Londonderry High School science teacher Kristine Holleran’s Chinook, Birr, has won Best of Breed honors at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
The show was held Feb. 11 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
“Birr and I were thrilled to take Best of Breed at the Westminster Dog Show,” Holleran said. “We went on to the Group ring at Madison Square Garden, but did not place there. However, Birr did an awesome job and was a fantastic representative for the breed in all venues.”
Birr is a 4-year-old male.
She explained that Westminster is a benched dog show. All dogs have an assigned bench and must remain throughout the show so the public can meet them and find out more about the breed.
“All the Chinooks were wonderful ambassadors for the breed,” Holleran said of the New Hampshire State Dog breed. “This is not surprising, due to their calm and very friendly demeanor. We met lots of people from New Hampshire at the show who were excited to learn about the breed. At ringside, a cheer went up of ‘Go New Hampshire!’ when Birr won the breed. He was the only Chinook there from this state.
“We are very proud that the first Chinook to win Breed at Westminster and go on to Group was from the very state in which the breed originated,” Holleran said.
Holleran said she fell in love with the Chinook as a breed about five years ago after seeing the dog on the cover of an AAA magazine and reading about it.
“My husband gave me the magazine and said, ‘I think this is the breed you’ve been looking for.’ I read the article and it was,” she said. “Chinooks are a working dog and they love to be challenged, but they don’t get anxious if they aren’t working. They’re just as comfortable being a couch potato, and they are also very family oriented, and the people take priority. They always want to be around you and they are very good with children.”
Holleran said her family had rescue dogs before she got her first Chinook.
“I wanted to get a dog that I could start with as a puppy but I really couldn’t decide, and I had looked at a lot of breeds,” she said. “When I read about Chinooks, I knew that was the breed I wanted.”
Holleran said Arthur Walden, the founder of the breed, lived in Tamworth and had been a sled driver during the gold rush. She said he returned home and bred the dog for work during the gold rush days to be able to pull dog sleds.
Holleran now has three Chinooks – Huck, the eldest, is retired; Birr is still being shown; and the youngest is Tibbs, just starting his show career.
“Prior to this, the Chinook as a breed was in the miscellaneous classification in the AKC (American Kennel Club) but now they have full recognition, so I was showing Birr the first year in the AKC shows and we qualified by getting our championship,” Holleran said. “Then we were invited to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. It’s a real honor to be invited.
“We’re pretty excited to be representing the state dog of New Hampshire and representing the breed at Westminster this year,” she concluded.