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Excellent Working
Dog Rules


Working Dog Excellent Certification Requirements

The application for Excellent Titles is the same application as for “basic” titles.  Please visit HERE for these applications.

1. Purpose
1.1. The purpose of the Working Dog Excellent (WDX) program shall be to test the Alaskan Malamutes’ working ability in as natural a situation as possible in order to ascertain his willingness to work in difficult situations over a period of time. These accomplishments should reflect endurance, attitude and training above and beyond that of the average working dog in addition to the high level of dedication to training, conditioning and achievement required at this level.
1.2. The certification committee has the right to reject any applications that do not reflect the spirit of the program.
1.3. Any Alaskan Malamute holding a basic title in the field for which is being applied. A dog need not have earned a WDA certificate in order to apply for a WDX certificate.
1.4. To provide certificates for those Alaskan Malamutes proven in these pursuits.
1.5. To thus encourage the breeding of a better Alaskan Malamute.

2. Administration
2.1. The Working Dog Excellent program (WDX) 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.
2.2. The WDX committee shall be made up of three AMCA members from three different geographical areas. Recommendation for the chairperson of the WDX committee will be made to the Board of Directors by the Chairperson(s) of the Working Dog Committee. The WDX 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 WDX level and that the committee represents all aspects of the program.
2.3. Rule changes. The WDX rules may be modified, amended, corrected, changed or discontinued upon recommendation of the majority of the WDX committee and upon approval of the Board. Clarifications or corrections that do not reflect a change in the rules may be made by the title committee and must be published in the next Newsletter following the change.

3. Eligibility
3.1. The Alaskan Malamute shall be registered or registerable with a recognized kennel club (AKC, CKC, etc.). An IPL or PAL registration number is also permitted.
3.2. Deceased Alaskan Malamutes meeting registration requirements and having fulfilled all legs of certification after January 1, 2005 are eligible for Working Dog Certification. All  necessary paperwork must be completed and submitted by the applicant for review to the Working Dog Committee.
3.3. Any Alaskan Malamute holding a basic title in the field for which is being applied.

4. Fields of Certification
4.1. Dogs may earn certification in the following fields:
     4.1.1. Working Weight Pull Dog Excellent (WWPDX)
     4.1.2. Working Pack Dog Excellent (WPDX)
     4.1.3. Working Team Dog Excellent (WTDX)
     4.1.4. Working Lead Dog Excellent (WLDX)

Certification Requirements

5. General Rules
5.1. 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).
5.2. Excursion Events may be club sponsored, group or individual outings. Excursions must be conducted with a destination in mind or a purpose of travel. Purpose of travel must not be solely for mileage accumulation (see 5.8).
5.3. Witnesses
     5.3.1. Witnesses for competitive events or club-organized excursions shall be an event official or organizer.
     5.3.2. Witnesses for non-competitive sledding and pack excursions shall be impartial, which excludes family members, residents of the same household such as the applicant, the dogs’ breeder, any vested parties, and the like.
5.4. Documentation – Documentation for back country 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. All documents must be submitted in an organized manner with items appropriately labeled and clearly identifiable.
     5.4.1. Maps such as USGS topographic maps or Forest Service maps with the route designated on it must be included with the application. 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 must be included. A GPS printout may be submitted as documentation if an impartial witness is not available.
     5.4.2. Verifiable photographs of the applicants’ team or pack dog at a specified location (for example at a trail sign) and a detailed narrative about the trip must be included. If applying an elevation credit, please include an elevation profile or topographic map.
     5.4.3. A completed title/leg tracking sheet must accompany each application.
5.5. Variations – Anyone planning a trip or race that they are not sure will qualify under the WDX rules may inquire of the committee at least four weeks prior to the event. Communication with the committee in advance of a leg/title is not pre-approval nor is it a guarantee the committee will approve the application.
     5.5.1. Appeal— Applicants will be given every opportunity during the review process to provide any additional information or documentation the committee may need in evaluation of an application. Anyone wishing to appeal the outcome of an application
may do so to the title committee chair by contacting the chair within 5 days of the sent date of electronic notification of an unaccepted application. Applicants must include any additional documentation to support their application at this time. The title chair will notify the Working Dog Committee chair(s) of the appeal. The title chair may elect to resubmit the application to the committee for review with any additional information the applicant has provided. Upon decision by the title chair or title committee, the title application will be considered closed and ineligible for resubmission,

5.6. 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 WDX award for his dogs. Dogs must present a good example of the breed, being manageable non-aggressive workers and not posing a threat to other dogs or people.
5.7. Application – Mileage/pulls used toward one title may not be applied toward another.
5.8. Lapping – Out and back travel is acceptable. But, during the course of a day, a trail or a section of a trail is not to be repeatedly passed over with the sole intent of mileage accumulation. Sections of trail may be repeatedly passed over in order to access other areas, trails systems, or for some other reasonable purpose which should be documented. (See 5.2.)

6. Working Weight Pull Dog Excellent
6.1. All dogs pulling must have attained one full year of age.
6.2. All dogs must be weighed at each event. A dog must be pulling in the weight class appropriate to for the individual dog. All weights are rounded down to the nearest whole number. They may not move down or up a weight class. In the case of a multiple day event, dogs need not be re-weighed each day unless they are within 2 lbs. of the class limit. 

6.3. Dogs must qualify in 5 competitions by:
     6.3.1. Pulling 14 times his body weight on snow with a sled.
     6.3.2. Pulling 16 times his weight on any other natural surface with a wheeled cart.
     6.3.3. Pulling the following weights by weight class, on a man-made surface:
 60# and Under Class - 23 times the dog's weight
 61-80# Class - 23 times the dog's weight
 81-100# Class - 21 times the dog's weight
 101-120# Class - 19 times the dog's weight
 121# and Over Class - 19 times the dog's weight
6.4. ISDRA, AMCA, IWPA or other previously approved rules shall be used.
6.5. In addition to requirements 1, 2 or 3, the dog must place in the top 1/3 percentile of his weight class in each event. In the event the top 1/3 comes out as a fraction, that dog will qualify.

6.6. 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.

7. Working Pack Dog Excellent
7.1. Dogs must exceed 12 months of age at the time of the trip to qualify.
7.2. The dog’s weight and the weight of his pack must be verified before 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. At no time should the pack weight be less than 10% of the dog’s weight.
7.3. Pack trips shall be back country trips on wilderness or primitive trails with the dogs carrying equipment necessary for the trip. Back country is a remote area, inaccessible and unsuited to vehicular traffic at the time of the trip, where support and aid is not generally available.
7.4. Camp outs will be necessary due to the distance requirements. Camp-outs will take place in the back country in undeveloped areas, not at trail heads, roadside campgrounds and the like. Suitable locations for pack trips are National Forests, Parks, hiking and undeveloped natural terrain.

7.5. A total of 120 miles shall be completed in 1 to 3 trips.
     7.5.1. Each trip shall be a minimum of 40 miles with an average of 10 miles per day traveled on consecutive days. Day trips from a base camp must adhere to the 30% starting weight requirements .
     7.5.2. Applicants must include evidence of pack weight or day trips from a base camp be it via a photo of the pack weighed with a hand scale or a log of what was replaced in the pack.
     7.5.3. The 30% starting pack weight requirement does not apply to the last day when camp is broken and there is a return to the trail head.
7.6. 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. Elevation gain will be figured as the difference between the highest and lowest points of the trip each day.
7.7. Photographic evidence and the signature of an impartial witness on the form must be sent to the Committee verifying proof of distances and dog competing or a GPS printout with sufficient photographic evidence. See 5.4 for complete documentation requirements.

8. Working Team Dog Excellent
8.1. Race rules shall be ISDRA, other nationally recognized rules, or rules previously approved or agreed upon by the WD title committees.
8.2. Dogs may run on any size team and need not run on the same team for each event. The team does not have to be an all Malamute team.
8.3. Sledding may be Alaskan style or Nordic style (single file team pulling a pulk). The vehicle may be snow sled or 3- or 4-wheeled vehicle, e.g., a traditional training rig, ATVs without motor assistance.
8.4. 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. Elevation gain will be figured as the difference between the highest and lowest points of the trip each day.
8.5. Total mileage for all applicants shall be 180 miles.
     8.5.1. Races must be a minimum of 60 continuous miles. Races need not be completed so long as the minimum 60 miles per race are met.
     8.5.2. Alternatively, races may consist of two or more heats of at least 40 miles each where the applicant has completed at least two consecutive heats.
     8.5.3. Back country excursion trips shall be a minimum of 60 miles with all mileage accumulated consecutively. They shall take place in remote areas inaccessible at that time of year to motor vehicles except snow machines. 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 trails and roads are not maintained for winter use by vehicles except snow machines.
8.6. Legs approved toward the WTDA may not be applied toward the WLDA, nor any other title.

9. Working Lead Dog Excellent
9.1. THE DOG MUST RUN SINGLE LEAD on a team consisting of 3 dogs minimum.
9.2. The Lead Dog Excellent requirements are identical to those for the Working Team Dog Excellent with the exception that the dog must run lead for at least half of those requirements.
9.3. The Dog does not have to lead the same team each time to qualify.
9.4. The Dog must run on the LEADING team for approximately 50% of the time, if several teams are traveling together.
9.5. Legs approved toward the WLDA may not be applied toward the WTDA, or any other title.

Effective: October 1992
Revised: October 9, 2023


The Advanced and Excellent sledding titles both call for training, conditioning and attitude above and beyond that of the average working dog. The advanced title stipulates a high level of performance without undermining the high achievement of the excellent title. As such, both titles demand a high quality working dog appropriately trained and conditioned and with the
requisite work ethic. Training, conditioning and attitude are essential components of any dog earning these titles, with more being expected of an Excellent level dog. Distance traveled and the time in which it takes to move a given load are both indicators of above and beyond training, conditioning and attitude.

In fair conditions on excursions, it would typically be expected to see small teams traveling an average of 3-4mph, medium teams between 4-5mph and larger teams around 6mph. Load and conditions (weather, trail, etc.) may impact travel positively or negatively. The overall picture of a trip is taken into account when judging applications, including all concerns regarding animal welfare
and sportsmanship. This would extend to responsible care and safe practices for all dogs on the team and sportsmanship and safety toward other users of the trail. Any applicant in violation will be disqualified from certification. (WD rule 5.2 applies)

The Advanced sledding title was proposed by a group of mushers who wanted to recognize exceptional dogs who faced external limitations, such as reduced access to large trail systems and having smaller teams who could not travel the same daily distances as larger teams. This title demands the same “above and beyond” characteristics as the Excellent title, however was designed for and is better suited to smaller teams and those who may not have access to larger trail systems or long cold weather training seasons.

Regarding mileage at the Excellent level, 60 mile legs were typically accomplished in one to two days or during distance races. The Working Dog title asks for a minimum of ten miles per day. The Advanced title asks for a minimum of 25 miles per day or a minimum of 30 miles per leg divided into a minimum of 15 miles per consecutive day with an overnight camp-out. No
exceptions to mileage are made for these degrees of certification. Please consider as you plan your races and excursions that if this is the requirement for the other degrees, the expectation at the excellent level will be greater regardless of team size or situation. Daily mileage has remained unspecified in order to allow the committee to account for load, team size, weather and trail conditions, as on longer trips these factors may vary from trip to trip and trail to trail more so than on shorter trips.

The working sled dog titles were designed to promote and preserve the functional and historic characteristics of the Alaskan Malamute and to encourage participation in such endeavors. The program must remain meaningful even when modern times present a different situation than historic times. It is critical that we adhere to a high standard of performance otherwise
what makes the Alaskan Malamute the Alaskan Malamute will be lost.

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