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Chinooks

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years ago

Chinook sled dog

 

The Chinook sled dog breed was developed by Arthur Treadwell Walden in the 1920s. At first it consisted almost exclusively of the progeny of Walden's famous lead dog The Great Chinook, a large (100-pound) red-fawn freighting dog of whom Walden was inordinately fond. Chinook himself was the son of a nondescript yellow male of mastiff type, named Kim, bred to a husky bitch descended from Admiral Peary's Greenland lead dog Polaris, named Ningo. Chinook was bred to a variety of females, German Shepherds, Belgian Shepherds and perhaps also huskies.

Walden raced his Chinooks against the team of Leonhard Seppala in a challenge point-to-point race in 1927 and lost, despite a series of misadventures on the trail for Seppala. Walden thereafter adjusted his breeding programme towards a somewhat lighter and faster kind of sleddog.

When Walden lost Chinook Kennels after his return from the Byrd Antarctic Expedition, the main breeding line passed to the Wonalancet-Hubbard kennels of Julia P. Lombard and, when she retired in 1940, to Maine outdoorsman Perry Greene. Greene died in 1963 and his kennels were continued by veterinary Dr. Harold Smead. In 1982 the Perry Green kennels failed and the remaining dogs had to be rescued. Only a dozen dogs survived, and since that time the history of the breed has been one of forced inbreeding, Outcross programmes and attempts to re-create and revive Arthur Walden's original American breed.

At present the breed is politically divided among several registries and breeder organisations, with no general agreement among breeders about its future direction. Some would like to see it continue to be a working sleddog, others see its future as a house pet, and recently the American Kennel Club has opened its Foundation Stock Service (F.S.S.) to Chinooks in a bid to seize control of the breed and turn it into an A.K.C. show dog. A small registry of working Chinooks is maintained by the International Seppala Association.

 

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