Dog Sport. Weight Pulling

Dog Sport: Weight Pulling

Weight pulling is a dog competition in pulling of weight on definite distance, in which dogs are divided into weight categories and weight is on a cart with wheels or on sledge.�

Dog weight pulling appeared for demonstrating of dog pulling strength to the spectators. Any dog can get huge benefits from this dog sport. Physically, the weight that the dog is pulling, does not only stimulate muscle growth, but also enlarges bone density, tendon strength and cardio-vascular system.�

The most frequent competitors in dog weight pulling are Husky, Rottweiler and Pit bull Terrier. But there are also any other dog breeds from Cockers to Mastiffs. It may seem, that dog weight pulling lacks physical strength, but it is not true.


Dog weight pulling was first mentioned by Jack London in his book "The Call of the Wild", that narrates about courageous dog Back. A lot of other stories from that times narrate us about dogs pulling weights of gold-seekers along wide spaces of Alaska and Yukon territory. There was nothing unusual for men of North in throwing a challenge each other, which dog would pull loaded sledge frozen in ice or snow. A dog, that set free the sledge from ice the fastest and could pull it on a definite distance. was announced a winner. These stories were not limited by Alaska and Yukon territory, they were wide spread along Greenland Island and Newfoundland Shore. There dogs were used for towing of beams and wood from ice to the shore. We can easy imagine the rush of strong dog owners who appeared at he same time and began to compete in their dogs strength.�

Dog weight pulling has been developing as dog races with dog carts and was inseparable complement of it. In 1978 they began to turn interest to dog weight pulling that was quite big for organization of separate sport competition in this kind of activity. At the same time the interested members of ISDRA (International Sled Dog Racing Association) created a list of instructions for making dog weight pulling a separate dog sport. In the process of a year this dog sport developed enough for review of the rules. The popularity of dog weight pulling continued to grow and in 1981 the rules were changed again. There was decided to specify the dogs with the best results and won the first three places. Thus, in 1982 ISDRA first granted those dogs, who were the winners in every weight class, with the certificates.�

The burst of dog weight pulling popularity is distinguished between the end of 1982 and the beginning of 1983. The result was recognizing of dog weight pulling as a separate dog sport competition. The competitions were aimed to one goal - to give the best dogs of different regions and places the chance to compete. The program was growing. The number of people involved into all phases of planning and performing of dog weigh pulling seemed to grow in geometrical proportions.�

In the summer of 1984 the International Weight Pull Association was founded (IWPA).�

Due to the work of this Association we have got dog weight pull as it is now. Weight pulling became inseparable part of trading centers shows, exhibitions and competitions, begin to be used as charity event for numerous charity institutions, attract many fans and dog owners and represented as sport of strength and heart.

Choosing a Dog for Weight Pulling Sport

Dog weight pulling dictates definite rules for dog choice, necessary for an animal to manage with this task. The most important is a physical structure and alert moves. Heavy dog over 70 kg has less chances to become a weight pulling champion than a strong, sport dog of 30 kg, accordingly, in its weight category, considering the recent classification. Experienced sportsmen prefer dogs with less sizes but more flexible, than large and heavy. Pedigree of a dog does not guarantee potential possibility to become a competitive dog for weight pulling. If a dog of any breed has definite physical structure and moves, in addition to it's owner strong wish, this is the potential that will be a base for a competitive dog training.�

A dog should have strong, mighty legs with well-driven, tight-gathered toes. The form of legs should be round and big, the same as for cart pulling dogs. Legs of dogs who take part in weight pulling are constantly under huge loadings while training and competitions. The form and length of wrist are also important as well as the form and height of legs. Compulsory condition is that a dog must have well-built strong straight wrists, not too long, not too short, any deviation from the norm aside to weak wrists will finally cause serious problems.�

A dog should have definite chest depth (ideally - approximately to an elbow) and moderately broad front for work in a dog harness. Shoulders must have moderate slope. The line of back must be moderately-sloping from shoulders to hips. It goes without saying, that the back should be strong. A dog with too long back (generally in the area of lumbar), will be weak-steady and will not work efficiently.�

Angles of legs must be moderate too, it means, not too straight, not too distinctly marked. A dog with moderate angles will be able to bow to the same level as the cargo to have the possibility to make a strong push. Broad, moderately-square back part, that correlates the front, makes efficient strength reload when a dog works hard. If a dog used in weight pulling will not have the corresponding built, according to the principles above, it just will not be able to use its strong muscles in a proper way.�

Dogs, that feel definite rate of fearlessness, who focus their attention at their action, and those, that have a strong will to pull in addition to all other compulsory demands, will become good dogs for weight pulling. Without any hesitation, dogs should obligatory have the will to please their owner. For some dogs it is is a strong feeling of affection and respect to its owner, and also to his demands. Such willingness will obviously help to train a good weight pulling dog.

Dog Weight Pulling Equipment�

Dog harness chosen correctly to the dog size is the most important and compulsory demand. Dog harness must have construction, especially adapted for weight pulling (to prevent dog injures). It should distribute the loading evenly on a dog body and do not rub a dog skin. Of course pulling dog harnesses should be made of strong material. There are strong natural leather harnesses and nylon harnesses for pulling. The Fordogtrainers company produces reliable handmade harnesses especially constructed for weight pulling. The quality of our sport harnesses for dogs has International Certificate.

Platform for cargo must satisfy conditions of the competition. If it is held on snow - they use sledge, if the competition is held inside or in summer - they use platform with wheels. Platform should be strong enough to keep weight to 3 tones. Cargo may contain metal details, bags with forage, sand, bricks etc.�

The road must be not less that 10 m long and 2,5 m wide.�

Behind the start line and the work area there should be a territory for competitors preparation. While the competition here may be just one dog - the next competitor.

Weight Pulling Competition�

Weight Pulling Competition is headed by the Principal judge. He follows every stage of competition, takes the final decision in all controversial questions. The Principal judge has the right to disqualify a dog or handler for not obeying of the rules or inappropriate for sport behavior. The judge also follows the condition of work zone floor and takes decision about its restoring (leveling).�

Competition define, which dog in it's weight class is able to pull a larger weight for the distance of 4,8 m for 1 minute. There are allowed all dog breeds and mixed breeds in the age from 1 to 12 years, who are in well physical condition to take part in competition.�

Competitions are held in the following weight categories:�

1. Super light - dogs with weight under 9 kg.�

2. From 10 to 18 kg (including).�

3. 19 - 27 kg.�

4. 28 - 36 kg.�

5. 37 - 45 kg.�

6. 46 - 56 kg.�

7. 57 - 68 kg.�

8. Unlimited - all dogs with the weight from 69 kg and more.�

At the registration the dog weight is approximated to the less notion. (For example, a dog with the weight of 35, 8 kg is registered as 35 kg).�

Weight represents whether a sledge or a loaded wheeled platform. The move is made accordingly on snow or on a hard surface. Start loading is determined for any weight category agreed with competing handlers. Start load should not be above:�

for category less 10 kg - 90 kg�

for category less 19 kg - 180 kg�

for category less 28 kg - 225 kg�

for category less 37 kg - 270 kg�

for category less 46 kg - 315 kg�

for category above 45 kg - 360 kg.�

The mentioned weight is maximal start weight. The principal judge, on his account, may determine less start weight.�

After the moment the handler steps 1 m behind a dog is considered to be ready to start. Handler disposes a dog in the direction of move at any place in front of platform wheels that are placed at the start line. The time counting begins from the moment when handler gives a command to pull to the dog or when a dog begins to pull independently.�

Competitors pull weight by turn in the limits of the round determined for a definite weight. After each round weight increases for a definite number that is determined before competition (usually it is a weight from 20 to 25 kg for dogs in lower weight class and in heavy weight dog classes it may be 40 - 90 kg). There may be from 5 to 12 rounds in competition.�

While distance overcoming a handler is not to touch a dog, use food or attractions, but encourage it only with its voice. It is allowed to lead a dog along the distance on a dog leash. But in this case the leash should be in sagging state.�

The main idea of competition lays in the notion, that the only encouraging motivation for dog is a command of it's owner. Because of this very approach there is no harm for dog health in these competitions.�

There also may be applied penalties for touches to a dog or cart after start, at false start, for rude attitude to a dog, for aggression of a dog being at the work ring in relation to a judge or his assistants.�

Many years of experience in competitions show, that usually dogs of less weight class may pull larger weight in relation to their own one.

Dog Weight Pulling Titles and Ranks�

A dog that has pulled the largest weight in its weight class, is announced "The Winner it its category" on the condition, that there competed not less that three dogs in the class. If in the course of competition two or more dogs took the same maximal weight, the winner is a dog, that made it for a shorter period of time. If the time notion coincides also, the winner is a dog will it's less weight.�

Dog winner may compete further till record set. Increase of weight in approaches should be not less than it was in the course of the competition.�

A dog, that pulled in the course of the competition the largest weight, is announced the Most Weight Pulled - MWP.�

A dog, that pulled the largest weight according to it's own weight, is announced the Most Weight Pulled Per Pound - MWPP.�

Dogs, that showed the greatest record results in absolute and according result in competition, get the title Record Holder Of The Year.�

International titles:�

WD - Working Dog - given to a dog, pulled at four competitions the weight that is over it's own in 12 times.�

WDX - Working Dog Excellent - given to a dog, that pulled at four competitions the weight that is over it's own in 18 times.�

WDS - Working Dog Superior - is given to a dog, that at three competitions pulled the weight that over it's own in 21 times.�


Talking about records, we should admit, that we cannot compare results, shown in different competitions, as well as the conditions, cargo characteristics, platform state make a great impact on the final result.�

For instance, according to the IWPA the record in cart pulling along a natural surface in the category to "9 kg" was made in 2005 by American Pit Bull Terrier Sancher. The weight taken by him achieved 424 kg. In 1997 Rottweiler Maynard took the weight of 1834 kg in the category "46 -56 kg". In the unlimited category the record holder is English Mastiff Sly, that took the weight of 2447 kg in 1997.�

As for sledge pulling on natural surface, here the champion in the category of "9kg" is Jack Russel Gingersnap, that took the weight of 113 kg in 2004. Bulldog Snug �took the weight of 771 kg in the category "37 - 45 kg" in 2003. In unlimited category the record belongs to Alaskan Malamute Chunka, that took the weight of 630 kg in 2001.

If you are interested to get to know more about Weight Pulling in UK - Welcome to the United Pulling Federation and Weight Pulling Club.

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