Updated January 17, 2012

Click here for Working Dog Advanced Certification Requirements


The purpose of the Working Dog Advanced (WDA) program shall be to recognize those dogs that show advanced working capabilities. These accomplishments should reflect endurance, attitude and training above and beyond that of the average working dog, without undermining the high level of dedication it takes to achieve an Excellent title. The certification committee has the right to reject any applications that do not reflect the spirit of the program. A dog need not have earned a WD certificate in order to apply for a WDA certificate.

1. Administration

  1. The Working Dog Advanced (WDA) program shall be a continuation of the Alaskan Malamute Club of America’s Working Dog Certification rules, and unless otherwise stated, those rules and definitions apply.
  2. The WDA committee shall be made up of three AMCA members from different geographical regions. Recommendation for the chairperson of the WDA committee will be made to the Board of Directors by the Chairperson of the Working Dog Committees. The WDA chairperson shall then appoint two committee members of his or her choice from different geographical areas. It is recommended that all committee members have worked a dog to the WDA level and that the committee represents all aspects of the program.
  3. Rule changes. The WDA rules may be modified, amended, corrected, changed, or discontinued upon recommendation of a majority of the WDA committee and upon approval of the Board. If the Board deems it necessary, the change may go to the membership for a vote.

2. Fields of Certification

Dogs may earn certification in the following fields:

  • Working Weight Pull Dog Advanced (WWPDA)
  • Working Pack Dog Advanced (WPDA)
  • Working Team Dog Advanced (WTDA)
  • Working Lead Dog Advanced (WLDA)
  • Special working dog advanced certification for search and rescue, guide dog, skijoring, or the like shall be considered by special application to the WDA committee on an individual basis.

3. Certification Requirements

  1. General Rules
    1. Competitive events must be open events. Open events are those that are not restricted to certain breeds or clubs and are sufficiently advertised so that the public has the opportunity to participate. Exceptions to this will be events sponsored in conjunction with an AMCA or AKC event and therefore limited to a given breed(s) or dog(s).
    2. Witnesses
      1. Witnesses for competitive events or club-organized excursions shall be an event official or organizer.
      2. Witnesses for non-competitive sledding and pack excursions shall be impartial, which excludes family members, residents of the applicant’s household, the dog’s breeder, etc.
    3. Documentation — Documentation for backcountry packing and sledding trips may be difficult to obtain in some situations, but the applicant must provide sufficient evidence that the trip has taken place as stated. Maps such as USGS topographic maps for Forest Service maps with the route designated on it must be included with the application. Other documentation must include the signature(s) of an impartial witness(es) encountered on the trail and a statement verifying that the applicant was at the stated location on a given date, OR verifiable photographs of the applicants’ team or pack dog at a specified location (for example at a trail sign).
    4. Variations — Anyone planning a trip or race that they are not sure will qualify under the WDA rules should check with the committee prior to the event.
    5. Sportsmanship — Common courtesy and good sportsmanship shall prevail during all events and trips. Any applicant who is abusive to his dogs or other people shall not be eligible for a WDA award for his dogs. Dogs must present a good example for the breed, being manageable, non-aggressive workers and not posing a threat to other dogs or people.
  2. Working Weight Pull Dog Advanced
    1. ISDRA, AMCA, IWPA or other previously approved, nationally recognized rules shall be used.
    2. All dogs must be weighed at each event.
    3. Dogs must qualify in 5 competitions by:
      1. Pulling 14 times his body weight on snow with a sled.
      2. Pulling 16 times his weight on any other natural surface with a wheeled cart.
      3. Pulling the following weights by weight class, on a man made surface:
        1. 60# and Under Class – 23 times the dog’s weight
        2. 61-80# and Under Class – 23 times the dog’s weight
        3. 81-100# Class – 21 times the dog’s weight
        4. 101-120# Class – 19 times the dog’s weight
        5. 121# and Over Class – 19 times the dog’s weight All weights are rounded down to the nearest whole #.
      4. If, at a competition, over 75% of the total number of dogs entered in the entire competition (encompassing all classes except Novice) pull the required weight, that pull will be disallowed.

4. Working Pack Dog Advanced

  1. The dog’s weight and the weight of his pack must be verified by an impartial witness or trip official prior to the start of the trip. The dog shall carry an initial load of at least 30% of his body weight. The weight carried shall not decrease except by normal consumption of items such as food or water.
  2. Pack trips must be on natural terrain such as hiking trails or cross-country. Campouts will be necessary due to the distance requirements.
  3. A total of 80 miles shall be completed in 1 to 4 trips.
  4. Each trip shall be a minimum of 20 miles with an average of 10 miles per day on traveling days under normal conditions such as maintained trails and normal weather conditions. Day trips from the base camp must adhere to the weight requirements unless the applicant does not wish to include those miles in the trip total.
  5. Because some trips will take place in mountainous terrain, each 1,000 feet of elevation gain may be substituted for a mile of the total mileage requirement.
  6. An impartial witness must sign the form to be sent to the Committee verifying proof of distances and dog competing.

5. Working Team Dog Advanced

  1. Race rules shall be ISDRA, other nationally recognized rules, or rules previously approved by the WDA committee.
  2. Dogs may run on any size team and need not run on the same team for each event. Sledding may be Alaskan style or Nordic style (single file team pulling a pulk). Vehicle may be snow sled or 3- or 4-wheeled vehicle, e.g., a traditional training rig, ATVs without motor assistance, but not to include pedal-assisted vehicles
  3. Total mileage for all applicants shall be 110 miles.
    1. Method 1 — Races must be a minimum of 25 continuous miles. Races need not be completed so long as the minimum 25 miles per race are met. Alternatively, races may consist of two or more heats of at least 15 miles each where the applicant has completed at least two consecutive heats.
    2. Method 2 — Backcountry excursion trips shall be a minimum of 25 miles per day. The team must travel as a self-sufficient unit, hauling supplies necessary for the trip. Examples of suitable places are national forests, parks, or other areas where trail and roads are not maintained for winter use by vehicles, excepting snowmobiles. If the trip takes place in a wilderness type area, where there are no defined trails and dogs may be expected to break trail, the trip must be a minimum of 15 miles.
    3. Method 3 — Backcountry camping excursion shall be a minimum of 15 miles per day, with a total minimum of 30 miles per trip. The team must travel as a self-sufficient unit, hauling supplies necessary for the trip. Examples of suitable places are national forests, parks, or other areas where trail and roads are not maintained for winter use by vehicles, excepting snowmobiles.
    4. Method 4 — A combination of Methods 1, 2 and 3.

6. Working Lead Dog Advanced

The WLDA award shall be for dogs who have completed requirements for the WTDA, and who have completed at least half those requirements running single lead in a team of at least three dogs, where that team is also the lead team for approximately 50% of the time, if several teams are traveling together.

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