Sometimes referred to as “the poor Swiss farmer’s horse,” the Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund, after helping herd 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 exist 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.
Today, we celebrate the history of our breed through draft tests designed to mimic the types of obstacles a working Swissy may have had to negotiate while pulling a cart. Standing calm in harness and working steadily, dog and handler demonstrate their proficiency to work as a team to navigate a set course and earn various levels of draft titles. Draft Swissies are also useful in yard work; hauling debris, rocks, sand, etc. And many a Swissy can be seen in local parades across the United States pulling a draft cart.