History of Draft
Bernese Mountain Dogs were working dogs for generations in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland. Traditionally, Bernese hauled dairy products, such as milk and cream, from the farms to the dairy, often accompanied by children and occasionally alone. As a working dog, the Bernese contributed significantly to the family’s prosperity.
The first draft test was held in the fall of 1991 and draft is one of the requirements for the BMDCA Versatility Award.
BMDCA Draft Tests
The Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America Draft Tests are a series of exercises designed to develop and demonstrate the natural abilities of purebred Bernese Mountain Dogs in a working capacity involving hauling. Bernese have historically functioned as draft dogs in various capacities, and performance of these exercises is intended to demonstrate skills resulting from both inherent ability and training
that are applicable to realistic work situations. Efficiency in accomplishing the tasks is essential. It is also desirable that the dogs evidence willingness and enjoyment of their work in a combination of controlled teamwork with their handlers and their own natural independence.
Draft test regulations and draft titles can be found at http://www.bmdca.org/Draft/index.php
Although your Berner may not enter a Draft Test until he is two years old, even a little puppy may be introduced to a harness and dragging traces. Heavy loads, such as required for Open Draft, should not be introduced until a dog is fully mature, at least two years old. Load weight should always be increased very gradually over weeks of time. Your draft dog is an athlete and should be carefully conditioned. So, with safety always first, and your Berner and your patience in hand, enjoy exploring the draft heritage of your Bernese Mountain Dog.
BMDCGS Draft Mentors
This is a group of people who will help you navigate the world of draft. If you want to get involved in working your Bernese Mountain Dog or have questions about the sport don’t hesitate to reach out to one of these individuals.
Mona Hommel- firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Petersen - email@example.com
Maggie Dalzell - firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathe Vasquez - email@example.com
Marjorie Walter - firstname.lastname@example.org
Nancy Van Horne - email@example.com
We have several articles that can help you get started along with a list of helpful websites!
Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America Draft Info (tests may be open to other breeds)
American Bouvier des Flandres Club (tests may be open to other breeds)
Briard Club of America (tests may be open to other breeds)
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America (tests may be open to other breeds)
Great Pyrenees Club of America (tests may be open to other breeds)
Leonberger Club of America (tests open to other breeds)
Mastiff Club of America (tests open to Mastiffs only)
Newfoundland Club of America Draft Info (some tests may be open to other breeds)
American Rottweiler Club Carting Info (tests may be open to other breeds)
St. Bernard Club of America (tests may be open to other breeds)
Canadian Kennel Club (national draft program)
AKC Recognized Draft Titles (from parent breed clubs)
General Draft Info
Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Northern California: http://www.bmdcnc.org/draft.html
Bernese Mountain Dog Club of SE Wisconsin: https://www.bmdcsew.org/draft-videos
http://bernerpaw.com (Pick Drafting link)
Book: Just a Walk in the Park by Barry Solomon (available on Amazon)
Book: Carting with Your Dog by Laura Waldbaum (available on Amazon)
Northern California draft page
Draft DVD from SE Wisconsin