Overview of a Pull
Hall of Fame
The International Weight Pull association is a non-profit association that promotes the sport of dog pulling through well organized, sanctioned events. We have an elected Board of Directors.
The purpose of IWPA is to promote the working heritage of all dogs. The IWPA also promotes a program to keep your dog in good physical condition with a constructive outlet for canine competition.
Dog Pulling is akin to a tractor pull. Dogs compete to see who can pull the most weight 16 feet. They pull a wheeled cart on an earthen surface, or a sled on snow. The handler has no contact with the dog during the pull, so it is up to the dogs willingness to pull. Safety of the dog is of paramount concern. Since IWPA's organization in 1984, no dogs have been hurt in competition.
IWPA was organized in November 1984 when a group of dog pulling enthusiasts saw a need for an organization to promote this specialized sport. Our season for sanctioned pulls runs from September through March. We currently sanction around one hundred pulls a season throughout the contiguous United States and Canada. Membership currently runs around 250 to 300 with around 400 to 600 dogs in competition. We are open to all dogs, mixed breed or purebred.
The objective of a competition is to see which dogs (within their weight class) can pull the most weight 16 feet within one minute. A tie is broken by the dog that pulled in the least amount of time on the preceding weight. Dogs compete within their own weight class, of which there are nine: 0-10#, 11-20#, 21-40#, 41-60#, 61-80#, 81-100#, 101-125# , 126-150#, 151#and over.
Member dogs earn points based on their completion position and the number of dogs they beat. Their five best pulls are used in the total points for the season. They compete only within their weight class, and only within their region. Snow and wheeled competition are kept separate. At the end of the season, we hold National Championships and all first, second and third place dogs are invited.
We also have three levels of "Working Dog" Title Certificates that a dog can earn for pulling certain percentages of their weight. Many breed organizations accept IWPA Weight Pulls as legs toward for their own titles, as well.
We have twelve regions across North America, some with no activity (1 and 12 last year). We have yet to see any involvement outside of North America. A region can cover a large area. Following is a list of regions accompanied with a map, and a contact phone number & email link where applicable.
- Alaska, Yukon Territory Canada
- Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia (Sue Ferrari (509) 966-1133)
- Montana, Wyoming, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories (Sean Hammell (403) 619-0483)
- Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota,
Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Manitoba (Connie Meech (314) 458-4800)
- Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania,
Rhode Island, Vermont, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec,
Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island (Wendy Leister (717) 764-7052)
- Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio (Shirley Webber (231) 258-2358)
- Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina,
Tennessee; (Shannon Marie Esbrandt 757-581-1221
- Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas (Clay Fonvielle 202-780-9527)
- Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico (Robbie Reed (970) 339-9264 )
- Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah (Jim Galli 530-518-0885)
- Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia (Valarie Thawley 302-366-8660 )
- Hawaii (Valarie Thawley 302-366-8660 )
You may travel vast distances to enter an event. Members around the Spokane area may attend pulls in Portland, Seattle and Idaho. On the East Coast, members travel from NY, PA, DE, VA and more to pulls. Each region varies. Members will typically travel from a few hundred to a thousand miles a season. And, you are not restricted to pulling in your region.
Pulls are usually organized by members that have built or acquired the necessary equipment and arranged for a site; frequently donated by some pet supply industry. You can become an organizer if you are willing to put together the necessary equipment, arrange a location (and maybe sponsors) and do the paperwork. We would love to see more events, and we would love to see some activity start in other countries.
Come to one of our events and see what it is all about. Some organizers will conduct a novice pull after the sanctioned event where they will loan you a harness and give you and your dog some training. Also see our Overview of a Pull
Address further questions about IWPA to:
or Membership questions to:
or Web site questions/comments to
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