Chinook got its name from the breed’s founding sire. The original Chinook was born in 1917 in Wonalancet, New Hampshire, and became his owner’s idea of a perfect sled dog. Arthur Walden, Chinook’s owner, bred his dog so that the breed would have the strength of the larger weight-pulling dogs and the speed of the smaller racing-sled dogs.
Chinooks stand 21 to 27 inches tall and weigh between 50 and 75 pounds. The head is broad with a tapering muzzle. The eyes are almond-shaped, and either dropped or pricked ears are acceptable. The body is strong, powerful, and athletic. The tail is long and sickle-shaped. The double coat is tawny-colored. The coat does shed and needs twice weekly brushing.
Chinooks are moderately active. They do best with daily exercise but prefer to be doing what their owners are doing. They can be a jogging partner or a couch potato. Without enough exercise, though, Chinooks can become bored, and when bored, they find ways to amuse themselves, sometimes destructively. All exercise should be within a fenced-in yard.
The Chinook dog breed needs early and continued socialization throughout puppyhood to prevent shyness. When exposed to a variety of people, places, things, and other friendly dogs, they will grow up to be confident, well-adjusted dogs. Training is also important. The Chinook is smart and easy to train but can also be headstrong. They require consistent training. This sensitive dog breed does well with firm yet fun training—not too repetitive and not heavy-handed.
The Chinook needs an owner who is home most of the time, as the breed does not do well when left alone for many hours each day. A lonely Chinook may develop separation anxiety or destructive behaviors. They are wonderful family dogs and get along great with kids and other dogs. They should not be trusted with smaller pets. Health concerns include hip dysplasia, cataracts, allergies, and seizures.