Mr. and Mrs. J. Jeffrey Bragg
Box 396, Rossburn, Manitoba, Canada R0J 1V0
What was the Chinook dog intended to be, originally? A show dog? An AKC inbred, health-screened, sanitised, obedience-trialed status symbol? We don't think so! Surely breed founder Arthur T. Walden wanted his Chinooks above all to be sturdy, reliable sled dogs and superb loving personal companions (like his treasured lead dog "Chinook").
Atholl Chinooks is the successor kennel to the Tullibardine Chinooks partnership of Susan E. Murray and her brother Jack R. Murray, which was in turn the spiritual successor kennel to Harry Gray's Northdown Kennel. At Atholl our prime considerations are temperament and sleddog capability. We do not believe that sleddogs can be produced by breeding for conformation, or healthy dogs by breeding for hip and eye scores. These are merely dysfunctional ways of passing the heavy responsibilities of the breeder's task on to someone else.
The future of our breeding programme depends now upon whether we can successfully downsize both Atholl and Seppala Kennels populations to a level that will allow us to breed again. When Jack Murray and Isa Boucher abandoned their dogs and left Manitoba, Susan and Jeffrey were left with a crushing burden of dog care. Moreover, the present economic climate does not make for a good market for Chinooks, a breed practically unknown in central Canada. Not to mention the fact that the Chinook breed has become horribly inbred. Our best hope for the future actually lies in the Chinook Cross litter produced in 2009 by Darka of Seppala to our Tullibardine Duke Ellington (dogs like Atholl Flora Macdonald and Atholl Charles Edward Stewart, shown in the photo below). But the possibility for these fine outcrossed animals to contribute to the registered COA Chinook gene pool now seems quite remote.
ANNOUNCEMENT: 18 August 2011. After nearly a full year of study and careful consideration, we are pleased to publish Jeffrey's Commentary on the COA Chinook Crossbreeding Programme.