- “Smellin' and trackin' ain't enough. You gotta think nasty!”
- ―Chief, to Copper
Chief is one of Amos Slade's hunting dogs. Even though he is at first initially dismissive of the young hound puppy that Amos intends to train as a hunting dog, he develops a liking to the 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. Copper has actually bested Chief, much to the latter'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 presence and the two try to kill Tod. Chief temporarily loses Tod, who hides under a woodpile next to a railroad. He catches up with the fox on the railroad and chases him onto a railroad bridge as a train comes in their direction. Tod ducks under the train that collides into Chief, who tumbles down a steep cliff into a river below and suffers a broken leg from the fall.
Chief is later seen inside his room in Amos's cabin with his broken leg bandaged. He expresses his preference of luxury of lying on a pillow in front of a warm stove over sleeping 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 orders him to go back to his room before he "breaks [his] other leg", which Chief does so as he limps back to his room, whimpering.
Chief is not seen again until the end of the movie, where he and Copper watch as Amos gets his injured leg bandaged by Widow Tweed, Tod's former owner. As both dogs see Amos wailing and squirming in excruciating pain, Chief remarks to Copper on how their master is "sure makin' a big fuss over a little ol' hurt leg." At that point, 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.