With their history of pulling sleds and sledges for the Samoyede people in Siberia, Samoyeds enjoy weight pulling events. The sport tests both the mental and physical conditioning of the dog. Physically, the activity increases muscular development, bone density, ligament and tendon strength and cardiovascular strength. Mentally, the dog must focus – and stay focused – on the goal at hand, which is to pull the weight to the end of the track, where his handler has been standing, encouraging him, during the competition.
Dogs younger than 15 months of age are not allowed to compete in weight pulls, for the dog’s safety. A harness, specifically designed for weight pulling, is worn by the dog. There is also a specific amount of time allowed for each pulling attempt, and the “tracks” or “chutes” (the areas designated for the pull) are of a specific length in sanctioned competitions.
Weight pulls can be held on a variety of different surfaces, including snow, dirt or grass, as well as artificial surfaces. Sometimes, the cart on which the weight is loaded is on rails; other times, it may be a wheeled vehicle. Scoring is done by dividing the total amount of weight pulled by the dog’s weight, resulting in a percentage.
For more information on weight pulling, including information on sanctioned events, check out the Samoyed Club of America or International Weight Pull Association websites.