The tradition of picking out a Christmas tree as a family can be a highlight of the holiday season. But the task of transporting the tree from the farm to the car can turn the event from fun to frustrating.
A group of Newfoundland breeders has found a solution that’s both practical and entertaining to watch: Using their dogs’ inherited drafting skills.
The New Pen Del Newfoundland Club, a regional group within the Newfoundland Club of America, works with local Christmas tree farms to provide dogs to pull the trees on specially designed carts.
One participating business, Heritage Farm in Frankford, New Jersey, has invited the Newfs and their owners for three years running and features photos of the dogs on its website.
The tradition at this farm began when fanciers Amy and Dave Supko reached out to local tree farms to offer carting services, the New Jersey Herald reported, adding that Dave, a carpenter, personally designed the cart the dogs use. (The Newfoundland Club of America also published tips on creating tree carts on its website.) Owners are encouraged to condition their dogs for at least a month in advance of the pulls, and to wait until a dog is at least 18 months of age before doing this activity. Donations and tips are collected during the events, which benefit the New Pen Del Rescue Fund. This year’s New Jersey event raised almost $500, the group reported. Another pull was held in Pennsylvania on Saturday, December 10, the group’s first in the Keystone State.
“It is a lot of fun for the dogs, and their handlers, to assist customers who come out to the farms to pick out their holiday trees,” member Kathy Weber wrote on the group’s Facebook post, attempting to recruit members to participate with their dogs. “Customers LOVE having a Newf pull their tree in!”
Although it seems like tough work for a dog to take on, Newfoundlands are bred with the ability and desire to cart. “Although he is a superior water dog, the Newfoundland has been used and is still used in Newfoundland and Labrador as a true working dog, dragging carts, or more often carrying burdens as a pack horse,” the AKC website states. In fact, the dogs can participate in carting/drafting sporting events and earn titles. Learn more about the breed here.
On December 17, in Colorado, a group of Newfs nicknamed The Amazing 8 will be participating in the holidays in a different way—by pulling Santa through the streets in the annual Olde Garden Parade. Learn more about that event here.
See a video of Newfs participating in a pull in Indiana:
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