Boxing has Ali. Basketball has Jordan. Hockey has Gretzky.
And, in the Yukon during Rendezvous, we have Charlie.
He is the four-time champion – the top dog, if you will – of Rendezvous’ one-dog pull.
Each year dogs from around the territory, in three different weight classes, test their mettle by pulling a sled stacked with bags of dog food 16 feet through the snow.
They’ve got to cover the ground in 60 seconds or less. The dog that is able to pull the most food relative to their weight wins a trophy. Other prizes include a share of the chow.
When Charlie retained his crown last year the 130-pound rottweiler pulled 880 pounds of food at one time.
His owner, Fred Last, says Charlie is a friendly and gentle dog who just has “no reverse.”
“When he’s in a competition I have to hide him from the rest of the dogs because he gets so jealous when the others pull and he can’t pull,” Last says.
“He wants to do it.”
Charlie has won the heavyweight category of the Rendezvous event, for dogs that are more that 100 pounds, since 2012.
Handlers cannot touch the dogs once they are harnessed and ready to pull. There’s no food or toys to entice the dog to go. Only voice commands are allowed.
“He does what I tell him to do and he listens to me, not my wife,” Last says laughing.
Like the biped athletes we admire, Charlie trains to be at the top of his game as competition day approaches. In his case that means dragging tires around Last’s property off the Hot Springs Road. He started with a car tire in January and has since moved on to a truck tire, Last said.
Charlie had signs of athletic prowess from the moment he was born in Germany six years ago.
According to the breeder, Charlie was more than 50 per cent bigger than his brothers and sisters in the same litter, Last said.
“Normally they weigh about half a pound and he was 370 grams (0.8 pounds).”
He was so big that after delivering three puppies naturally, Charlie’s mom had to be rushed in for a C-section to get him out safely. He was followed by three more siblings.
From there, he just kept growing.
The plan is to defend his title again this year, Last says.
“Right now he’s feeling good and we’re going to be in it.”
Contact Ashley Joannou at