Titles, Rules & Requirements
The SHCA Working Pack Dog performance program recognizes the achievements of Siberian Huskies participating in verifiable hiking trips as an active member of the hiking party. Siberian Huskies may earn three titles: Working Pack Dog (WPD), Working Pack Dog Advanced (WPA), and Working Pack Dog Excellent (WPDX). All hikes must be trails in the U.S.
SHCA Pack Dog programs are open to all purebred Siberian Huskies registered with the American Kennel Club and to Siberian Huskies registered through AKC Purebred Alternative Listings (PAL) numbers or through the AKC Indefinite Listing Privilege (ILP) numbers.
A copy of the dog’s registration papers must be submitted with the completed application to validate they are a Siberian Husky.
The dog must be a minimum of one year old at the time of all pack hikes.
• Compliance: Hikers must comply with all federal, state, and local and rules and regulations.
• Dog Health and Safety: The dog must be appropriately conditioned for the distance, terrain, conditions, weather, and pack weight. Siberian Huskies that become ill, injured, or overly-fatigued must not be allowed to continue a pack hike.
• Pack Type and Load: The Siberian Husky must carry a correctly fitted and positioned canine pack with the required pack weight for the duration of the pack hike. The pack may be removed during rest times, overnight, and when crossing hazardous waterways. A travois or conveyance pulled by the dog does not qualify as a canine pack.
• Pack Weight: At the beginning of the pack hike, the total combined weight of the dog’s pack and pack contents must be no less than 25% of the dog's weight. The pack may be lightened during the pack hike due to consumption of food, water, and supplies. Throughout the pack hike, the dog must transport a minimum of 10% of its weight. At the end of the pack hike, the load must be no less than 10% of the dog’s weight.
• Pack Contents: Pack items should consist of gear appropriate and useful for hiking and/or overnight camping. Please see Suggested Pack Items list. Weights of any kind, such as lead, bricks, sand, rocks, unnecessary hardware, etc. are not permitted.
Non-consumable gear taken from the dog’s pack must be returned to the dog’s pack when no longer used. For example, if the handler removes a jacket from the dog’s pack and wears it during a rain shower, the jacket must be returned to the dog’s pack when no longer needed.
• Hikes: A minimum of two pack hikes are required to complete requirements for each title. All sections of the pack hike must be traveled on foot. Use of other forms of transportation (with the exception of a boat or ferry used to directly cross a waterway with the distance being thus traveled deducted from the total hike distance) will invalidate the entire pack hike.
• Trails: Trails must be on natural terrain - dirt, sand, snow, etc. Roads that are graveled to accommodate motorized traffic and paved surfaces do not qualify as trails. Dirt roads that are abandoned and closed to vehicular traffic are allowed.
Working Pack Dog (WPD):
• The Siberian Husky must pack hike a minimum of 40 total miles.
• All pack hikes must be completed on trails.
• Lapping is not permitted.
• All pack hikes must cover no less than five miles per day.
• At least two pack hikes must cover no less than ten miles per day.
• No more than one repeat pack hike of the same trail is allowed.
Working Pack Dog Advanced (WPDA):
Working Pack Dog Excellent (WPDX):
Trail: Path on natural terrain such as national forest trails, state/county park trails, wildlife areas, nature preserves, and cross-country excursions. Paths or roads that are graveled to accommodate motorized traffic and paved surfaces do not qualify as trails.
Back Country Trail: Path on natural terrain such as national forest trails, state/county park trails, wildlife areas, nature preserves, and cross-country excursions of which no less than 50% of a back country trail’s mileage must traverse remote areas that are unsuited to vehicular traffic at the time of the pack hike and where provisions or support are generally not available.
Lapping: Repeatedly retracing a trail or unnecessarily crisscrossing a field to accumulate mileage. An “out-and-back” pack hike, wherein an entire trail or trail section is traversed one time in an outbound direction and one time in an inbound direction, is allowed.
Overnight Stay: Overnight stop during a multi-day hike. Only foot travel is allowed during overnight stays. Use of other forms of transportation during an overnight stay (e.g., driving or biking to a grocery store) will invalidate the entire pack hike. An overnight stay in an accommodation that is not accessed by foot does not qualify and will invalidate the entire pack hike. Please Note: for WPDX titles overnight stays MUST be trailside and consist of primitive camping (see below).
Primitive Camping: A stop or overnight stop on or adjacent to a trail utilizing only the provisions and gear carried by the dog and handler. Use of trailside three-sided roofed shelters and trailside rustic cabins (defined as cabins without air conditioning, heat, electricity, gas/propane, or other utilities) is permitted. Use of water procured from waterways, tanks, wells and unheated taps is allowed during primitive camping.
Impartial observer: An impartial witness is an “unbiased and disinterested party who will not gain in any way, financially or otherwise, from the interaction." (A friend hiking with you does not qualify).
• Pack Hike Number: Each pack hike must be individually numbered. All documentation and maps submitted for that pack hike must be labeled with the corresponding number and hike starting date.
• Dog Weight Verification: The Siberian Husky must be weighed and the weight recorded prior to the commencement of each pack hike. Dogs may be weighed at home. A veterinarian's certificate or receipt dated within two weeks of the pack hike that lists the dog’s weight is also acceptable and a minimum of one such weight verification is required per year.
• Beginning Pack Weight Verification: Pack items and weights must be recorded at the start of each pack hike. Documentation must include:
• Ending Pack Weight Verification: The total pack weight must be recorded at the end of each pack hike.
• Mileage Verification (one or both options may be utilized):
Option One: A topographic map may be submitted to verify the trail and mileage. The topographic map scale should be as detailed as possible (i.e. 1:24,000 is preferable to 1:25,000) and of good quality with clear contour lines and legible printing and must include mileage scale (e.g., 1 inch = 1 mile). The mileage calculation must be included. This option must be chosen if elevation gain is claimed.
Option Two: A trail map or other published or downloaded and printed map that clearly indicates trail distances may be submitted to verify the trail and mileage. Maps must be of good quality with legible printing and must include a mileage scale .Printed maps generated by apps or software associated with a GPS-enabled or other device carried by the handler are acceptable if such maps include road or trail names, landmarks, geographic features, or other illustrations that clearly identify the pack hike location and trail AND have been approved by the WPD committee prior to the hikes.
• Elevation Gain Verification (Optional): Elevation gain may be used as substitution for mileage or used as additional mileage. A topographic map must be submitted as proof of elevation gain.
• Trail Progress Verification (one or both options may be utilized):
Option One: For each pack hike, the signature of an impartial observer must be obtained on an Impartial Observer Form to document that the Siberian Husky and handler were observed hiking on the trail.
- Observer forms must include the date, trail name or description, location, and dog's call name and color.
- Signatures may be obtained from park employees, other hikers, or any person encountered along the trail. At least one impartial observer must provide a telephone number or email address for verification.
- An Impartial Observer Form for a group hike may be used by multiple handlers and dogs that participate in the same pack hike. The hike leader should provide each hander with a signed copy of the form as documentation.
Option Two: Photographs taken on the trail may be submitted to verify trail progress. The photographs must include a visual reference, trail marker, or landmark that clearly identifies the location. Photos must be marked with the pack hike number, pack hike date(s), and must be initialed.
Other supporting documentation:
Copies of trail guide descriptions and other documentations such as park guides and maps may also be submitted to provide additional verification of information provided (such as to verify location of a landmark in a photo, etc.)
It is the dog owner’s or co-owner’s responsibility to procure, correctly mark, correctly calculate, and submit all required maps and documentation.
Questions should be directed to a Regional Reviewer prior to the pack hike. If you are unsure if pack contents, a trail, maps (including topographic maps, when applicable), documentation, or trailside overnight stay accommodations (when applicable) meet Pack Dog Program requirements, please contact a Regional Reviewer in advance of the pack hike!
It is the applicant’s responsibility to submit clear, complete, and accurate information with correct math calculations.
Double check your work.
Incomplete and incorrect title applications and documentation will be returned.
Suggested Pack Items:
It is recommended that important survival gear such as first aid kit, flashlight, etc. should be not be carried in the dog’s pack.
It is recommended that fragile items, such as electronics, cell phones, GPS, cameras, etc., should not be carried in a dog's pack as they are subject to breakage and water damage.
Water (collapsible containers are recommended)
Collapsible water bowl
Food and snacks - human and dog
First aid kit (including Benadryl or equivalent)
Insect repellant, sunblock
Combination tool, such as a "Leatherman" or Swiss Army knife
Poop bags and/or trowel (for burying poop)
Dog vaccination records
Flashlight or headlamp
Plastic bags for keeping items/gear water safe
Camping gear for multi-day pack hikes
SHCA Working Programs Chairman
Wayne Curtis PO Box 874615 Wasilla, AK 99687-4615 E-mail: email@example.com
Sheila Blanker 465 Mt Hermon Station Road Northfield, MA 01360-9507 Email: StarNewf@aol.com
Colleen Marzluff 19426 75th Avenue SE Snohomish, WA 98296 Email: Onby@mac.com
Last update of this page: 04/10/2017.
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