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Weight Pulling

National Kennel Club

Style A & B

Weight Pull Rules

NKC Weight Pulling Association now sanctions 2 types of Weight Pulls. Style A are the original Weight Pull rules the NKC sanctioned, and Style B are the new rules for the Alternate Weight Pull.

Choose Below

Style A – Style B

Style A Weight pull rules

All NKCWPA pulls must be made public knowledge/ advertised 60 days prior to the pull. There must be a minimum of 3 total entries for a NKCWPA pull to be sanctioned. All NKCWPA pulls must be videotaped as a matter or record.

SECTION 1 – Physical Area

TRACK: The dimensions of the track are 10 feet wide by 35 feet long minimum and 15 feet by 45 feet maximum. The track shall be as level and firm as conditions permit. Acceptable surfaces shall be grass, hard packed dirt, gravel or carpet. Dogs shall achieve traction on the same surface as that on which the cart rides.


A safe and adequate holding area shall be provided for wheeled pulls. All competing dogs shall remain in a marked or designated holding area. The holding area shall adequately and safely hold the number of dogs in competition

SECTION 2 – Equipment


It must be capable of safely carrying a minimum load of 4000 lbs. The cart must have four (4) pneumatic tires, which must all have the same air pressure prior to the event. The tires shall not be less than eight (8) inches in height and no more than eighteen (18) inches in height. The bridle shall be made of rope or nylon. Chains or cable will not be allowed. The cart bridle shall not be tied. The snap should be able to slide freely from side to side. This bridle will look like a long V.


An adequate supply of pre-weighted, inert material suitable for safe, stable stacking shall be provided.


The track barrier shall be a minimum of three (3) feet high and long enough so that dogs are being driven from the rear will complete their pull within the barrier. The barrier shall be located at the very edge of the pulling pad, within the track area. The best possible barriers shall be encouraged, but any one material shall not be mandatory. The following would be considered appropriate barriers: plywood, snow fence, wood planks, hog panels and other materials that possess a bouncing-off or glancing ability when struck by the cart. (If the cart becomes stuck or lodged on a barrier, it would then be considered a tangle — see Tangle Rule a crowd barrier is required to separate the spectators a minimum distance of three (3) feet from the pulling chute. A rope barrier is considered adequate for this purpose.

SECTION 3 – Officials

1.The Chief Judge shall supervise the over-all event. He/She shall make all final decisions in any protest or dispute, before, during, and after the event. The Chief Judge has the right to disqualify any dog or handler for any violation of the rules or Unsportsman like conduct, before, during, and after the event.

2.The Chief judge of the event shall be responsible for the completion of all forms, video taping of the pull and information required by the NKCWPA and a statement verifying that all NKCWPA rules were adhered to.

3.The Chief Judge shall be responsible for the safe and proper stacking of weight on the cart, proper positioning of the cart, hooking up of the dogs to the cart, and maintenance of the pulling course.

4.A qualified timer shall time each pull and report that time directly to the official recorder. The recorder shall post the weight pulled and the time required to the official score sheet. (The Chief Judge shall supervise the timer and recorder). Timer and recorder may be the same person if judge gives permission.

SECTION 4 – Contestants


1.All NKC REGISTERED breeds are eligible.

2.All dogs must be at least one (1) year of age and not more than 12 years of age to compete in any NKCWPA event. The physical condition of the dog should always be taken into consideration and the Chief Judge may disqualify any dog they feel will be in danger of injury.

3.No bitch in season shall be allowed to compete or allowed to be on the premises.

4.No pregnant bitch shall be allowed to compete in a NKCWPA event.

5.For the safety and protection of the dog, all dogs shall be fitted properly with a weight pull type harness.


All entrants shall be responsible for the conduct of their dogs and handler before, during and after the event. Vicious or unmanageable dogs shall be barred from competition. Unsportsman like conduct toward animals, officials, handlers or spectators will be cause for disciplinary action and/or disqualification. All dogs shall be under physical control, on a short lead, while in the pull area, except when hooked to the cart. All handlers shall be responsible for the cleaning up after their own dogs. Abusive or inhumane treatment of a dog shall be strictly prohibited and shall be cause for disqualification. Abusive or inhumane behavior to be determined by the presiding judge.


All dogs weighing 35 pounds or less

All dogs weighing more than 35 pounds up to and including 60 pounds.

All dogs weighing more than 60 pounds up to and including 80 pounds.

All dogs weighing more than 80 pounds up to and including 100 pounds.

All dogs weighing more than 100 pounds up to and including 120 pounds.

All dogs weighing more than 120 pounds.

All weights shall be rounded off to the lowest whole pound.

Ø EXAMPLE: A dog weighing 60 3/4 lbs. would be recorded as 60 lbs.


All dogs shall be weighed prior to each NKCWPA sanctioned weight pull (multiple or consecutive day pulls by the same organization require only one weigh-in). All dogs must be weighed at the pull site by a NKCWPA approved scale and supervised by the presiding judge. All recorded dog weights shall be rounded to the lowest whole pound. Dogs shall wear only a standard collar during weigh-in.

SECTION 5 – The Contest


The organizing club has the option to run the weight pull event class by class or in conjunction with another class or to run the event concurrently (one class at a time).


The dog that wins its weight class shall not be allowed to compete in the next weight class. However the winning dog shall be allowed to pull as many times as it wants to establish a top percentage pull. These percentage pulls shall be at the established load increment or more.


1.Each dog shall be required to pull a loaded cart a measured sixteen (16) feet within 60 seconds, the dog shall be allowed to complete the pull and the actual time required to make the pull shall be recorded.

2.During the pull the handler’s feet may be no further forward than the front of the cart when driving the dog, or their feet shall be behind the designated line 16 feet from the starting line when calling the dog. The handler shall not touch the dog, equipment or pulling surface between the start and finish line until the cart crosses the 16-foot line.

3.Once the dog is in position in front of the cart and ready to pull, the handler must attempt to cross the finish before instructing the dog to pull. (No physical handling of the dog will be allowed. Handling consists of anyone touching the dog, its harness, the sled, or any other part of the equipment or load. The dog is considered to be in position when the handler moves more than an arms length away from the dog.) If the dog pulls before its instructed and as long as the handler hasn’t touched the dog, and the dog has successfully pulled the intended weight a distance of 16 feet it’s to be considered a “pull”. In the case of a tangle or equipment failure the judge will direct the handler to physically reposition the dog. Two tangles during the same weight increment will result in a disqualification.

4.Only one handler is allowed to communicate with the dog, either with hand signals and or voice commands from the course area.

5.The handler shall be allowed to position his/her dog anywhere between the wheels in front of the starting line at the end of the extended tug line. The dog shall be positioned with enough slack in the tug line to prevent the dog from inadvertently moving the cart. There shall not be so much slack as to allow a “sling shot start.”

6.The handler may pass one or two turns but must pull on the third turn. Once the dog is hooked up to the cart the handler may not pass in that round except as stated in Section 5 #11. (Dogs are no longer required to pull the starting weight).

7.Starting weights to be pulled shall not exceed:

Class Max. Wt.

35 lb 200 lbs.

60 lb 400 lbs.

80 lb 500 lbs.

100 lb 600 lbs.

120 lb 700 lbs.

UNL 800 lbs.

These weights are maximum starting weights. If poor pulling conditions exist, the Chief Judge may adjust the starting weights lower to match the conditions.

8.The time will start once the handler is in the proper position and instructs the dog to pull, or the dog starts to pull.

9.The front wheels of the cart shall be positioned at the break line. The Chief Judge shall then direct the following sequence:

A.The cart to be positioned at the start line with the wheels perpendicular to the start line.

B.The pulling pad to be cleared (unless the handler requests assistance in hooking up the dog).

C.The handler to leave the on deck circle; hook up the dog and the pull to commence.

11.The handler has the option of having the cart placed anywhere on the starting line as long as the wheels are perpendicular to the start line. The handler has the option to reposition the cart one time. No test rolling of the cart shall be allowed.

12.In the event of a tangle, at the judges’ discretion the judge will stop the clock and the handler must realign the dog and harness before the pull is resumed. Two tangles on the same turn will constitute the dog’s removal from the competition.

13.If the cart becomes stuck on a barrier of the pulling pad it shall be considered a tangle. The clock would be stopped and the cart would then be freed of the barrier at the point of which it was stuck. The dog would be allowed to continue the pull with the remaining time left on the clock. Two tangles on the barrier on the same turn shall constitute the dog’s removal from the competition.

14.Tangles are called at the Chief Judge’s discretion. The judge shall call a tangle only if the dog or any of the equipment in use becomes entangled.

15.If any part of the harness or other equipment breaks, the handler shall have 60 seconds to repeat the pull after repairs. He/she may choose to accept this interrupted pull as a pass.

16.Food, treats or any type of bait, may only be given to the dogs pulling, after they have pulled and have been removed from the pulling area. Handlers shall not have food or bait on their person during the competition. Anyone found having bait of any kind on his or her person will be swiftly removed from competition and will receive no refund. No whips, pinch collars, noisemakers or muzzles will be permitted at any time during competition.

17.No dogs, including those not entered in competition shall be allowed in the area ahead of the starting line, except the dog that is pulling. Spectators also will not be allowed in the area ahead of the starting line.

18.There shall be a marked “on deck” area behind, but near the starting end of the pull chute. This marked area shall house only the next dog to pull.

19.Load increments shall be determined by the Chief Judge and a simple majority of the handlers. The Chief Judge shall recommend the load increments to the handlers, considering the pulling conditions and the welfare of the dogs.

20.The dog pulling the most weight in its class is declared the winner. Each successive dog pulling a lower weight is placed second, third, etc. If two or more dogs pull the same weight the required distance and can pull no more weight the full distance, the winner is determined by the fastest time in the previous pull.

21.If the dog is competing for the best percentage pull, after all other dogs in the class have been eliminated from the competition; the dog may continue to pull heavier weights. The weight increments shall be at least the designated increment but can be more.

SECTION 6 – Titles

In order for a weight pull to be recognized and points recorded, it shall be the responsibility of the hosting organization to properly report the weight pull results to the NKC

All dogs pulling 12 times their body weight will be titled as Weight Pulling Dog I =WPT 1

All dogs pulling 18 times their body weight will be titled as Weight Pulling Dog II =WPT 2

All dogs pulling 23 times their body weight will be titled as Weight Pulling Dog III =WPT 3

SECTION 7 – Reporting Results

All forms must be completed with appropriate signatures and postmarked no later than 10 days following the event. All Weight Pulls must be video taped and included with the paperwork.

Weight Pull Event results will be forwarded to:

The National Kennel Club
P.O. Box 331
Blaine, Tennessee 37709

SECTION 8 – Protest

Any entrant protesting a violation of the rules shall do so immediately following the round. The protest may be verbal but shall be followed by a written statement directed to the Chief Judge within one (1) hour after the end of the contest. A hearing shall be scheduled and a decision rendered. The decisions of the Chief Judge are final.

American Pit Bull Terrier Specialty Weight Pull Rules
Style B Weight Pull Rules

Dogs must be no less than nine (9) months of age to enter weight pull. There is no qualifying pull necessary to enter weight pull. Dog must make a complete pull to receive any points or awards.

  • All dogs must be NKC registered.
  • No bitches in heat. If a bitch is found to be in heat, the judge will disqualify the female and no refund will be made.
  • No human-aggressive dogs will be allowed to enter.
  • No artificial aids to be used on dog’s feet, carpet, etc.
  • The handlers’ meeting will be to decide if the judge will begin the time by a “Go” or “Pull” command or, if handlers prefer, by releasing the dog.
  • Three fouls and you’re out. Examples of fouls are:
  • Touching the dog or cart in any way after time has been started.
  • Pushing or dropping the dog at start of pull.
  • Human aggression toward the dog
  • Elapse of time (60 seconds).
  • Examples of alibis:

A. Tangling of traces or harnesses.

B. Equipment malfunction.

C. Outside interference that prevents the dog from completing his pull.

Handler may point out a possible alibi, but the judge’s decision is final.

Two alibis equal one foul. In the event of a foul or alibi, dog will be taken back to starting line and pull again.
If a dog completes the pull off the track, it is still considered a pull.

Weight divisions (males and females):

35 pounds and under
35 to 45 pounds
45 to 55 pounds
55 to 65 pounds
65 to 75 pounds
75 pounds and over

Example: If the dog weighs exactly 35 pounds, the handler may choose to enter either the “35 pounds and under” class or the “35 to 45 pounds” class.
Separate awards will be given to males and females for first, second, and third places in each weight division. The awards will be decided by most weight pulled per pound of body weight.

The judge will certify the cart and weight.

Owner of dog must supply his own harness. Harness must be a “standard” weight pull harness. Some clubs may have a harness to loan or information on how to obtain an appropriate harness.

Pulling track will be roped off at least ten feet on each side of track to prevent spectators from crowding the track and distracting the dog.

Points will be awarded the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners as follows:

1st place = 10 points
2nd place = 7 points
3rd place = 4 points

Trophy awards:

54lbs & under male most weight pulled per pound of body weight (male) = 15 points

54lbs & under female most weight pulled per pound of body weight (male) = 15 Points

55lbs & over male most weight pulled per pound of body weight (male) = 15 points

55lbs & over female most weight pulled per pound of body weight (female) = 15 points

Dog must pull cart 16 feet in 60 seconds.

In the event of a tie for most weight pulled award, tie will be broken by body pound. If both dogs weigh the same, tie will be broken by time.

The officiating judge shall conduct a handlers’ meeting at the beginning of the pull or before each class. Load increments: The judge shall recommend load increments based on the pulling conditions and the welfare of the dogs. The handlers shall vote on the load increments by which weight shall be increased. The decision shall be made by a simple majority of handlers present at the meeting. The judge shall decide tie votes. The load increment for each class shall remain the same throughout the class.

Once your dog has begun the pull, you may pass no more than four times.

Dogs will pull in turn, but no dog will be required to pull without a five-minute rest between pulls.

Dogs will be called in this order:

On the cart
On deck
Get ready

No more than two handlers per dog on pull. No bait is allowed.

Titles to be achieved:

100 points = Champion weight puller
200 points = Grand Champion weight puller
300 points = Super Grand Champion weight puller

Only NKC-certified judges may judge the pulls. A judge may not time his or her own dog. In this event, a backup judge will be provided.