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What is a Chinook dog?

Three new dog breeds are competing at this year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, according to the club’s web site. These breeds include the rat terrier, the Portuguese podengo pequeno and the Chinook.

I wanted to learn a bit more about these dogs, Chinooks in particular.

The Chinook became eligible for American Kennel  Club registration in December of 2012, according to the AKC’s web site.

The breed was eligible to compete in the working group as of January 2013. The Chinook Club of America refers to the Chinook as a “rare American breed of sled dog.”

To learn a bit more about these beautiful dogs, I emailed breeder Patti Richards of Forever Greene Chinooks in Vermont and asked her about the breed.

Here’s what she had to say:

That Mutt: Chinooks will be getting extra attention since they can now compete at Westminster. What advice do you have for someone interested in owning a Chinook?

Patti Richards: Do your homework. Then contact a lot of breeders.

Be willing to travel to get the best puppy. Ask a lot of questions.

Check health clearances. Are the parents registered with both AKC and UKC (United Kennel Club)? Ask about the health of the parents, grandparents and parents’ and grandparents’ siblings.

Ask about other litters from the parents. How is their health and temperaments?

TM: How long have you owned Chinooks?

PR: My husband’s great-grandfather was Perry Greene, so he grew up with Chinooks. I, personally, have had Chinooks since 1998.

(In 1940, Perry and Honey Greene purchased some of the first Chinooks and “promoted them for many years, becoming the sole producers of the breed,” according to the AKC’s web site.)

TM: What is unique about the breed?

PR: Chinooks are not your usual sled dog. They are hard working but they are also very happy to be home on the couch watching the football game with you. They want to be with their family, doing whatever they are doing.

TM: Do you know how many Chinooks will be competing at Westminster? Are you the owner or breeder of any of these dogs?

PR: There will be four Chinooks at Westminster. Three from New England and one from Washington state. I own and have bred two of the four (pictured).

TM: Is there anything else you think people should know about the breed?

PR: Chinooks need early socialization and training. These are big, strong dogs that are extremely smart so training early on is very important. They are not a guard dog. They do not do well left alone for long periods of time.

Thank you for your interest in our breed. They are a wonderful family dog that wants to do whatever.

They excel at agility, obedience, tracking, lure coursing, hiking, skijoring, bikejoring, and most anything else that you ask them to do. They are friendly, love people especially children, get along with other dogs and cats if they are properly introduced.

Thank you for sharing your expertise!

Pictured on the right is Champion Forever Greene Talis and her son Forever Greene Tagluk. Mother and son will be competing against one another at Westminster, along with two other Chinooks, according to Richards.

According to Westminster’s web site, the AKC will generally consider a breed for recognition if the breed shows “sufficient numbers and geographic distribution” in the United States, and “a growing interest is demonstrated by an active parent club.”


Sunday 9th of February 2014

Sounds like a cool dog. I hope their introduction into the AKC doesn't spur a lot of unscrupulous breeding.

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 9th of February 2014

Yeah me too.