Welcome to Rain Mountain
What's a Chinook --
Meet the Family --
Getting Your Chinook & Our Breeding Program --
Chinook Health --
For More Information --
It was pointed out to me that most people didn't give a hoot about working ability, the role of conformation showing, or whether litters were out crosses or linebred so I've revised this section so you can get right down to the meat of it all -- how to get a Chinook for your family, be it a pup from one of our litters or an adult that is being rehomed. If you're still interested in the rest after that, you can learn about the more esoteric points of breeding Chinooks.
An excellent article: http://rufflyspeaking.net/blog/puppy-buyer-ettiquette/
I wish I had the time and resources to give everyone that wanted one a Chinook pup but that just isn't the case. I have a day job and Rain Mountain Chinooks is not a large kennel. It's just my home. The dogs in our breeding program are pets, either mine here in my home or in the homes of my friends. Typically I only breed a litter once every year or every other year. Breeding Chinooks is a hobby that has to be fit in around other job, family, and personal demands. I do have to add that it's a hobby I enjoy and find fulfilling. Other than the puppy poop, raising Chinooks is a lot of fun and a good way to meet nice people.
So here's the process: You need to do your due diligence. Read through the section of "Questions to Ask Every Breeder." These are posted on the website of the Chinook Owners Association. (In fact, I helped to write them.) I've posted my answers along with each question so you'll learn a bit about me in the process. You will want to review the section I have on Basic Requirements, Visits, & Cost so that you are up to speed on these subjects. These are going to be pretty typical for all Chinook breeders and where I'm out of the ordinary, I'll point that out so you'll be aware if you're talking to other breeders too. Chinook breeders are a bit communistic in that we share the names of people who are looking so that we can make sure everyone who wants a Chinook gets one if possible. I've also got a Prospective Owner Questionnaire I'd like to have you fill out. This tells me about you so I'll know what you're looking for in your Chinook. I try to match the dog to the family for the best fit. I want every pup to go to a home that will last forever so it works best if I match the pup to your home instead of you trying to pick a pup based on a single one hour visit or just exchanging photos via email. So that you won't be caught by surprise, I've included a typical Ownership Agreement here as well. In reality, each one is slightly different so that it can reflect the unique situation of your family and home life. But there are some things that are universal to all of them such as the fact that if you can't keep the Chinook for any reason it will come back to me instead of going to any sort of shelter or humane society.
After you've looked at all of these, you'll want to look over the Upcoming Litters that are planned. Remember Mother Nature is in control, not me. Between fall of 2008 and spring of 2011 I tried and had three breedings fail before the Serenity Litter was finally born in June of 2011. There are no guarantees in this business. I also can't guarantee the number of pups. Lolo had seven in her first litter, the one that she planned herself, yet in her second litter, which was timed exactly, she only had three pups. I had to disappoint a lot of people including myself. This is where the Prospective Ownership Questionnaires come in handy. When there's a question of too few pups and too many people that want them, I go by the dates on these and they give me an easy way to pass you on to other breeders.
You may also want to check out the Available Adults. Chinooks are a breed bursting with love and virtually all of them have no problem with moving to a new home. They will fall in love with a new family and settle in with training and encouragement. Since they are long lived for a breed of their size (typically living to about fourteen years old and sometimes more), even a 7 year old dog has a long life ahead of him.
This list of questions is also on the Chinook Owners Association website at www.chinook.org. I've included it here so you can see our answers as well as the questions.How long have you been involved with this breed? Can you provide me with references?
Ginger Corley began Rain Mountain in 1988 after many years involvement with other purebred and mixed breed dogs. At that time there were only about a hundred Chinooks alive in the whole world. Becoming actively involved with breeding purebred sled dogs had been the dream of a lifetime and was begun with specific goals and long term plans.
Rain Mountain would not be here today without the help of many friends and family. Larry Smith, Ellie Corley and Teri Corley, Chad Peterson, Stephanie Broughton, and Kurt Dally all were very helpful through the first ten years. JoAnn Filce and her daughter Anna, (who can rock pups to sleep better than anyone) are great friends. Carie Taylor is always a big help especially with training issues and when I need emergency help. (She's my quasi adopted daughter, by permission of her own mother.) Shannon Brimm has been here every step of the way. Pam and Tim Wilmot answered an email in 1989 and are still here whenever help is needed and Dan Frey has been our primary vet even before our first Chinook arrived. Colleen McDaniel and Melissa Knapp have taught me more about structure, training, and behavior than they will ever realize.
Many other Chinook breeders have contributed greatly to the bloodlines and success of Rain Mountain: Hurricane Chinooks and Joyce Maley, Susan Fletcher of Frontier Chinooks, WoodsRunner Chinooks and Bob and Connie Jones, Donna Kirkley Boatwright of Cloudburst Chinooks, Pam Chambers of Springcreek Chinooks, and Marne and Corine Lindhorst of High Plains Chinooks, and Kathleen Riley Daniels of Outlaw Chinooks are just a few of the people who have helped in times of need.
We are a very close community within the Chinook fancy and just about any of the people above would be able to provide you a reference as people, as breeders, and as the owners of well loved pets.
What are your goals in breeding?
We strive for traditional Chinooks that can do it all -- be the greatest family pets, pull a sled for a day of recreational sledding with the strength for weight pulling competitions and the beautiful structure and movement to win in the show ring. Health and temperament are of the highest importance. Primary emphasis is put on careful breeding and raising of happy and healthy family pets. These family pets may also be show dogs, sled dogs, service dogs, or have other part time jobs. We focus on the careful steps needed to recreate the once vital and strong breed first developed by Arthur Walden in the early 20th century, then later carried on by Jules Lombard. There were no quick fixes or magic solutions and progress has been slow but today we're beginning to see again the steady and biddable dogs that can be seen in historical photos or read about in literature of the time.
Each breeding has its own unique goals and each is a step towards that ideal Chinook. You can be assured that only the best dogs are used in our breeding program and that health, structure, movement, and working ability are carefully assessed.
Do you work or show your dogs? Have they earned any titles or been evaluated in their ability to perform traditional activities such as pulling a sled, rig, a person on skis or backpacking? Are your dogs involved with agility, obedience or therapy work? Do they have Canine Good Citizen certification?
It would be great if we could do every possible activity and sport with every one of our Chinooks but having a day job does get in the way. At minimum, all our breeding stock is shown in conformation competitions, usually to the point of a championship, and each does at least a little recreational sledding to the point that we know the dog has the right instincts. We enjoy weight pulling competitions and that is a favorite activity in all but the hot summer months. Depending on each dog's inclination and natural abilities, we also do some agility, obedience, and herding for fun and exercise (of both the humans and the dogs!).
Chinooks do best on the Canine Good Citizen test when they are fully mature so though they all start obedience classes by the time they are three months old, we typically don't do the CGC test until they are older. But many of our dogs do have this certificate and we're proud that they are well behaved both at home and in public.
Have the parents been evaluated for conformation and how closely they meet the Chinook standard? Were they evaluated by being shown in conformation events or by other knowledgeable experts?
UWP Grand Ch. PR Rain Mountain
Tonasket Thunder CGC HCT wins
another Group 1 at a rare breed show in 2001
With only minor exceptions, all Rain Mountain breeding stock is shown in conformation shows where they are evaluated by impartial and knowledgeable third parties -- the judges -- to ensure they meet the Chinook standard. Most often these are events sponsored by the United Kennel Club. Plus, as puppies and often again as young adults, they are also evaluated in depth and one-on-one by skilled breeders both of Chinooks and other working breeds. Kennel blindness -- thinking that of course our own dogs are the very best -- is something that is unavoidable but easy to get around by having these multiple evaluations. We believe that this constant and detailed analysis of our breeding stock is what has made our bloodline line the success it is today.
Will the puppy be DNA profiled or the litter DNA parent verified?
Breeding stock is DNA profiled so all pups will be DNA-VIP (their DNA is verified against that of their stated parents to make sure the pedigree is accurate) eligible. Some litters are DNA profiled before leaving the nest and in other cases, the actual pup's DNA profile is left up to the new owner. You will be told when you get your pup if its DNA has been sampled already.
Have the parents passed an OFA evaluation and a CERF evaluation? At what ages? Have the grandparents and great grandparents also passed these evaluations?
Rain Mountain is very proud to have the first OFA hip evaluations (we're tied with Joyce Maley of Hurricane Chinooks) ever done on Chinooks. We also have the honor of the very first CERF exams ever done on Chinooks. We're proud of having OFA and CERF screening done on all our breeding stock and also ask that everyone getting a pup from us, even those that are not used for breeding, also screen their Chinooks through OFA and CERF when they are old enough (2 years old for OFA and prior to breeding or at 2 also for CERF) so that we have complete data on a litter. This provides us information for future breedings. For example, the pup I keep for breeding may pass the OFA hip evaluation but I also want to know the OFA rating of all siblings before I make decisions about whether to breed her or not and if so, to what dog.
When first planning litters, we put together pedigrees that will include the OFA and CERF information for at least the four preceding generations of parents, grandparents, great-, and great-great grandparents. So this information will be made available to you when you are making the decision as to which puppy is right for you. If you are looking for a pup to do competitive agility, things such as OFA scores will be very important to you. Eye problems that are found during the CERF examination can also be hereditary, though typically don't impact the quality of life as much as OFA scores will.
Left, Ch. PR Rain Mountain Tonasket Legacy CGC
Do you have a breeder/purchaser contract? What is covered in this contract (health, spay/neuter, breeding)?
A sample agreement is available for you to review at www.rainmountain.net/agreement.html. Every agreement will be a bit different depending on the situation. No one has ever objected to any of the terms and we welcome questions and discussion.
Do you have a signed code of ethics by your parent club?
Ginger Corley was one of the signers of the very first ever COA Code of Ethics and continues to sign every new revision over the past fifteen years. She has also served on the COA's Code of Ethics Committee, developing revised versions on more than one occasion.
Can I see the parent dogs' papers, pedigrees, titles, certificates, and all contracts before I purchase a puppy?
You bet. You'll be provided a pedigree with health information on all the dogs appearing in it. We want you to know everything pertinent before you purchase your pup so that you'll feel comfortable that your pup is what we say it is. We also will provide you a "genetic health addendum" that provides you information on the various problems that have cropped up in past generations despite our efforts to avoid them. This will be something that you will want to share with your veterinarian so that your vet will know what to keep an eye out for should any of these problems crop up in your Chinook. As much as possible,* you'll be given copies of the parents' health tests and other paperwork.
Can I physically see the parents or receive photos? Can you tell me about the litter's ancestors and siblings?
You will probably be given more information than you ever wanted or could hope to remember. By working with and tracking our bloodline for up to six or more generations now, we can provide you valuable information and photos of almost all the dogs in your new pup's pedigree. You'll be able to meet the dam of the litter here since she stays with the pups until they leave for their new homes. In some situations the sire may be here on site or local to us in the greater Seattle area but in other situations, thanks to modern science and Fed Ex, the sire may be clear across the country. In these latter cases, you will be provided many photos and contact information for the sire's owners. You will definitely be given the contact information for the owner of the sire regardless of where they are located.
Above, UWP Grand Ch. PR Mountain Rain Dancer Quinault CGC FDX
meets her great great grand babies
Do you take back or provide rescue for any or all puppies you sell? Is there an age limit?
Every Rain Mountain Chinook is welcome to return here at any point in its life for any reason at all. We provide lifetime support for all our pups. Luckily most come back only for visits with their owners. But if a Rain Mountain Chinook is in need of a home, we're happy to have him or her return. You will notice that our ownership agreement spells this out very carefully. Rain Mountain is also active in Chinook rescue and always has been.
What long term contact do you maintain with owners of Chinooks you have bred?
We maintain contact with owners of all our pups throughout the lifetime of the dogs and beyond. Many families have returned to get a second (and even third) pup from us. When you get a pup from me, you get me as your friend for life whether you want me or not. Staying in contact is important as we want to know the health and welfare of our dogs as they grow and age. We're proud of the longevity of our dogs. Health issues, even those that crop up in old age, can also have an impact on future breeding decisions.
We keep in contact just for fun too. Every summer on the second Saturday in August we have the Rain Mountain picnic which is open to everyone who has ever got a pup from us, wants to get a pup, or is simply interested in Chinooks. We've had up to 75 Chinooks playing loose together here while the humans barbecued burgers and brats and shared micro brews and good wines. The 2013 date is Saturday, August 10th.
How do you decide which puppy goes to which home?
With a lot of thought and contemplation along with temperament testing and conformation evaluations. It's very important to match the right pup to the right home. Since we know each pup intimately, we work carefully with prospective owners to make sure they are getting the right pup for their exact situation and that each pup also goes to the home it needs and where it will thrive. This is one of the hardest decisions. The pup must be matched carefully. First, are the new owners interested in possibly showing or breeding their Chinook? What is the family situation? Are their small children in the home? These decisions are made with careful observation of the pup's personality over the whole nine weeks they are growing up, then the added information that the litter evaluations give us. And we don't rush these decisions. Typically we don't know which pup will go to which home until they are about eight or nine weeks old
Some people are surprised that instead of letting new owners pick their new pup out, we pick for you. This works far better since we know a lot more about the pups after watching them for months than you can ever know after seeing them for just a half hour or so during your visit. By first having you fill out a questionnaire where you tell us what you're looking for along with a description of your day to day life, we try our best to meet your requests and place the pup with you that will best fit your lifestyle. It's a tricky dance.
What support do you provide for a new owner? What do I need to know when I bring my puppy home (food, crate, vaccinations)?
We expect a lot of phone calls and emails during the first weeks. Before you even take home your new Rain Mountain pup, we'll give you a list of supplies that you should have on hand. Too many times you'll go to the pet store and see their list of necessary supplies; but their list is trying to convince you to buy more and more when you really don't need a lot of fancy things. When you take your pup home, you are provided all sorts of information about their schedule, food, medical records, and other details of their daily life along with valuable information on settling a puppy into your home and beginning formal training. Fellow Chinook breeder and professional dog trainer and behaviorist Carie Taylor handles many of the behavior and training issues that come up. You are going to be required to take your pup to classes so that it learns to behave in all sorts of situations with distractions of other dogs, different people, and odd sounds and smells. Plus I'll provide you with a list of books that I've found applicable to the Chinook temperament as well as some online articles that will be helpful.
The Chinook Owners Association also has a great deal of support available to new owners in the way of an email list, COA-L, where you can talk with other Chinook owners across the US and Canada. You'll be able to ask questions on any subject and get a variety of answers from people who might be just a step ahead of you with a likewise new pup or someone who has lived with twenty or more Chinooks over the last thirty years. Just like Chinooks are a friendly dog, so are their owners a friendly people.
What are the positive and negative aspects of owning a Chinook?
Every breed has both positive and negative traits. We put together a detailed article on the pros and cons of owning Chinooks which you can read by clicking here -- Don't Buy a Chinook
*I say "as much as possible" only because at an event a few years back I had a portfolio containing many of my health certificates and other paperwork stolen. So in some situations I am having to recreate documents. Luckily all OFA certifications ever provided can be found online.
Some of the basics we ask of prospective owners are that they have a fenced yard or a secure kennel where the dog can spend time when you can't be with him or her. Let's face it, there are times when you want to put your dog outside so you can mop the floor. We don't place dogs where they will be "outside only" dogs as Chinooks are horrible backyard ornaments and kennel dogs. They need contact with their humans. Your Chinook doesn't need to sleep on your bed, but we do ask that you give it access to the house. We're not adverse to placing pups with people who are renters, but you must provide proof that your lease allows big dogs.
won't place two littermates in
the same home nor will we place a Chinook pup in a home where there is
another dog that has been there less than one year. We feel
important that each dog be able to bond with its family and receive
training before the next dog joins the household. Getting two
pups at once makes training very difficult as the dogs will tend to
bond more to each other than to the humans in the household. You end up
with what we call "litter nerds," two dogs who are more bonded to each
other and don't give a hoot about the humans in their world. Trust me
on this, it has even happened to me when I was on guard to try and
Chinooks do very well with children so we have no restrictions on the ages of family members. We have had very successful placements in households where the adults are crazy enough to want to take on raising a pup at the same time as toddlers. But EVERY dog, Chinook or otherwise, must be supervised AT ALL TIMES when it is with young children.
heard of breeders who will only place pups where there
will be someone at home all day. If that were always the
case, I wouldn't have Chinooks. Almost all
adults have to work or at least be away from the house parts of the
day. We will want to know how long the pup will be alone each
while it's young and what your plan will be to meet it's needs while
it's young but you don't have to be a retired millionaire to get a
Most breeders charge between $1,200 and $1,500 for a pup. Some breeders will charge less than this and some will charge more. I think it varies a bit according to what part of the country the breeder is in. I paid $800 for my first Chinook in 1987 and now I charge $1,200 for a pet pup and $1,000 for show / breeding pups. So the price over the last twenty-five years hasn't changed very much.
What is the MOST important to me is finding the best home. I have been known to occasionally work out arrangements with people, such as a family where the dad is active military stationed out of the country. So if your heart is set on a Chinook, let me know. I think every child should grow up with a dog.
You're very welcome to come by for a visit if you're in the Northwest. But please don't expect a fancy commercial kennel. They are house pets even though we've moved to the country, and since I work from an office here in the house, they're with me almost 24/7. Visiting means that you are visiting my home. The only "kennel" is a securely fenced pen where they stay when I can't take them with me, and a few dog crates inside that double as furniture where the younger dogs sleep at night. Visitors are welcome whether we are planning a litter or not. We love to talk about dogs any time.
Since I do work during the week, albeit with a flexible schedule, let's plan things a week or two before you'd like to visit to ensure your visit won't conflict with my family responsibilities (my mother is very elderly and needs a lot of help these days) or dog events out of town. We'll figure out a good time for both your schedule and mine. But please keep in mind that not every weekend is spent here at home.
Sometimes the best way to meet a number of Chinooks all at once is to come along on one of our activities such as a dog show or weight pull. This way you'll get to meet a variety of Chinooks and their owners. Most of these events involve a lot of "hurry up and wait" so we usually have plenty of time to talk. You may even be put to work helping us hold dogs or cups of coffee and tea. We're a very social bunch and are willing to have a get-together for just about any reason.
If you are outside of the Northwest, you'll want to visit with a Chinook breeder or experienced owner in your area. I can set this up for you. Likewise if you are getting a pup from a breeder located elsewhere, that breeder may ask you to come by and visit us. We encourage folks in or visiting the Northwest to contact us if you'd like to meet some Chinooks "in the fur." As the oldest (but not in age!) still-active Chinook owner and breeder on the West Coast, I think I have a good perspective of the modern Chinook. It's important that you meet real Chinooks, hopefully more than one, so that you can get a good idea of whether they really are the dog for you. Luckily there is a greater population of Chinooks today than when we first started so no matter where you live we should be able to direct you to Chinooks and their families near by.
Copyright © Ginger Corley, Rain Mountain Chinooks, 1988 to present. No material may be reproduced without permission, though permission is usually granted. Logo by Susan Fletcher, Frontier Chinooks, used here with permission and much appreciation of her great talent.