Dog Breeds That Pull Carts, Sleds & Wagons (List of Drafting Dogs)

Dog Breeds That Pull Carts

What are carts, sleds, and wagons?

They are hand-driven vehicles that are used in transportation.

When being pulled by dogs or horses, they become animal-driven vehicles.

They were used in the past but they are still a very common way of transporting bulky materials from one place to another.

From the above, have you ever wondered how strong your furry friend is?

When it comes to pulling wagons and the like, it is always assumed that only horses and donkeys that can do the job but that is not quite true.

It would be interesting to know that dogs have had a history of pulling carts, sleds, and wagons in the past.


Some dogs are bred solely to pull carts, sled, and wagons. These dog breeds have immense core strength as compared to other dog breeds. Such dog breeds are Bernese Mountain dogs, Leonbergers, Newfoundland, greater Swiss mountain dogs Saint Bernard, Great Pyrenees, and Bouviers des Flandres.


Here, dog breeds that pull carts, sleds, and wagons will be discussed below.

What they require, whether they require training or it comes as an instinct will also be discussed.


Which dog breeds are known for pulling carts, sleds, and wagons?

dog pulling a cart

The dogs used to pull carts are the larger type of dog breeds that are sturdier and are stronger.

They mostly have an athletic build and have to weigh more than 30 pounds in weight.

In the past times, they were mainly used by poor farmers who could not afford to get horses to pull their wagons through town from their farms.

They would pull the carts with their contents in town and were faster because they were able to squeeze themselves in tinier spaces because they are smaller than horses.


Here are the dog breeds that were mainly used; especially in the past:

  • Bernese Mountain dogs
  • Leonbergers
  • Newfoundland
  • Swiss mountain dogs
  • Saint Bernard
  • The Great Pyrenees
  • Bouviers des Flandres.


How much can they pull in terms of weight?

They could transport heavy and bulky material such as lumber or lighter material such as cheese and dairy products to the factory. What makes them a good investment as well as the fact they could also be guard dogs, as well as help, heard your flock if trained properly.


Do they require training?

Yes, your dog needs to undergo training before starting on the job.

Here are some of the basic requirements to ensure your dog is fit for the job and capable too:

  1. They have to be over two years of age to be able to start training.
  2. They must also be large, strong, and athletic dogs that can be trained to pull sleds and other heavy wagons and carts.
  3. Drafting dogs also need to be healthy and this can only be approved by a vet.
  4. They have to be well-taught and mannered. They have to be obedient and can follow simple instructions.
  5. Drafting dogs requires an excellent attention span meaning they should be able to ignore distractions as well.

When your dog starts the training, they require a harness which will either be in work mode or play mode depending on what is happening then.

When your dog is working, the harness should be in work mode and should not be provoked until the harness is back in play mode.


What does your dog need when starting training?

drafting dog

If your dog meets the above criteria, it is good to note that the training process will require a lot of patience.

Here are the things required for the training process:

  1. A harness
  2. Shafts
  3. Brakes
  4. Tracers
  5. Carts
  6. Wheels


How to train your dog?

There a couple of ways one can use to train their dog on pulling sleds.

Below is a detailed step-by-step explanation of how to train your dog.


The reinforcing pull technique

  • The first thing that is done in this method is introducing a harness. You should let them wear it a couple of times and allow them to get used to the feeling.
  • The next thing to do is attaching the crossbar and getting someone to help you hold it.
  • Start by simple actions such as calling forward. Once you see your dog is read and has already tightened the harness, give them the treat to reward them
  • The person helping you train your dog should then tighten your dog’s harness while you try to call your dog forward to you. Once they manage to come to you despite the resistance, you could give them the treat to show you are proud of what they are doing.
  • The next thing to be done is to attach the cart to your dog and have the person providing you with some assistance walk next to your dog as you call out to them. Once they do move forward, give them a treat.
  • After using an empty cart, try replacing it with a slightly heavier cart for them to pull. Have the person helping you out tighten the harness a bit and call out to your dog. Once they manage to move forward, treat them with some delicious treats and rest.
  • The next step is to increase the number of steps your dog gets to take before you need to reinforce him. Preferably this should be done with the harness and cart in position.
  • The last step is to combine all the points and take more time to take more steps before you reinforce your dog. It will also be required that you take your dog to train them in different terraces





Does it injure your dog?

If the training is done and completed well, it should provide your dog with an efficient experience to start.

It is advisable to start with lighter carts before progressing to heavier carts.

It is good to be observant as well to notice if your dog has any injuries.

If they do, take them to the vet for them to get the correct treatment.


What else do you need to know?

It is always very key to go about the training process very exhaustively so that to give your dog a good idea of what they need to do and the commands they will be taking as they pull the cart.

It is also good to make sure they get a good amount of exercise to prevent them from getting injuries.

In case of any inquiries, it is always advisable to see your vet before and after the training process.


See Also



A pet owner who loves to share useful facts and information about a variety of animals.