The Chinook Dog temperament is friendly, intelligent and calm which makes her an agreeable and enjoyable family dog. This is a flexible dog who enjoys a laid-back lifestyle as easily as a more active one.
She’s also a worker, though, and a hard one at that, so if you need a dog who’s right alongside you in the trenches, up to her elbows in dirt, this breed and you are meant to be.
Chinook Dog Temperament and Personality
When trying to decide if a particular dog breed is for you, the most important thing to do is examine the dog’s temperament and personality. Only then can you know for sure if you two are a great match.
For instance, the three must-know traits of the Chinook dog’s temperament are that she is:
If these sound like the kind of traits you would like in a dog, then continue reading to see if you two would definitely make a great fit.
Chinooks are Agreeable
The Chinook makes for a great family dog because she truly is down for whatever.
Have a day of backpacking planned? She’s ready. Would you rather stay in and relax on the couch all day? She’s good for that, too.
The Chinook dog is a very flexible dog whose willing to roll with the punches and do whatever it is that you want to do.
She’s Willing to Work
The Chinook has a solid work ethic and will gladly complete any tasks you give her. This is definitely not a lazy dog.
Chinooks Loves Companionship
She also loves people and dogs to the point where, if no one’s around, she will become destructive out of loneliness and boredom.
The Chinook is not a guard dog – not by a long shot.
The Chinook is, on the contrary, an incredibly gentle dog. She may bark to let you know someone’s at the door, but that’s the extent of it.
The Chinook Dog Temperament and Other Animals
The Chinook tends to be amazing with other animals. They don’t really bother her at all. The only time you really have to be careful is when there is a trespassing cat or rodent in the yard, as she may feel compelled to give chase.
The Chinook is an independent breed, which means she can solve problems by herself, given the time. While this may be the mark of a brilliant dog, it can also spell trouble if what she’s figuring out is, for example, how to get into the treat bag when you’re not around.
What Does a Chinook Dog Look Like?
Chinooks often have dark markings on the inside corners of their eyes, as well as on their ears and muzzles. Some of the outer hails on their tails can be black as well.
Some Chinooks also have markings on several other places on their bodies, including their cheeks, necks, chests, toes, and stomachs.
Size (Height and Weight)
A healthy male Chinooks’ weight can go up to 70 lbs., while female Chinooks can weigh up to 55 lbs.
A Chinook’s height can average between 21 and 25 inches for a female, and between 23 and 27 inches tall for a male.
As for colors, Chinooks come in white, fawn, buff, or tawny, as well as combinations of tan with grey and black.
A Chinook’s ears are like those mystery boxes you buy at the store: you can’t be sure of what you’re going to get until you bring her home.
The Chinook’s ears come in three styles: down, prick, or “helicopter” (floppy) ears.
If you’re familiar with the Chinook and you’re hoping for, say, a puppy with helicopter ears, there’s no way to know for sure what kind of ears you’re going to get.
This is because it is not until after the Chinook teethes that his ears decide what shape they’re going to be.
A Brief History of the Chinook Dog Breed
The Chinook is actually one of the rarer breeds out there.
Did you know the Chinook dog breed is the official dog of New Hampshire?
The Chinook dog breed appeared in New Hampshire during the early 20th century, so it is fitting that this is the breed chosen to represent their home state.
This could be because the breed’s initial purpose was to pull sleds and participate in sled races, which aren’t too common in most parts of the world.
Experts credit explorer, author, and sled dog driver Arthur Treadwell Walden with developing the breed.
In fact, the Chinook got its name from a sled dog that Walden worked with during his time in the gold mines. The word “chinook” means “warm winter winds.”
A dog by the name of “Chinook” lead Walden’s team of sled dogs, and so Walden named Chinook’s descendants after Chinook in Chinook’s honor.
How Do You Train a Chinook Dog?
What’s interesting and different about the Chinook, in comparison to other sled dog breeds, is that you can actually train her off-leash.
This is to say that it is typically fairly easy to train a Chinook.
One of the main things you want to focus on in training your Chinook is to teach her not to jump on everyone that comes in the door. Of course, she means well and just wants to say hello, but a dog jumping up on a person is likely to scare or unintentionally hurt him or her.
That is why jumping is generally considered bad behavior that you must curb.
Something important to note: The Chinook is simply too sweet to be a guard dog.
Some people try to train their dogs to become “meaner.” This is just not possible with the Chinook. So, if you’re looking for a guard dog, she is not it.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
For help with training your dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.
You can also check out our dog training resources here. You will find excellent tips you can implement immediately to train your Chinook.
How Do You Groom a Chinook?
Even grooming a Chinook is fairly easy. Weekly brushing is all she needs to keep her coat from looking messy.
Interestingly, if you neuter your Chinook, then she may shed more often.
Generally, though, her shedding season happens twice a year, so she will require more brushing during these periods.
Trim her nails regularly so that she does not experience any discomfort while walking or running.
Is the Chinook Dog Hypoallergenic?
The Chinook is not a “hypoallergenic” dog.
What this means is that if you tend to develop an allergic reaction when a dog is nearby, then a Chinook is not the right companion for you.
If you suffer from “dog allergies” then read our article on here to find an alternative to the Chinook Dog. We cover over 30 hypoallergenic breeds.
The Chinook, while okay with the occasional lazy lifestyle, cannot endure something like that every day.
Don't let her mellow temperament fool you. She thrives best in an environment where she can play and enjoy a challenge.
She is an active dog who needs her exercise. Else, she'll use up that dormant energy by becoming destructive.
She's up for whatever you want to include her in, whether it’s hiking, jogging, swimming, or accompanying you on a bicycle trip.
That’s the key, though – including her.
This isn’t the kind of dog you just open up the back door for, let her out, and expect her to tire herself out. Just like a little kid, she is much happier exercising with you than by herself.
Take for a long walk every day and make it a point to take her at least four times a week to an area like a dog park where she can run around in a wide-open space.
Of course, because the Chinooks have pulling sleds in their blood, it's no surprise that they have the bodies for vigorous exercise.
Staying Healthy: Chinook Health Problems
Some of the health concerns that you should know about before purchasing or adopting a Chinook include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Skin issues
- Gastrointestinal issues
The best way to know the health of the puppy you are interested in is to ask about the puppy's lineage. A family history should be able to point you in the right direction.
Of course, when you're adopting a Chinook, there may be less information available. The dog's history may be unknown to the shelter or rescue center.
For this reason, it is important to be aware of these health concerns so that you can pick up on early warning signs and take care of them right away.
Helpful Dog Health Resource:
The life expectancy of a Chinook is between 13 and 15 years.
For a dog whose weight can average between 55 and 75 lbs., this is a pretty long lifespan.
How Much are Chinook Puppies for Sale?
If you are interested in bringing a Chinook home as a family pet, the Chinook dog price tag will run you between $800 and $1,000.
For a “top-tier” puppy or one that comes from a higher pedigree of parentage, you're looking at spending between $1,700 and $2,200.
Chinook Rescue and Adoption
If you are interested in adopting a Chinook or a Chinook mix, there are some questions you must be able to answer first:
- Are you able to exercise her enough that she does not become overweight?
- Do you have the financial means to provide the Chinook with the meat-heavy diet she needs?
- Do you have the financial means to treat the Chinook for health problems she may develop, like cataracts or seizures?
- Are you okay with the heavy shedding she will produce twice a year?
If you can answer “yes” to all these questions, then the Chinook may just be the right dog for you.
If you are interested in purchasing a Chinook, the Chinook Club of America, Inc. offers a list of Chinook dog breeders on their website. The website is the AKC's parent club for the Chinook breed.
This means that you can visit the site for legitimate information on the Chinook breed, which can help you decide whether the breed is right for you.
They also put their name behind any of the breeders they recommend, so you can have peace of mind that the AKC has vetted the breeders you choose to contact. The site offers contact information for assistance with adoptions as well.
While there is no shortage of Chinook dogs for sale, you definitely want to make sure you don't devastate the family by bringing home a dog that might be sick. That’s why you need to do some serious research before bringing just any old dog home.
Other Chinook Dog Information
Chinooks are famous for digging. If you don't want your rose garden dug up, you may want to supervise her while she's outside.
The bad news? You can’t train her out of it. It’s just something this breed does, like it or lump it.
Check out our super detail article on how to stop dog digging to get some tips that may help.
Chinook Puppy Care
Chinook dog puppies need feeding 3 to 4 times a day until they are about six months old. As adults, you should feed them twice a day.
Chinook Dog Frequently Asked Questions
In the event you have a question about the Chinook dog breed that wasn’t fully covered above, here is a shortlist of answers to some of the more commonly asked questions about this breed.
Q: What are some of the Chinook’s worst behaviors?
A: In addition to digging, the Chinook can be a whiner. For some people, a whiny dog is even worse than a dog who barks all the time. Interestingly, though, a barking dog is usually barking because he’s bored. The Chinook, on the other hand, tends to whine to show her excitement. So, once the exciting event is over, she typically calms down.
Q: What is something unique about the Chinook?
A: Some dogs of this breed simply hate water. While some Chinooks like water and even prefer swimming as one of their exercises, some downright hate it. This can make bathing a Chinook nothing short of a nightmare. If you have a Chinook who hates the water, you may need to enlist the help of a professional groomer every time your dog needs a bath.
BONUS: Something else unique about this breed is that they’re not huge on fetch. If you daydream about playing fetch with your dog in the backyard, then this may not be the breed for you. She’ll humor you for a little while, but she ultimately gets bored of fetch and would prefer to go off and do her own thing.
Q: I’m thinking about getting a female Chinook. Is there something I should know about the difference between male and female Chinooks?
A: Both female and male Chinooks make excellent pets. Male Chinooks tend to act more loving and attentive than females do. Females are less dependent on their owners and tend to make more decisions on their own.
With males, though, you have to be careful around other male dogs, especially if your dog and the other dog in question are both intact (not neutered). This may become less of a problem, though, if you socialize your male dog while he’s still young. If he’s constantly in the presence of other male dogs over the course of his life, he’s less likely to take issue with them as an adult.
Q: How does the Chinook do with apartment living?
A: You can keep a Chinook in an apartment, provided you’re prepared to give her enough exercise. It is preferable if you have a house with a properly fenced-in yard but be warned: the Chinook has a high pain threshold. So, if you’re thinking of investing in a shock collar to help her stay put, she has no problem suffering through the pain to escape to what’s waiting for her on the other side.
As I mentioned earlier, the Chinook is very much a people dog. This is not the kind of dog you fence up and leave alone for hours on end in your backyard. And, because the Chinook would make for a terrible guard dog, you shouldn’t even be considering this for this breed anyway.
A Final Word about the Chinook
The official dog of New Hampshire, breeders developed the alert and intelligent Chinook temperament for the purpose of pulling sleds. Over time, she became a pet. And, as a pet, she's down for anything.
Running? She'll join you. Relaxing on the couch? She'll cuddle up with you…but she’d much rather go for a run if it were her decision.
The Chinook is a flexible and loyal dog who can make a great companion for the right home. Just make sure you understand the temperament of Chinook breed, as well as, the individual Chinook puppy you are planning to bring home.
Kailyn has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2012, and during that time she has written about nearly every dog breed imaginable. Her mother loved Collies, and so Kailyn grew up with three of them throughout her childhood – including a blonde one who was half-blind! Now her home belongs to her first official dog, Macho, a Dogo Argentino rescue.