LONDONDERRY — They are top dogs and have the credentials to prove it.
Three Chinooks owned by Kris and Chester Holleran of Londonderry are at the top of their game. They are winning awards for their agility, good looks and personality.
The Chinook is also the official Granite State dog and is one of the “603 Reasons” readers say New Hampshire is special.
Holleran’s 4-year-old Birr took the Best of Show at last month’s prestigious Westminster Dog Show in New York City.
This was the first time in the show’s 138-year history the Chinook was allowed to compete as an official breed category. In previous contests, the Chinook was entered in a “miscellaneous” category.
For Holleran, who teaches biology at Londonderry High School, it’s a testament to the dog’s showmanship, good nature and strong heritage.
The Chinook was officially named the state’s top dog in 2009 after middle school students in Bedford pushed for the honor and worked with legislators to make it official.
Its history dates back to the early 20th century, when breed founder Arthur Tamworth ran a sled during the Alaska Gold Rush years and sought the perfect breed to handle that job.
He bred a large Mastiff-style dog with a Greenland Husky and the first Chinook was born in 1917.
Chester Holleran said the Chinook became famous for leading Admiral Byrd’s South Pole expedition. The breed was also the first dog to climb Mount Washington in front of a sled.
Holleran said when she discovered the Chinook, she found the perfect breed. The Londonderry woman did her research and fell in love with this breed after reading about its temperament, its ability to work and its family-oriented nature.
“We looked at all types of breeds,” she said, “but I really liked this one and said this was the breed for me.”