Chinook – The Versatile Working Dog


For thousands of years, dogs were already a part of our lives. People used them in various works, such as hunting, herding, guarding, bomb detection, and many others. The vast field of works for dogs allows them to be active and develop a more substantial body and healthier minds. One dog that is known for this feature is the Chinook.

Chinook is a large dog that is the pride of Wonalancet, New Hampshire. This breed is equipped with a muscular and athletic body that is perfect for various kinds of work. It is packed with qualities that make it an incredible working dog. Intelligence, loyalty, and strength are its key factors to becoming a superior breed. This dog is tough throughout history as it survived the brink of extinction and still managed to have a healthy population today.

Origins of the Chinook

Like most dogs today, the Chinook was a creation out of necessity. We can trace back its origins to the late 19th century in Wonalancet, New Hampshire, wherein lived a 24-year-old adventurer named Arthur Treadwell Walden. As expected from a polar explorer, Walden was fond of traveling in different locations, which usually consists of high and snowy areas.

When he returned home to his hometown, he was determined to create a unique breed of snow dogs, which could help him during his expedition. Walden used a mastiff-type dog for his creation, which eventually succeeded in producing an all-around worker. Walden called this breed Chinook, which means ‘warm wind’ in Native Americans. This dog was the ancestor of the modern Chinooks in our world today.

It didn’t take long for the Chinook to gain recognition in various work fields, mainly sledding. It was admired by many dog lovers for its muscular appearance, as well as its affectionate and friendly nature. However, the Siberian Husky eventually surpassed its popularity years after.

Interestingly, the greatness of the Chinook didn’t stop there. In 1928, Walden and his Chinook dogs were part of Admiral Richard Byrd’s expedition in Antarctica. As expected, the group of thirteen dogs made an outstanding performance in the journey since they helped in moving roughly 3,500 pounds of supplies from ship to base.

However, when Walden died in 1947, the population of the Chinook drastically declined. A significant drop in the large population produced by Walden made the breed almost extinct. Because of this, the Guinness World Records listed the Chinook as the rarest dog breed in 1965. During this time, the breed only had 125 known specimens in existence and continued to drop further. This major downfall in the population of the Chinook created awareness among many dog lovers around the world, especially to Chinook enthusiasts. It sparked their interests, which gradually made improvements in restoring the breed to its former glory.

Characteristics of the Chinook

Height: 22 – 26 inches

Weight: 50 – 90 pounds

Life Expectancy:  12 – 15 years

Hypoallergenic: No

As mentioned earlier, the Chinook is a large dog that could stand up to twenty-six inches tall and weighs up to ninety pounds. Power is truly evident in this breed since its massive body is accompanied by a muscular physique. Furthermore, don’t let its large body deceive you since it is also packed with outstanding agility, making it an excellent sled-dog.

Moreover, the Chinook has a simple appearance. It has a wide head, along with dark eyes and ears. Its body is covered with a beautiful short brown coat.

The greatness of the Chinook is not limited to its appearance and versatile skillset. It is always known to be an affectionate dog and is highly devoted to its owner. Despite its large and muscular body, the Chinook has a soft heart towards its family, especially with children. Because of their calm nature, they could make an outstanding working dog and family companion.

The Chinook is a dog that possesses essential qualities for various works. It is very trainable, which is ideal for most activities. This breed is capable of working in different fields, but there are activities where the Chinook truly excels, which includes sledding, carting, agility, search-and-rescue work, and herding. Training is also important to this dog to help it maintain a strong and healthy body.