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When it comes to efficient hauling you can’t beat the traditional dog cart with its two large wheels, nowadays usually 20 inches in diameter. Modern day wagons tend to have 10 inch diameter wheels although there are some with 13 inch wheels. The smaller wheels on a wagon means more rolling resistance which causes the dog or dogs pulling it to have to work harder.

However the four wheels of a wagon make it a more stable platform and this enables greater versatility both in terms of types of cargo and for jazzing up the appearance. Carts require the balance to be maintained and this only works with a fully fixed load such as children on a seat. Loose material such as crushed stones or dirt would make it difficult to maintain the balance. It can be done with a cart but the effort required does not make this feasible for every day use.

For serious freight hauling I suggest a mesh wagon like this one that I got from the local TSC store:

Mesh wagon

It has 13 inch pneumatic wheels and, like most wagons these days, also has no tip steering. A new innovation is a removable plastic floor similar to a crate pan that protects the mesh floor from damage and allows small loose material to be carried as well. Load capacity is 1000 pounds and while that is too much of a working load for a single dog, it enables a team of dogs to be efficiently utilized.

One way of compensating for the higher rolling resistance of a wagon is to use more than one dog and wagons lend themselves to this much better than carts. This also is one of the ways to jazz up the wagon. Here is an example of a team of five set up by my son Allan with Newfs from Newfhill Kennels:

Team of five Newfs from Newfhill Kennels

There are various suppliers of wagons with all sorts of accessories such as decorative canopies and skis to replace the wheels in winter. My friend Carol Shier just ordered a wagon from Toys R Us at the end of June this year and when I heard it had a Canadian flag canopy I immediately asked to borrow it. My 11 year young boy, Gander Bear, and I were asked to participate in Canada Day celebrations showcasing Canadian dog breeds in Newmarket, Ontario. Being the hams that we are, we wanted to upstage the other breeds and we did this very successfully with the new wagon:

Gander Bear pulling canopied wagon

The biggest ham of all was Mary-Wynn Fini’s 16 year old Chihuahua, Ginger, who dared to ride in Teddy’s wagon while he was still learning to cart:

Mary-Wynn with Teddy pulling Ginger

Peter Maniate has been writing columns for the Newf News, the magazine of the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada, since 1979.  In 1996 he started writing a Newfoundland dog column in the Breedlines section of Dogs in Canada magazine on behalf of the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada.  When Dogs in Canada ceased publication at the end of 2011 he continued the Breedlines column in the Newf Newfs.

Permission is granted for re-publication of the preceding article or excerpts from it as long as the author is credited and the name of the original publication and date of first publication is included.

Newf News

July/August 2013