Weight pulling is a canine competitions where dogs compete to see who is the strongest. Weight pulling is the modern day version of freighting, which is when dogs are used as freight animals to carry and move cargo from one point to another. Today, using dogs for freighting is still done in some areas of the world, but due to modern transportation it is not as common as it was 100 year ago. In the developed countries, dog freighting is generally only seen in dog sports like dog sled racing, it is rarely seen for practical uses.
There are many weight pulling organizations around the world; however, the majority of weight pulling groups and organizations are located in North America and Europe.
Most weight pulling competitions are sanctioned by the International Weight Pulling Association and are held by non-profit organizations and sled dog racing clubs; weight pulling is part of sled dog training. Any type of dog can compete in weight pulling; be them small or big, purebred or mixed. However, large muscular breeds like Mastiffs, Rottweillers and Great Danes, Nordic breeds and Terrier bull breeds are most commonly seen.
The rules are simple for weight pulling, canines are sorted into weight classes and dogs compete against the other dogs in its weight class. The dogs pull a sled or cart that becomes progressively heavier as dogs progress through each round of the competition. Any dog that is not able to pull the required weight during a round is disqualified.. The competition continues until only one dog in each weight group remains. In some competitions, not only does the weight increase, but so does the distance that the weight must be pulled. The safety of the dogs is always the first priority during a weight pulling competition; all canines competing in weight pulling wear a specially crafted harness that helps to spread the weight and pressure across the dog’s back and chest evenly. All dogs competing in weight pulling must be in top physical shape. Young dogs and older dogs should not compete in weight pulling as they are more prone to physical injuries. Multiple weight pulling competitions can be detrimental for dogs as it can lead to muscle and joint injuries.
Weight pulling is not an extremely popular dog sport; however, when done properly it can be a lot of fun for dogs and is excellent exercise. Most dogs enjoy working and are happiest when they have something to do. Weight pulling is definitely not a canine competition for everyone, it is one of the more dangerous competitions and if done incorrectly can cause serious health problems for the dogs in their later years. However, if done with care, weight pulling is an excellent dog sport, one that many dogs enjoy participating in.