Draft and Carting

Draft work and Carting

The Newfoundland dog has been used to pull since the breed’s beginnings, whether it was pulling logs for firewood or fisherman’s nets to shore. Today, we encourage this inherited characteristic by having our dogs pull carts or wagons. It can be in the back yard pulling a wagon for yard work or a cart in a parade.
PONC hosts an annual NCA draft test where dogs show off their skills by maneuvering through an obstacle course, and their strength by pulling their cart or wagon over a 1 mile course.


Draft work is strenuous and requires training and conditioning. Training may begin with young dogs to teach them basic control. As they become comfortable and then reliable walking with you on and off leash, they can be introduced to being in harness. Then they can be introduced to training shafts. And finally, they can be taught to pull; first light objects and then finally a lightweight cart or wagon.

  • Pulling a cart or wagon should not be attempted with very young dogs.
    Their growth plates are still forming until he’s about two years old, and hard exercise can damage them.
  • Younger dogs need to be obedience trained to reliably walk without a leash holding them back before they can safely pull the cart or wagon. You do not want your dog chasing a cat or squirrel while attached to their wagon.
  • Almost all breed clubs require dogs to be 18 – 24 months old before they are allowed to enter a test.
  • You can build your own cart. See the list below for plans for carts.


For more Information:

Newfoundland Club of America – Draft information
American Kennel Club – Drafting and Carting
Yahoo Group – Carting and Draft Forum

For a little Newfoundland history lesson:

Personal Remembrance – early draft work

For draft equipment (harness, carts, etc):
Black Ice Dog Sledding
Dog Works
Ikon Outfitters
Wilczek Woodworks

Plans for carts:
Lightweight training cart
Video – Building training shafts & a simple cart This video says it is 22 minutes, but it repeats itself.

If you think you would like to try this with your dog, feel free to contact any of the following people for more information:
Joyce Echon Butler – Aliquippa, PA  (newfienanna@verizon.net)
Dan Carr – Columbiana, OH  (carrbigdog@yahoo.com)
David and Jennifer Hansen – Granger Twnshp, OH   (David@ohanadogs.com)
David Hartmann – Pittsburgh, PA   (Hartmann44@yahoo.com)
Bruce & Bethany Karger– Allison Park, PA   (brucekarger@verizon.net)
Connie & Tracy Luoma – Thompson, OH   (blackfur3223@windstream.net)
Vic & Candi Strunk – Confluence, PA  (vicandcandi@yahoo.com)