What is Canicross?
Canicross is the exciting and fast growing sport of off-road running with your dog. It offers a fun, social and highly effective way for you and your dog to get fit. It is also the safest way to enjoy running with your dog – by using specially designed equipment that allows you to run hands-free and for your dog to run comfortably and efficiently.
Canicross developed from the origins of skijoring, where people ski with their dog pulling out in front of them. The kit is very straightforward and designed especially for the sport. The owner wears a waist belt, the dog wears a harness and they are attached to each other via a 2 metre bungee line. So, very little equipment is required to get started.
The human waist belt is designed to sit on the person's hips/top of their bottom. This way, any pull from the dog comes through the hips and ensures there is no nasty jarring to the back.
The dog must wear a specially designed canicross harness. Just like the person's belt, the dog's harness is built for comfort and efficiency. To ensure you get the right fit, please refer to the sizing guides on our product pages.
The bungee line is a very important piece of equipment as it helps prevent any jarring when the dog pulls, and so makes the experience much more comfortable. The idea is that you run together with your dog leading the way in front.
As well as providing the perfect way to exercise and bond with your dog, canicross is ideal for dogs with high energy levels, behavioural issues or that simply cannot be let off the lead for whatever reason.
And, if you are up for the challenge, you can run with more than one dog attached; depending on their size (and yours), two dogs are usually manageable.
The best thing of all about canicross is that you don’t have to be an experienced runner to enjoy the sport. It’s suited for people and dogs of all ages and abilities - though we do advise that your canine buddy is fully grown (so at least 12 months of age) as growth plates in the legs especially are still forming and too much stress can lead to complications later in life. If in any doubt, please seek guidance from your vet.
When you do hit the trails, stick to a pace and distance you and your dog are comfortable with and then increase mileage and intensity as you build your confidence and fitness.
And there is no preferred breed of dog - it’s not unusual to see people running with their little Terriers and Dachshunds as well Labs, Vizslas, Staffies and Huskies.
If you want some support to help you get started or simply to develop your technique and/or fitness, we offer DogFit approved canicross classes across the UK that are run by qualified Trainers. These range from complete beginner to intermediate sessions so there is something for everyone, and their number one priority is to help you enjoy the sport in a social and fun environment.
Don't forget to check out our blog for all the latest news and tips to help you get the most out of your canicross adventures.
Check out why Coco enjoys canicross so much!