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Chinook

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Is the Chinook right for you?

Species group:

The basics:
Three times listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the rarest dog alive, the Chinook is a powerful sled dog breed with a roller-coaster history. The original breeder was a New Hampshire dog driver who wanted to create a sled dog of exceptional strength that was capable of pulling heavy loads that faster breeds like the Siberian Husky couldn't manage. Chinook dogs served as sled dogs during Admiral Byrd's exploration of Antarctica-- in fact, the original "Chinook" for whom the breed was named gave his life in the expedition-- but there were a scant 11 Chinooks left alive by 1981. Today, the breed is once again on the upswing, becoming well-established enough to win official recognition from the America Kennel Club (AKC) in 2010.

As you might guess from its achievements, the Chinook is a powerful working dog with energy to burn which benefits from something to do. If you're an outdoorsy person in a cooler climate seeking a sledding or backpacking companion, the Chinook could be an excellent choice.

Appearance / health:
The Chinook is a large dog with a hard muscular body and a saber tail. They have a broad skull and a tapered muzzle. The cheeks appear chiseled. The almond-shaped eyes are moderate in size and usually dark brown in color. The ears are set wide apart on the head and are well furred. The chest is deep and moderately broad.

Chinooks require little grooming. They shed heavily for a week about twice a year.

They require moderate to high amounts of exercise. Puppies must not be over-exercised. Adult puppies may enjoy running and walking long stretches. Swimming, hiking, and jogging are suitable activities for these dogs.

The breed is generally healthy though few Chinooks may be prone to epilepsy (a disorder characterized by convulsions), hip dysplasia (a condition marked by badly formed hips that causes lameness), and eye problems.

Behavior / temperament:
Chinook dogs are highly intelligent and responsive to their owner's commands. They are not aggressive though they may bark at strangers. These versatile dogs excel in pulling large loads. They mature slowly, often taking 3-4 years to grow to an adult. They are prone to digging though they do not jump much. If kept away from their masters for too long, these dogs may develop problems and some may turn destructive.

Chinooks do not respond to harsh, training methods and require firm, consistent training. Obedience training and early socialization is necessary to keep the breed in control.

They are not very noisy.

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