When Arthur Walden was searching for a specific breed that encompassed all that was needed, he had to create one: the Chinook dog. The breed coined its name from the originally renowned lead dog of Arthur’s, born on January 17th, 1917 in Wonalancet, NH.
The Chinook breed was born: part Greenland Husky, part Mastiff/St.Bernard type. The ‘Husky Half-breed’ was prized for all the graces needed to work hard: speed, agility, strength, and stamina. What Walden also wanted was loyalty and amicability.What he got was a capable and energetic sled dog, who was gentle and friendly enough for small children. The breed was first released at the Gorham NH Winter Carnival in 1920, and was promoted for many jobs from racing and freighting, to recreation and home life.
Since Mr.Walden’s time in the Yukon during the gold rush, around 1896, he has always enjoyed his work with sled dogs. He would use them as travel and for work in gold prospecting and mining. It was said that he worked with an Eskimo dog in Alaska named Chinook, which impacted him greatly. In 1922, Walden persuaded a local newspaper to sponsor a dog sled race, which kicked off interest in the sport. The first Eastern International Dog Derby ran for 123 miles. Arthur Walden also founded the New England Dog Sled Club in 1924. In the 1920′s he also lead the ascent of Mount Washington, the notorious peak which still holds the record for the fastest winds ever recorded, and home to many treacherous conditions.
At the age of 56, Arthur Walden set out to be apart of the Antarctic Expedition of 1928. He was well over the recommended age limit among other issues. Despite these set backs, he trained. He joined the team and proved to be invaluable. In January, he and his single team moved 3500 pounds of supplies from the drop-off ship to base camp. All was not great on this journey, and on January 17th 1929, the famed Chinook was lost in the Antarctic wilderness on his 12th birthday.
Both Arthur Walden and Chinook left a lasting impression on not only the Tamworth area, but the world. From great accomplishments made by both, to a legacy of a special breed of dog. Both dog and breeder show traits that are revered today: Tenacity, teamwork, and dedication. With a chill in the air, and the peak of Mount Washington gearing up to receive its yearly white cap, one can’t help but think about team Walden and the feats still recognized throughout the area.