Lone Star State American Pit Bull Terrier Club
Competitors where padded harnesses. Photo credit: Volatilis Photography

A busy dog is a happy dog. Photo credit: Volatilis Photography

What is canine weight pull? Since Lone Star State American Pit Bull Terrier Club is an American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA) sanctioned club, this article focuses on ADBA procedures, however there are several other organizations that hold weight pull competitions with similar rules.

Visitors to an ADBA weight pull will see American Pit Bull Terriers and possibly other breeds pulling a weighted cart for 15’ (feet) within 60 seconds. The dogs compete within certain weight classes and earn ribbons, trophies and points toward titles.

Common questions about Weight Pull:

Is the purpose of weight pulling to train fighting dogs?

No. Weight pull is no different from other popular canine sports such as agility, flyball, and dock-jumping.

How do people motivate the dogs to pull?

Handlers who use positive training methods to bring out the dogs’ natural drive have the best results. The dogs can’t be forced to pull anymore than a dog can be forced to catch a Frisbee.  Toys (not food or live bait) may be used as bait, but most people train the dogs to pull by command.

A happy Zeus pulls. Photo courtesy of HorsePower Kennels

A happy Zeus pulls. Photo courtesy of HorsePower Kennels

Are the dogs overworked?  Is it cruel?

Dogs may pull 2,000 lbs. of weight during competition, but competition carts are on a track with wheels, with minimal friction.  In training and competition, the dogs wear elaborately padded harnesses.

The dog must pull the cart on his or her own.  The handler is not allowed to touch, push, pull or act aggressively towards the dog. When the dog no longer wants to pull, the competition is over for that dog.  In addition, the rules prohibit artificial aids and illegal substances.

People spend years training their dogs, gradually working them up to pulling large amounts of weight.

Staffy Bull Girl Pulling

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier competes. Photo credit: Volatilis Photography

Does weight pulling make dogs aggressive?

Weight pull competitors receive constant handling, training, exercise and socialization, making them ideal pets. It’s not unusual to have children under adult supervision train and handle the dogs. Rules prohibit human-aggressive dogs.

A poodle in a weight pulling competition. Photo credit: Volatilis Photography

A poodle in a weight pulling competition. Photo credit: Volatilis Photography

Are pit bulls the only dogs that enter weight pull competitions?

No. In some areas, Huskies are the most popular weight pull breed. Depending on the registry, you may even see Poodles and Boston Terriers compete.

High-res photos are available for news media upon request.

2 Comments for this entry

  • Ryan Stalsby says:

    I am a proud APBT owner and I have really been interested in getting my boy “Truck” into weight pulling, he seems to naturally like to pull and I was curious, do the dogs have to have papers to enter the weight pulling contests? He came from a St. Benedicts Kennel and I saw his mother and her papers, just don’t have papers on him. Thanks.

  • Administrator says:

    Thanks for asking! At sanctioned events papers are required, per ADBA rules. At Fun events everyone can attend.

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