A club eager to revive the traditional activity of dog carting is hosting an event in Cambridge.

The North Island St Bernard Association is putting on a carting day at the Leamington Domain on Sunday, September 16.

Carting, or draughting as it is also known, is an activity in which a dog - usually a large to giant breed - pulls a two or four-wheeled cart.

The dog is fitted with a carting harness which is attached to the cart. Younger dogs use a sled.


North Island St Bernard Association vice-president Charmaine Kendrick says carting used to be common in many European countries.

"For many hundreds of years before dogs became pets they had to earn their keep and they were used singly or in teams to pull carts loaded with goods, sometimes unattended, to the markets.

"Despite laws that were introduced from the 1820s onwards - banning the use of draught dogs in Europe - dogs were again used for pulling all manner of machinery and carts in WWI."

Charmaine says carting is now an accredited event overseas. She hopes it could become popular in New Zealand.

'Although carting is popular with large dogs ... in theory, you could have a chihuahua carting.'

During carting events the dog and cart navigate through a set course.

"At an advanced level the activity is carried out by voice command without the handler touching the dog."

Garry Bettridge, who is a jeweller in Cambridge, is taking at least one of his four dogs to the event.

He is no stranger to carting, having done it since the 1990s.


"I've owned a total of six St Bernards and all of them have been carters," Garry says.

Over the years Garry has done carting at school events and children's birthday parties.

"It always goes down a treat as an activity for children."

Garry's current St Bernard, Steffi, loves carting.

"She takes to it like a duck to water, as most dogs do. Dogs love a job and carting is a job most enjoy.

"It comes very naturally to her. After all, her breed pulled milk carts in Switzerland and they also helped rescue people in the snow for centuries."

Garry says the event in Cambridge will be an introduction to carting.

Pooches of all shape and size are invited, but the dog must be sociable and fit, and the handler must be 16 years or above.

People can bring their own harnesses and carts, but there will be some equipment supplied on the day, including a range of sizes to fit large to giant breed dogs.

"Although carting is popular with large dogs, it can be for every size and breed," Garry says.

"In theory, you could have a chihuahua carting."

Garry says the dog carting scene in New Zealand is not big, but hopes it could grow.

For dogs too young to cart, or who need a more gentle introduction, a sled like this is ideal for them to get the idea and gain confidence.

Posted by The North Island Saint Bernard Association on Saturday, 25 August 2018

"Our idea is to open it up and see if there's any interest.

"Carting is wonderful because it's a fun day out and another activity you can do with your dog."

The carting day is at the Leamington Domain on Sunday, September 16 from 8.45am-3pm. Prepaid entry is $10 which includes lunch for one handler. Spectators can view for free.

All dogs attending must be under control and on a short lead at all times.

•View the online entry form at www.nisbainc.org.nz or for more information visit www.tinyurl.com/ycprf2z8