International Weight Pull Association
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IWPA - International Weight Pull Association


Revised July 2023


The weight pulling chute shall be in an area not less than ten (10) feet no more than twenty (20) feet wide, and not less than thirty-five (35) feet long. The chute will open on the end toward which the pull is made. The chute shall be as level as hard packed snow permits. If there is any perceptible slope to the chute, the direction of the pull shall be toward the higher end. There shall be at least one (1) physical barrier separating the crowd from the chute. Dogs shall achieve traction on the same surface as that on which the sled rides.

The dimensions and the description of the weight pull chute shall be the same for wheeled pulls as for snow pulls. The chute shall be as level and firm as conditions permit. . If there is any perceptible slope to the chute, the direction of the pull shall be toward the higher end. 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 both snow or 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.


The sled must be capable of safely carrying a load of 4000 lbs. The two runners must be a flat two (2) to four (4) inches wide and at least seven (7) feet long on the contact surface and curved at the front end in a reasonable manner for a sled. The runners shall consist of a p-tex material or a steel runner. The sled must be a minimum of thirty (30) inches in width and no more than forty-eight (48) inches in width. The sled shall be provided with an adequate bridle and tug line of total length so that the point of attachment to the dog's harness be a minimum of 5' and maximum of 6' from the start line. The bridle shall be made of rope or nylon. Chains or cable will not be allowed. The sled bridle shall be tied together at a point 2' - 3' in front of the sled. The bridle will look like a Y. For the ten (10) through forty (40) pound classes, a smaller and lighter sled may be substituted as approved by the Chief Judge provided it has two (2) runners.

If the pull is held on a surface other than snow, a wheeled cart shall be used. It must be capable of safely carrying a load that can exceed 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. A spare tire for the cart or adequate repair kit should be available at the pull site. The bridle shall be made of rope or nylon and be a minimum of 5' and maximum of 6' from the start line to point of attachment to the dogs harness. 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. For the ten (10) through forty (40) pound classes, a smaller and lighter cart may be substituted as approved by the Chief Judge provided it has pneumatic tires. If using a lightweight cart/sled, when the weight is equal to that of the larger cart/sled, the competition may continue with the larger cart/sled.

An adequate supply of pre-weighed, inert material suitable for safe, stable stacking shall be provided. This is applicable for both snow and wheeled pulls.

The chute barrier shall be a minimum of three (3) feet high and not less than thirty-five (35) feet long. The chute barrier shall be located at the very edge of the pulling pad, within the chute area. The best possible barriers shall be encouraged, but any one material shall not be mandatory. The following would be considered appropriate chute barriers: plywood, wood planks, hog panels and other materials that possess a bouncing-off or glancing ability when struck by the sled, snow fence is not an acceptable barrier.(If the sled or cart becomes stuck or lodged on a barrier, it would then be considered a tangle (see Tangle Rule Sec. 5 C12). 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.


The event will be governed by the Chief Judge. To insure that the I.W.P.A. has qualified officials at its events, all Chief Judges shall be selected from a list approved by the I.W.P.A. Board of Directors. (A list of approved judges comes in the sanctioning kits, or is also available from the Judge chairperson.)

  1. The Chief Judge shall supervise the overall 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 unsportsmanlike conduct before, during and after the event.

  2. The organizer of the event shall be responsible for the completion of all forms, handler reports and information required by the IWPA and a statement verifying that all IWPA rules were adhered to. Failure to comply with IWPA rules, especially rules that deal with the safety and the welfare of the dog, or put the IWPA in a liable situation, shall be grounds for loss of sanctioning, including insurance coverage.

  3. The Sled Course Marshal shall be responsible for the safe and proper stacking of weight on the sled/ cart, proper positioning of the sled/cart, hooking up of the dogs to the sled/cart, breaking the sled when pulling on snow, and maintenance of the pulling course. The sled/cart officials may not block the dog. The track is only to be groomed between classes

  4. A qualified timer equipped with a stop watch capable of timing to a 100th of a second 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 timer and recorder shall be supervised by the Chief Judge.)

SECTION 4 - Contestants

  1. All contestants must be either a regular member of the I.W.P.A. or a provisional member to enter a dog in competition in any I.W.P.A. sanctioned weight pull. Dogs pulled by provisional members count for points but receive no points. Dogs participating in I.W.P.A. sanctioned events for points need to be owned and pulled by members (not necessarily the same member). The dog assumes the address of its current owner. Novice pullers are allowed to pull during a sanctioned event. Novice must have a specific designation marker placed on the pull harness cross strap on the back of the dog, such as a bright small flag or bright tape easily seen by everyone. Novice do not earn points nor contribute points for sanctioned participants.

  2. All sanctioned dogs must be at least one (1) year of age. Dogs may not be more than 12 years of age at the beginning of the season to compete in any IWPA 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. For the safety and welfare of the animal, all dogs must be currently immunized against any contagious canine diseases (hepatitis, distemper, leptospirosis, parvovirus, kennel cough, rabies etc.). These vaccinations must be recognized by the state/ province in which the dog is pulling. The use of performance altering drugs including but not limited to controlled substances (i.e. illegal), stimulants, oxygenators, depressants, anabolic steroids or their precursors, suppressants, CBD/THC, and diuretics shall be strictly prohibited. If an organization intends to test for illegal drug medications, it shall be declared so on the entry form. It is the handler's responsibility to submit documentation to declare use of any medication.

  4. All contestants shall fill out an official I.W.P.A. entry form.

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

  6. No pregnant or nursing bitch shall be allowed to compete in an I.W.P.A. event.

  7. For the safety and protection of the dog, all dogs shall be fitted properly with a freight or weight pull type harness which extends no more than 24 inches from the base of the dog's tail.

  8. Any person found to be participating in a dog fighting competition shall be suspended to the maximum amount, pending possible expulsion, due to abusive or inhumane treatment of dogs.

All entrants shall be responsible for the conduct of their dogs, family and handlers before, during and after the event. Vicious or unmanageable dogs shall be barred from competition. Disruptive, rude or unsportsmanlike conduct toward animals, officials, handlers or spectators will be cause for disciplinary action and/or disqualification. All dogs shall be under physical control, while in the pull area, except when hooked to the sled or cart. All handlers shall be responsible for cleaning up after their own dogs. Abusive or inhumane treatment of a dog shall be strictly prohibited and shall be cause for disqualification.

10 pounds- dogs weighing 0-10 lbs
20 pounds - dogs weighing 11-20 lbs.
40 pounds - dogs weighing 21-40 lbs.
60 pounds - dogs weighing 41-60 lbs.
80 pounds - dogs weighing 61-80 lbs.
100 pounds - dogs weighing 81-100 lbs.
125 pounds - dogs weighing 101-125 lbs.
150 pounds - dogs weighing 126-150 lbs.
Unlimited - dogs weighing more than 151 lbs.

All weights shall be rounded down to the lowest whole pound. EXAMPLE: A dog weighing 60 3/4 lbs would be recorded as 60 lbs.

All dogs must be weighed prior to each I.W.P.A. sanctioned weight pull (multiple or consecutive day pulls by the same organization require only one weigh-in). The weigh-in must be no more than 24 hours prior the start of the competition. All recorded dog weights must be rounded to the lowest whole pound. Dogs must wear only a standard collar during weigh in. All weigh-ins will be overseen by an I.W.P.A. certified judge and all dogs will be weighed in on the same scales provided for the pull. In the event that the dog's weight exceeds the scale's capacity, but it is obvious the dog is in the Unlimited Class it will be eligible to compete for points, but not Working Dog Certificates or best percentage.


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 (all classes together).

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.


  1. At any time, the harness of each dog competing in the weight class may be measured by a judge to ensure that each harness measures 24 inches or less from the base of the tail to the farthest extent of the harness when measured approximately parallel to the ground.

  2. Each dog shall be required to pull a loaded sled/ cart a measured sixteen (16) feet within 60 seconds. If the sled/cart is in continuous forward motion the dog shall be allowed to complete the pull and the actual time required to make the pull shall be recorded.

  3. Handlers shall position the dog and proceed directly across the finish line if calling or behind the front of the cart if driving without stopping or hesitating; there shall not be any communication or contact with the dog or equipment. Once the handler has crossed the 16-foot line, they may not make contact with the dog, pulling surface or equipment between the start and finish line. The handler cannot touch the dog until the pull is complete.

  4. Once the dog is in position in front of the sled/ cart no physical handling of the dog will be allowed. The judge will direct the handler to physically reposition the dog if there is a tangle or equipment failure. The dog is considered to be in position when the handler moves more than arm's length away from the dog

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

  6. The handler shall be allowed to position his/her dog anywhere between the wheels/runners in front of the sled/cart 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 sled or cart. There shall not be so much slack as to allow a sling shot start. A defined stop in the forward motion of the dog must be achieved.

  7. The handler may pass one or two turns but must pull on the third turn. Once the dog is hooked up to the sled/ cart the handler may not pass in that round except as stated in Section 5 #13. (Dogs are no longer required to pull the starting weight.)

  8. Chief Judge shall recommend the starting weight not to exceed the following:
    Class Max Wt.   Class Max Wt.
    10 lb. 100 lbs  100 lb. 700 lbs
    20 lb. 200 lbs  125 lb. 800 lbs
    40 lb. 400 lbs  150 lb. 800 lbs
    60 lb. 500 lbs  UNL. 800 lbs
    80 lb. 600 lbs   

    These weights are maximum starting weights. Each dog may enter any round at or below the max weight in that class. If poor pulling conditions exist, the Chief Judge may adjust the starting weights lower to match the conditions.

  9. Starting Weight and Load increments shall be determined by the Chief Judge and a simple majority of the handlers and shall be set prior to the beginning of the class. (A load increment usually considered appropriate for the lower classes is 40 to 50 lbs. For the larger classes it may be as much as 100 to 200 lbs. or more.) The Chief Judge shall recommend the load increments to the handlers, considering the pulling conditions and the welfare of the dogs. The selected increment for each class shall remain consistent throughout the class.

  10. 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.

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

  12. When on snow the sled shall be broken in the following manner: There shall be a break line 2 feet BEHIND the designated start line. The front of the sled shall be positioned at the break line. The Chief Judge shall then direct the following sequence: (1) The sled to be positioned at the start line with the sled runners perpendicular to the start line. (2) The pulling pad to be cleared of all sled marshals (unless the handler requests assistance in hooking up the dog). (3) The handler to leave the on deck circle, hook up the dog and the pull to commence.

  13. Tangles are called at the Chief Judge's discretion. A tangle shall be called by the judge only if the dog or any of the equipment in use becomes entangled in such a way that it could possibly cause injury to the dog. Deliberate tangles will be an immediate disqualification.

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

    2. If the sled/cart becomes stuck on a barrier of the pulling pad it shall be considered a tangle. The clock would be stopped and the sled/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 round shall constitute the dog's removal from the competition.

  14. 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.

  15. The use of whips, noisemakers, muzzles, pinch collars, or related aids shall not be permitted at any time during an IWPA event. Throwing of items while the dog is in pulling chute is considered baiting. No food, treats or bait/baiting shall be used from the time the dogs class begins until the dog is eliminated from competition and removed from the pull area. Handlers shall not have food or bait on their person during the competition..

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. The maximum number of dogs handled in a given weight class by one handler shall be limited to no more than three (3) dogs per weight class.


In order for a weight pull to be recognized and points recorded, it shall be the responsibility of the weight pull organization to properly report the weight pull results to the I.W.P.A. as outlined in the sanctioning package, by the sanctioning director.

In order for the dog to be eligible and counted for points they must be entered and eligible as described in SECTION 4 - Contestants, A. ELIGIBILITY. Each dog will receive one (1) point for each dog defeated in his class that has made a successful pull. The last place dog in each class will earn 1/2 point, providing they have made a successful pull and place 4th or below.

In addition:

  • 5 points will be awarded for first place

  • 3 points will be awarded for second place

  • 1 point will be awarded for third place

The dog's five best pulls will be counted in the final standing. Two pulls from out of region (two for snow and two for wheels) can be counted. Wheeled events will be kept separate from the snow events..

With an approved I.W.P.A. Chief Judge, dogs competing in non-sanctioned events or fun pulls shall be eligible to earn legs toward working dog titles..


All forms must be completed with appropriate signatures and statistics and postmarked no later than 5 days following the event.


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


The weight pull season shall run from September 1 through March 31.

You may also download the Rule Booklet (PDF format), and print it out

Address further questions about IWPA to: Melissa Kehler
or Membership questions to: Mary Felice
or Web site questions/comments to Sheryl Franklin

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