Zughundesport: Which dogs enjoy it?

It’s not just sled dogs that enjoy the dog pull sport – in principle; all dogs can take part. However, they should meet a few health requirements and have the right equipment and training to avoid injuries.

Draft dog sport is very versatile: the term refers to various sports in which the dogs pull a vehicle or their human. Depending on how strong or fast the four-legged friend is, other disciplines are more suitable for him.

What is draft dog sport?

Originally, draft dogs were used as working animals. Sled dogs like the husky helped their people move through snow-covered landscapes; Bernese Mountain Dogs were harnessed to carts and could transport the farmers’ goods in this way. Since dogs have primarily become family members and companions, a sport developed from the earlier work tasks. The draft dog sport serves as a generic term for various disciplines, including:

● Sled dog sport

● Pull a dog cart or handcart

● Dog Trike (training trolley with three wheels)

● Sacco Cart (training trolley with four wheels)

● Dog scooter (pull dog sport with scooters)

● Bikejoring (cycling with a draft dog)

● Canicross (running with draft dog)

● Dog trekking (hikes with draft dogs)

Is draft dog sport only for certain dog breeds?

Some dog breeds were bred primarily as sled dogs or load-pulling dogs and are therefore particularly suitable for draft dog sports. Classic sled dog breeds include the Siberian Husky, the Samoyed, the Greenland Dog, and the Alaskan Malamute. The Bernese Mountain Dog is a famous example of a pack-pulling dog, but other mountain dogs, such as Leonbergers and the Japanese Akita, also used to help their humans with work.

In principle, however, any healthy dog ​​can practice draft dog sport. Strong dogs that are not that fast are good at pulling dog carts, dog trikes, or sack carts. However, they usually also enjoy dog ​​trekking. Dogs that are not as strong but are fast get their money’s worth in the other draft dog sports disciplines. The breed is secondary; it depends on the individual physical condition of the four-legged friend and his preferences.

Health requirements for draft dog sport

Before you begin training in the draft dog sport of your choice, have your dog checked from head to toe by the vet. Unfortunately, dogs with cardiovascular problems are not allowed to participate, as the sport would be too physically demanding for them. Even puppies and young dogs that are not yet fully grown may not be used as draft dogs. A borderline case is dogs with joint problems, such as hip dysplasia (HD) – under professional guidance and with the veterinarian’s consent, some draft dog sports can strengthen the dog’s muscles and thus have a positive influence on the course of HD.

To keep your draft dog healthy, you shouldn’t just start exercising. After the check-up at the vet, it is best to introduce your darling to the new hobby step by step with a specially trained trainer. Also very important: the right equipment. Draft dogs need a suitable harness made explicitly for the draft dog sport. There are different versions; some reins are attached to pull rods (pulka rods), and others are connected directly to the line. Under no circumstances should you let your dog pull loads with a harness or – even worse – with a collar. Serious injuries could result. If in doubt, ask your dog trainer for advice on where to find suitable equipment.

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