In The Fox and the Hound, Chief is one of Amos Slade's hunting dogs. Even though he was at first initially dismissive of the young puppy that Amos intends to train as a hunting dog, he developed a liking to the hound puppy named Copper and becomes a surrogate father figure to him. Chief usually stays around his doghouse for the first part of the movie but is responsible for chasing Tod and inadvertently framing him for corrupting Slade's chickens when the fox comes to see his best friend Copper.
Later, Chief accompanies Amos and Copper on a winter-long hunting trip. Chief teaches Copper many things about hunting. By springtime, Copper is now fully grown and a trained hunting dog, and has actually topped Chief, much to the Trigg hound's chagrin. That night, even though Copper revels in his success, Chief notes that Copper's tracking skills aren't enough to be a good hunting dog and that Copper must learn to think nasty.
When Tod (who is also fully grown) returns to see Copper that night, Chief wakes up and alerts Amos to the fox's arrival and the two try to kill Tod. Even though Copper allows Tod to run away, Chief spots him and chases Tod onto a railroad track. Chief is hit by an oncoming train, while Tod ducks under the vehicle. Chief is badly injured and left with a broken leg but survives. Needless to say, he prefers the luxury of lying on a pillow in front of a warm stove oversleeping in his barrel outside. When Amos and Copper walk past him, Chief tries to milk his injury to regain Amos' attention, but Amos sees through Chief's attempts and tells him to go back to his room before he "breaks [his] other leg", and Chief does so and limps back to his room, whimpering.
Chief isn't seen again until the end of the film where he and Copper watch as Amos gets his injured leg bandaged by Widow Tweed, Tod's former owner. Chief comments as they see Amos wailing and squirming that his master is sure making a big fuss over a "little hurt leg". At the end of the movie, it is implied that his animosity towards Tod, who has saved Amos and Copper from the bear, has faded.
In The Fox and the Hound 2, Chief has very few lines. In the beginning, Chief is seen interacting with a young Copper. Copper describes him as the best hunting dog in the whole county, even though Chief has only won fourth place in the county fair.
This year, Chief is seen to have won another fourth place ribbon at the fair, much to Amos' delight. He is confident that his oldest hound will go for third place next year.
Later on, Dixie tells Tod to go wake Chief up and have him chase him down to the circus. Tod then goes into Chief's barrel and bites the wolfhound on the ear, and he hits his head on the top of his barrel and sees Tod, who then blows a raspberry at Chief. This results in the wolfhound angrily chasing the little fox to the big top circus. His barking noises and voice in this film are performed by Rob Paulsen.
Chief was later seen again during the final "We Go Together," first chasing Tod and Copper, but he gets chased by crickets and trips over apples along with Amos Slade and Widow Tweed.
- Originally, Chief was to be killed by the train and therefore justify Copper's revenge on Tod. However, for the same reasons as Trusty, the producers decided it would be too intense for kids. So they had Chief survive and end up with a broken leg instead.
- Chief is an Irish Wolfhound, the same breed as Sparky from Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure.
- Chief's barks are recycled sound effects from Old Yeller from the movie of the same name.
- In the book with the same name as the movie, Chief is described as being a young, inexperienced Trigg hound, who Copper, the older and much more experienced Bloodhound mix, hates.
- In the original film, Chief never spoke to Tod. But in the midquel, he does.