by Carol Browne
Chinook dogs are one of the rarest breed of dog there is (and on three separate occasions have actually been recognized as the rarest dog on the planet). Currently, there are 800 Chinooks registered with the United Kennel Club and 100 born each year, but at one point there were as few as 28 dogs with only 11 able to be used for breeding purposes. Originally sled dogs, this powerful (and agile) breed also makes a great house pet and are marvellous with children of any age.
The first of it’s kind, a Husky Mastiff Mix named “Chinook” was bred to several other breeds (including German Shepherds, Canadian Eskimo Dogs, and Belgian Sheepdogs) by his owner, famed dog sled driver Arthur Treadwell Walden. Walden single handed developed a pack of Chinooks which he used for his sled team (as well as selling some of the dogs to other sled drivers who wanted an advantage with the fast and powerful animal as their lead dog). In 1925, a team of Chinooks owned by a sled driver that had purchased the animals from Walden, became the first team of dogs to summit Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. In 1927, Walden took a team of 16 Chinooks to Antarctica on the first Byrd Expedition of the continent and the dogs were used to drive sleds of expedition equipment. Then in 1941, Perry Greene (at the time the only breeder of Chinooks) took a team of Chinooks and travelled 502 miles in 90 hours, which at the time was the longest dog trek in the United States. Sadly, Greene’s passing in 1963 was a huge blow to the Chinook breed. After only two years, the breed was down to only 125 animals, and by 1981 that number had dropped off to only 28.
Now thriving (although still very rare) thanks to a group of enthusiastic breeders, the Chinook breed is over 800 strong. These powerful creatures are as gentle and loyal as they are strong and fast. Wonderful with kids and other dog breeds, Chinooks make great family pets, and are willing to not only please with companionship, but are ready to be put to work at some task.
- Ten Thousand Miles with a Dog Sled A Narrative of Winter Travel in Interior Alaska
- Big Dogs – Are Working Dogs Good With Children?
- NORTH-WEST MOUNTED POLICE DOGS: Huskies and Other Sled Dogs
- The Husky Plush Toy and Lessons from Sled Dogs
- Pomeranian Dogs – Big Dogs In Little Bodies