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CaniCross is the sport of cross country running with dogs. Originating in Europe as off-season training for the mushing (sledding) community, it has become popular as a stand-alone sport all over Europe, especially in the UK. Canicross is closely related to bikejoring, where participants cycle with their dog and skijoring, where participants ski rather than run.
Canicross can be run with one or two dogs, always attached to the runner. The runner wears a waist belt, the dog a specifically designed harness, and the two are joined by a bungee cord or elastic line that reduces shock to both human and dog when the dog pulls.
Originally CaniCross dogs were of sledding or spitz types such as the husky or malamute but now all breeds have begun taking part including cross breeds, small terrier breeds to large breeds such as rottweilers and standard poodles. Not only can all breeds run but people of all ages and abilities can take part, including children and the disabled such as the visually impaired.
Victoria “My son is autistic, and he finds such a sense of connection when running with the dogs. It gives him massive confidence. It helps physically and mentally.”
Some breeds are very well suited to not only running and pulling but running at steady pace over a long distance.
Your dog should be fully grown and developed before you start any in-harness running training. Ideally 12 months or potentially older if you own a larger breed.
It encourages people and their dogs to take part in outdoor activities and meet other likeminded individuals. If people have company on their daily exercise, they can feel not only more motivated, but also safer if they have a four-legged friend to accompany them.
It can really help dogs who are nervous or reactive, or who haven’t had many social interactions with others, but still need good quality exercise to meet their physical and mental needs.
Your dog can also help knock some time off your PB!
It is important to use the right equipment for you and your dog, to avoid injury. A harness and bungee lead for your dog, and a belt for yourself for hands free running.
With the variations of size and shape of dogs there’s no one harness recommendation that fits all.
Top tips for beginners, including info about harness fitting click here
CaniCross and other CaniSports click here