Chinook Dog Breed Information and Personality Traits

Intelligent and loyal and not needing much activity, Chinooks adapt well to family life and prefer to accompany their "pack" on outings such as hiking or camping.

Chinook At a glance
The Chinook Dog Breed

The Chinook is among few American dog breeds. It was developed by explorer Arthur T. Walden after his Alaska Gold Rush days.


Weight Range:

Male: 65-80 lbs.
Female: 55-65 lbs.

Height at Withers:

Male: 25 in.

Female: 24 in.


Floppy ears (naturally)


Exercise Requirements: >40 minutes/day
Energy Level: Moderate
Longevity Range: 13-14 yrs.
Tendency to Drool: Low Tendency to Snore: Low
Tendency to Bark: Moderate
Tendency to Dig: Moderate Social/Attention Needs: Moderate

Bred For:

Sled pulling


Length: Short
Characteristics: Straight
Colors: Tawny
Overall Grooming Needs: Moderate

Club Recognition:

UKC Classification: Northern Breeds
Prevalence: Rare

The Chinook is a rare breed and can therefore vary greatly in size. The average size  is 23 to 25 inches tall and approximately 60 to 80 pounds (27 to 36 kilograms).

The Chinook is a tawny colored dog, with shades ranging from red to silver or fawn. The coat is medium length and dense, well suited to a northern climate. However, in a warm climate the fur sheds and the coat is much thinner.


Bred to be an outstanding athlete, Chinooks are hardy, intelligent and loyal. These dogs thrive in a "pack" environment and may not be suitable in a home where they are alone for long periods. Another dog in the family may help, but Chinooks should be introduced to other pets slowly. Their intelligence makes them easy to train and, because of their non-aggressive nature, they make wonderful working dogs to assist the handicapped.

The Chinook will bark at strangers but will not advance beyond giving a warning. This breed makes a good watchdog but was not intended to guard or protect.

Living With:

Chinooks adapt well to family life and prefer to accompany their "pack" on outings such as hiking or camping. They do not like to be left alone! Long periods of time without their family can lead to destructive behavior. Also, if left outside, they may attempt to dig under a fence. Although they are working dogs, Chinooks require little activity. They are happy to go along on long walks or hikes, but they are just as content to nap on the couch.


The Chinook is one of only a few American dog breeds. The breed was developed in New Hampshire by explorer and author Arthur T. Walden. After returning from the Gold Rush days in Alaska, he set out to create a breed of sled dog with tremendous power, endurance and speed. He bred a mastiff type dog to a northern husky. The litter produced three tawny colored puppies, called Rikki, Tikki and Tavi after Kipling's literary characters. Rikki was the puppy who was later shown to have all the qualities that Walden had wanted, and he was given the name "Chinook" after a treasured lead dog he had left behind in Alaska.

Chinook was large, intelligent and an excellent lead dog for Walden and his team of sled dogs. Chinook was bred to German and Belgian shepherd working dogs, founding the breed known today as Chinook. They are recognized by the United Kennel Club.

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