When we consider dogs bred to pull freight and work as sled dogs, we generally think of a dog like the Alaskan Malamute: Thick coated, prick eared to reduce risk of frostbite by having less surface area exposed to elements, and a big bushy tail to “pre-warm” frigid air with the hair of his tail and protect tender lung tissue. Many of us forget that one of the best sled dogs around looks nothing like the archetypical nordic dog, but was, nevertheless, bred to combine the power of hauling freight with the speed of a racing sled dog, and that dog is the Chinook. This was the breed that accompanied Admiral Richard E. Byrd to Antarctica where he declared the team of Chinooks to be the backbone of the expedition transport. This was also the breed that, with breed creator, Arthur Treadwell Walden, was credited with bringing the sport of sled dog racing to New England. For the person who wants a canine companion happy to go hiking, skijoring, competing in agility and weight pulls, or just horsing around the kids, the Chinook should be given a serious nod.
Why is this breed so good at what he or she does? A well bred Chinook is athletic, hard bodied, and above all, well balanced. A tireless gait is afforded by good structure: Good rear extension, and a forward reach that pulls real estate underneath the dog with ease. These dogs have the speed of small racing sled dogs, but the strength of a larger freight dog. The dog has some characteristics of a northern breed: Webbed feet and thick, well-furred pads, possibly from the Husky in the breed’s ancestry.
We came across this eleven minute video from 1945 filed under public domain from the Prelinger Archives. It’s called “Chinook’s Children:”
Chinook artwork created from 10 to 20 individually hand cut pieces of paper, layered and mounted on color stock so that no two are the same, by Patricia Peters – CanineCutUps