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Dogs have traditionally been used to pull carts in many countries in Europe. Large dogs were used in the First World War to pull Ammunition and Ambulance Carts and carried many a wounded soldier from the battle field.
The most famous draught breed is probably the Bernese Mountain Dog which was bred for this job and was used to deliver milk, farm produce and many other items around their local towns and villages in Switzerland. In other countries traders used several dogs at a time to pull carts around their towns dogs being easier and cheaper to keep in a town than a horse. In Britain dogs were used as draught animals right up until the end of the 19th century when a law was passed prohibiting them from being used in this way on public streets because of the cruelty with which many traders treated their dogs.
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One of the best things about carting with your Leonberger is the satisfaction of achieving something by working together in partnership with your dog. Most Leos like to cart and enjoy the close relationship which develops between themselves and their handler. Much like Water Work, Carting is also very sociable and is a great way to met new people. Most training days include lots of talking, eating and drinking and when actually doing some carting everyone helps each other.
Leonberger Club of Great Britain Draught tests are a great way of testing you and your dog’s carting skills. Draught Tests like Water Tests start at the lowest and easiest level and progressively get harder and more complicated and are designed to increase the bond between dog and handler and also to gradually increase the skills needed to progress to more difficult levels.
The Tests include three sections, the first being the Control Section which is basically some obedience work and will show that you have control of your Leo. The second is the Manoeuvring Section this is where you and your Leo will demonstrate your abilities to manoeuvre your way through an obstacle course specifically designed for this purpose. The third and last part is the Haul this is where you and your Leo demonstrate your ability to pull the cart over a designated distance across county. All the way through these sections the handler must show that they are working in partnership with the dog, it is all about teamwork.