Chinook dog
Chinook book

The Chinook is a native of the United States by Polar explorer Arthur Walden in the early 1900s. He developed the breed for draft work and sled-dog racing. The state of New Hampshire designated the breed as the official state dog in recognition of its development within the state.

Group of Chinook dogs standing guard

Arthur Walden was primarily responsible for creating the breed at his Kennel in New Hampshire in the early 1900s. He used a combination of the Greenland Husky, German and Belgian Shepherds, and the Mastiff to produce a breed with endurance, strength, and trainability. In fact, Admiral Byrd used Chinooks on his first Antarctic expedition in 1927. By the 1960s, only 125 dogs remained, and the Guinness Book of World Records classified it as the world’s rarest breed. Today, there are approximately 600 Chinooks around the globe.

Chinooks are Very Athletic Dogs

This dog is an athletic, well-muscled working-dog noted for its tireless gait, rectangular proportions, moderate bone, oval-shaped feet, and long, saberlike tail. The head is wedge-shaped with slightly rounded cheeks and a broad, slightly arched top skull. The muzzle tapers to a blunt wedge. The Chinook’s medium-sized, almond-shaped eyes are accentuated by dark eye rims and tan markings, giving the breed a kind, inquisitive expression. The Chinook’s high-set, V-shaped ears have slightly rounded tips and may be erect, dropped, or anything in between.

Breed Facts

Energy levelWatchdog ability
Exercise requirementsProtection ability
PlayfulnessGrooming requirements
Affection levelCold tolerance
Friendliness toward dogsHeat tolerance
Friendliness toward other petsFriendliness toward strangers
Ease of training

WEIGHT: male: 60-90 pounds; female: 50-65 pounds
HEIGHT: male: 24-26 inches; female: 22-24 inches
FAMILY: Northern
AREA OF ORIGIN: United States

Chinook puppies cuddled together in a basket

Coat: The Chinook’s thick double layer has a coarse, straight outer layer that is long over the ruff, Shoulders, withers, britches and underside of the tail. The undercoat is short, dense, and downy.

Color: Pale honey to deep reddish gold. Darker markings on the ears and muzzle are common.

Activity level: This dog is a working dog and must have thirty minutes to one hour of vigorous exercise daily. Secure fencing is recommended for this breed.


Major concerns: none
Minor concerns: seizures, CHD, cryptorchidism
Occasionally seen: cataract
Suggested tests: hip, eye; Life span: 11-14 years


Affectionate, playful, and very people-oriented, this is an excellent family dog. Chinooks can tolerate inclement weather thanks to their protective coat, but much prefer to be indoors with their family. They are versatile, willing workers, eager to please, and highly trainable. Chinooks get along well with other dogs but may be reserved with strangers.

Buy a Chinook Advice and Rescue Guide

Buyers may face a long wait for a puppy because of the breed’s rarity. Owners must be prepared to cope with heavy seasonal shedding. A roster of breeders is available on the parent club’s website.

Rescue: CCA Rescue Committee information can be found on the club’s website under “Rescue.” Chinook Club of America

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