Draft Tests are a series of exercises designed to develop and demonstrate the natural abilities of purebred Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs in a working capacity. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog has historically functioned as a draft dog in various capacities, and performance of these exercises is intended to demonstrate skills resulting from both inherent ability and training which are applicable to realistic work situations.
Dogs must be willing to work with their handlers and the exercises must be accomplished efficiently. It is also desirable that the dog evidence willingness and enjoyment of his work in a combination of controlled teamwork with his handler and natural independence.
To earn a GSMDCA Draft Dog title, the Swissy must earn a passing score in all elements of the draft test. A NDD title is earned at the Novice (on-leash) level, and a DD title is earned at the Open (off-leash) level.A team title is earned with two dogs attached to the same cart.
A Brief History of Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs and Drafting
Sometimes referred to as "the poor Swiss farmer's horse," the Grosse Schweizer Sennenhund, after helping herd the dairy cows in for milking would be hitched to a wagon or cart for the trip to market, and after the farmer's long day, give his master a lift back home. Since their arrival in the United States, Swissies have continued this tradition. Numerous pictures are in early Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America (GSMDCA) newsletters of Swissies pulling carts and wagons (collectively called "drafting"), in a multitude of tasks - from hauling produce and yard materials on the family farm and in the suburbs, to providing rides to small children in neighborhoods and parades.
Through the efforts of dedicated GSMDCA drafting enthusiasts, in 1998 the GSMDCA approved the GSMDCA Draft Rules and Regulations , which enabled Swissies to obtain GSMDCA draft titles by passing GSMDCA draft tests as well as Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America (BMDCA) and Newfoundland Club of America (NCA) draft tests. History was made in May 1998 when Cliff Dahl's CH Derby's Eisenhower CD qualified at a BMDCA draft test as the first Swissy to earn a draft title. In 2001 the GSMDCA hosted the first "All-Swissy" draft test in which Swissys were tested under GSMDCA rules by GSMDCA draft test judges. As of December 31, 2004, nineteen Swissys have obtained draft titles.
The GSMDCA board has approved a revised set of GSMDCA Draft Rules and Regulations (1/1/2008), effective January 1, 2008.
Getting Started Drafting
Obviously the best way of getting into drafting is to learn from someone already experienced with the sport. While the numbers of Swissies drafting is still small, the GSMDCA draft chair might know of a Swissy person in your immediate vicinity who would be willing to introduce you to the sport. Attending a Seminar or Draft Clinic is an invaluable resource for information. Observing and volunteering to help at a draft test is also a great way to learn. Last, don't limit yourself to strictly Swissy events as other local breed and training clubs with rich draft traditions may offer something in your area.
©1996-2009 Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America
List of Titles
NDD — Novice Draft Dog
DD — Draft Dog
MDD — Master Draft Dog
NBDD — Novice Brace Draft Dog
BDD — Brace Draft Dog
MBDD — Master Brace Draft Dog
Thinking of Competing in Draft? Read this first!
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America