the puppy that would be named Chinook did not look like either parent; eventually, the puppy’s name became synonymous with the breed. The Chinook is supposed to have been a part of Admiral Byrd’s expedition to the South Pole in 1927. It is believed that the Chinook set records in time, distance, and load weight in the early 1900s. Because only a few dedicated breeders have really been responsible for the proliferation of the dog, the Chinook is considered a rare breed. 

Purpose
sled pulling
Date of Origin
1900s
Ancestry
husky, north pole sled team dog

Chinook Health

Average Size
Height: 23-27 inches Weight: 55-90 lbs
Height: 21-25 inches Weight: 55-90 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Usually A Very Healthy Breed
Minor Concerns
  • Excessive Shyness
  • Eye Abnormalities
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Hormonal Skin Problems
  • Mono/Bilateral Cryptorchidism
  • Seizures And Spondylosis
Occasional Tests
  • Hip
  • Blood Test
  • Eyes
  • Skin Scraping
  • Eye Examination
  • Physical Examination

Chinook Breed History

The original “Chinook” was born on the New Hampshire farm of author and explorer Arthur Walden in 1917. The meaning of the word chinook is warm winter winds. Chinook was the name given to the puppy that would later be considered the father of the breed. He was called a “sport,” a phenomenon of nature that did not resemble either of his parents. Chinook’s offspring, however, did inherit his coloring and size, as well as other general characteristics. The offspring were bred for the strength of the larger freight dog with the speed of racing sled dogs. In fact, pulling a sled was the original purpose of the Chinook line. Only a small number of breeders raise Chinooks, making them a rare breed. Only 125 existed in 1966. The breed almost became extinct in the 1980s, but has made a comeback in recent years. The dog is no longer considered part of the working class of dogs. It has become more of a companion dog; however, they are still great at working in the harness and are very obedient. The Chinook was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1991.

Chinook Breed Appearance

The Chinook is a rather large dog, usually tawny colored, with floppy ears. However, some Chinooks have erect ears; it is impossible to know just how the ears will look until the puppy is about six months old. The coat is of medium length with a coarse outer coat and a thick but soft undercoat. The tawny color of the Chinook ranges from a light honey color to a beautiful reddish-gold. Chinooks may have black markings on the inside corners of the eyes and may or may not have dark tawny to black markings on the ears and muzzle. The dog has almond-shaped eyes which often give the impression of intelligence. Some dogs may have buff markings on the cheeks, muzzle, throat, chest, toes, and stomach. The long tail of the Chinook hangs down when the dog is at rest, but is carried up when the dog is excited. 

Eye Color Possibilities
Brown
Amber
Nose Color Possibilities
Black
Coat Color Possibilities
Gray
Black
White
Fawn
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Chinook Breed Maintenance

The Chinook does have a double coat that can be quite thick depending upon the climate in which the dog lives. (If he is in cooler temperatures, his coat will be thick; if the dog lives in a warmer climate, like the southern United States, the dog’s coat will not be very thick.) The Chinook does shed rather easily, so weekly brushing is a must. Baths are not recommended very often for a Chinook; in fact, experts say bathing only every six months is necessary. Twice a year the Chinook will go through a shedding period known as “blowing coat.” This will last about three weeks, and the dog will need to be brushed more during that time. The Chinook has nails that grow quickly, so you will want to trim their nails weekly. Regular brushing of the teeth will also contribute to great dental health for your Chinook. This active breed can live happily in an apartment if regular exercise is provided.

Brushes for Chinook
Slicker Brush
Comb
Deshedder
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Daily Weekly Monthly

Chinook Temperament

Much like the herding dogs and mastiffs that are ancestors of the Chinook, the dog is gentle and friendly. He is reserved around strangers, however. It is recommended that he be kept in a fenced yard as Chinooks may roam. Chinooks are great with other dogs and with children. Chinooks are not watchdogs, however. This sometimes shy canine is not normally aggressive towards people, even if he is a bit skittish at first. The Chinook is not prone to barking a lot; the dog often communicates by making whining noises or “woo-woo” sounds. They are very active dogs; they enjoy going hiking, jogging, and bicycling with their masters. It is possible that Chinooks might make good therapy dogs. Chinooks do not enjoy the water, and, although they do enjoy a good bit of activity, will become tired of endless games of fetch. Chinooks may dig in the yard also. Highly intelligent, it is recommended that you begin consistent, firm training with your puppy the day you bring him home. They can become headstrong dogs without proper training; some experts even recommend professional training as soon as possible. They are very eager to please and respond well to training. 

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
10 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

Chinook Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
Daily Cost
$1.5 - $1.9
Monthly Cost
$39 - $52

Chinook Height & Weight

6 Months
Height: 17 inches Weight: 35 lbs
Height: 17 inches Weight: 35 lbs
12 Months
Height: 22 inches Weight: 57 lbs
Height: 20 inches Weight: 57 lbs
18 Months
Height: 25 inches Weight: 72 lbs
Height: 23 inches Weight: 72 lbs

Top Chinook Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Chinook breeders of 2017.
Intervale Chinooks
Lebanon, Connecticut
Wachusett Chinooks
Westminster, Massachusetts
Bashaba Chinooks
Blairstown, New Jersey
Desert Sol Chinooks
Gilbert, Arizona
Hurricane Chinooks
Grand Prairie, Texas
SeaBreeze Chinooks
Bangor, Maine

Chinook Owner Experiences