Chinook Dog

Breed Registries:

Note 1: From the November 2009 AKC Board Meeting - The Chinook Club of America will serve as the AKC Parent Club to represent the Chinook and will be eligible to compete in the Miscellaneous Class, effective June 30, 2010.

About Breed Registries: The most recognized all-breed registries include the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), the United Kennel Club (UKC), the Kennel Club [U.K.] (KC), and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) — which is not a breed registry itself but known as the World Canine Organisation and includes members (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees. — The Chinook is recognized by the breed registries listed above and may be recognized by others not indicated here. For further details about dog registries in general, please see the document: Dog Breed Registries in North America.




Males: 23 to 27 inches — Females: 21 to 25 inches


Males: Average weight is about 70 lbs. — Females: Average weight is 55 lbs
The dog should have a lean and muscular appearance. Females are somewhat smaller and lighter than males.

Breed Profile:

The Chinook breed is a true American breed who was developed by explorer and author Arthur T. Walden during the early 1920s. The goal was to create a new sled dog breed — one who was friendly with a gentle nature yet powerful, fast and with great stamina. He started by breeding a descendant of Polaris, Admiral Peary's famous lead dog, to a mastiff-type dog. From this breeding, a pup named Chinook was born and became the world's most famous dog of his time — Chinook was one of the sled dogs who accompanied Admiral Byrd on his South Pole expedition in 1927. Chinook's offspring inherited his colouring, size and general characteristics. Throughout the years, the breed has been maintained by a few dedicated fanciers.

The Chinook was bred to be a versatile working sled dog and is capable of pulling light to heavy loads. He is a Northern breed who performs several of the same tasks as the Spitz-type breeds. However, in appearance, he resembles more of the Mastiff-type dogs than the Spitz-types. Some of the typical characteristics of the Chinook include: webbed feet with thick, well-furred pads and an aquiline nose. He is calm, a willing worker, friendly and not aggressive though he may be reserved with strangers and unfamiliar surroundings. The breed works in teams and is therefore not aggressive toward other dogs. The Chinook has a strong sense of loyalty, is highly intelligent and easily trained.

The Chinook's double coat is of medium length with a thick, soft and downy texture undercoat. The outercoat is coarse and the hair lies close to the body. On the neck, he wears a ruff blending into an apron. His tawny colour is another distinguishing characteristic of the breed with the ideal colouration being from light honey to reddish-gold. He should also have black markings on the inside corners of the eyes and dark tawny to black markings on the ears and muzzle.

The Chinook is a rare breed with an estimated 300 to 500 purebred dogs in existence today. Although many Chinooks today are raised only as family pets; many breeders strive to maintain the Chinook's working ability and the breed can be seen working in various areas, including dog sledding, dog-packing, skijoring, search and rescue, sheep herding, agility and obedience to name a few.

The history of the Chinook breed can be read on the Chinook Dog Club of America's website at: Breed History.

Health Issues

The average lifespan of the Chinook is 12 to 14 years with several dogs living beyond 14 years. Health issues seen in Chinooks include cryptorchidism, hot spots (allergic skin disease), epilepsy, and hip dysplasia. If you are considering the adoption of a Chinook Dog puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy's parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the main Breed Listing and Breeders page.)

Recommended Health Screening:

For the Chinook, the CHIC* database includes health screenings for:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Eye Examination by a board Ophthalmologist
  • Health Elective, one of the following: OFA Cardiac Evaluation; OFA Thyroid Evaluation from an approved laboratory; OFA Elbow Dysplasia; OFA Patellar Luxation Evaluation
  • Also listed as optional: Anecdotal Data
* CHIC - The Canine Health Information Center - "is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers." To learn more, visit:

Additional Health Resources:

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Breed Standards

Grooming Information

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.

Training Resources

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.

Training Tools & Equipment
Choose from a wide variety of items from

Additional Information

  • Everything Husky — Your source for information and links on Mushing, Skijoring, Pulking, Dog-packing, Siberians, Malamutes, Samoyeds, working mutts, and anything else you can think of in the realm of Northern breed dogs or dog-powered recreation or competition.
  • Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
  • Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.

Select from the following links to view Breeder listings; Breed Clubs; Rescue Organizations; as well as Books and other Merchandise specific to the breed:

Breeders  /  Breed Clubs  /  Rescues  /  Books & More