Chinook Breed Magazine - Showsight

Judging Chinooks

Dark, warm eyes should meet your gaze. The Chinook is a large dog, histori- cally weighing nearly 100 pounds. In the 1980’s, only 11 breeding dogs remained. Since then, the Chinook has averaged in smaller sizes. However, they still need appropriate bone, size, muscle and structure to perform the job for which they were intended. Bone weight should be moderate enough to support heavy work, but light enough to display grace. Size for males is 24-26 inches and 70-95 pounds. The average size of females is 22-24 inches and 50-70 pounds. Larger size and more sub- stance are preferred but should not take the place of correct structure and movement. Chinooks are a slow maturing breed and will have a gangly appearance well into their 2 nd and 3 rd year of age. And while females may be more refined than males, it should never be so discerning as to interfere with working compatibility. While it can be said that color does not pull the sled, color is a defining characteristic of the Chinook. Its his- torical tawny coat has always set it apart from the other sledding breeds. Other colors have and always will occur, including white, black, and black and tan, but only the historically correct tawny color is acceptable in the AKC show ring. “Tawny” may range from a pale honey to a deep reddish-gold. Dilutes do occur within these acceptable shades of tawny, causing a fading of the coat and pig- ment color and therefore are not pre- ferred. Black masking, black pigment, dark eyeliner and apostrophe shaped eye markings at the inner eye corners

front legs are common faults that trou- ble Chinooks. However, their enor- mous heart and desire to please their owners seems to overcome any chal- lenge. Today, Chinooks remain unequalled as a successful house pet and active, athletic companion. Many owners are using their Chinooks for recreational pulling – sledding, skijoring, rigging, bikejoring, and scootering. Some Chinooks are earning Agility and Obedience titles. Other Chinooks are tracking, performing therapy work, and even some herding. And all Chinooks enjoy close, active relation- ships with their owners, even if they do nothing more than share their time and affection. After a hands-on, close examination of a Chinook, you should be left with a sense of strength, beau- ty, pride and a smile your face. Chinook Club of America is develop- ing a Judges Education presentation and we look forward to introducing AKC judges to our wonderful breed in 2011. If you have questions and would like to contact our Standard and Judges Education committee, please visit You can find our club documents, Breed Standard, breed info and many color photos here as well. If you would like a personal meeting with Chinooks, feel free to contact our club or a Chinook breeder/exhibitor. On behalf of our Chinooks, we look forward to meeting you in the ring!!

are preferred and highly desirable. Dark guard hairs may occur through- out the coat of adult Chinooks and may even appear like a saddle on the back of young Chinooks. Buff mark- ings on the face and chest may also occur but white spots of broken pig- ment such as nape spots and blazes should be faulted. The texture and length of the coat is always important for a sled dog. A coarse, medium length outer coat should lay flat over a softer, downy undercoat. Thinner coats do naturally occur during summer month and in warmer climates, but keep an eye out for coats that are too short or too long. Improper coats decrease a working dog’s efficiency. When, and if, the Chinook you are examining stacks, you may notice that its front legs turn out slightly. This is normal and allows for a more efficient transfer of energy. Front and back legs should be straight, strong, and in pro- portion to each other in length and angle. Feet are very important and should be tight and strong. Conformation should embody strength and grace. A Chinook in motion should be smooth, efficient and effort- less. Pinched fronts, steep croups, weak and sloping toplines, and short


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