Originated in the United States during the early 1900s, the Chinook is a rare breed that was bred for the original purpose of pulling sleds. They were developed by Arthur Walden of Wonalancet, New Hampshire who wished to create his own line of sled dogs that could act as all-purpose working dogs but also have an affectionate temperament as companions. This new sled dog breed, the result of crossing Greenland Huskies with Mastiff-type farm dogs, was named after one of Walden's lead sledders called Chinook. It is believed that the Belgian Shepherd and German Shepherd Dog were incorporated into the lineage as well to improve their working abilities. After Walden's death in 1947, the Chinook almost went into extinction if it were not for dedicated breed enthusiasts who brought the breed back from the brink, eventually earning their title of New Hampshire's official state dog.
Developed to have the strength of your average freighting breed and the speed of a racing sled dog, the Chinook is both athletic and powerfully built. They have a thick tawny-colored double-coat that consists of a coarse topcoat over a soft and downy undercoat to protect them from the cold conditions of the Northern United States. Chinooks have dark almond-shaped eyes, V-shaped ears that are well-furred, and an aquiline muzzle with a large black nose, giving them the impression of dignity and power. The tail of the breed is "saber-shaped" and well-coated.
Although the Chinook was bred specifically to be a hard-working sled dog, they also inherited the friendly and gentle temperament of their Northern breed ancestors, but they can be a little reserved at times towards strangers. These intelligent workers are known for their eagerness to please, durability, and versatility. Due to their high intelligence, Chinooks are easy to train and learn quickly with positive reinforcement, even being seen as therapy and service dogs. The breed is known for not being a nuisance barker and may not be the ideal choice for watchdog duty because of their welcoming disposition but they do make entertaining howling or "woo-woo" sounds like other Northern breeds. The calm and non-aggressive temperament of the Chinook makes them a great family companion due to their patient disposition towards children and ability to get along well with other animals. While they can be quite easy-going and mellow in the home, these active dogs do require plenty of opportunities for exercise such as walks, runs, or general playtime outdoors to stay in proper condition. Even though it may take some time to find a puppy, the Chinook is well worth the wait if you are looking for a rugged working dog that can also be a devoted family pet.