Canicross is the sport of trail running with your dog. It grew out of the northern sleddog sports, as a way to keep their dogs fit over the summer months when there wasn’t much snow on the ground. Now it is fast becoming a sport in its own right!

It is a real team effort, with the human driving from behind and your canine partner pulling from the front.

Canicross Equipment

Specialist equipment is required to connect the 2 of you together. You will require a waist belt for yourself, a sporting harness for your dog and an elasticated bungee line running between you both.

The importance of correctly fitting kit cannot be over emphasised.  This will enable you to participate safely & comfortably, getting the most from your outings. Canicross harnesses are designed to be pulled into and promote freedom of movement in the dog, while ensuring breathing is in no way restricted.

Canicross – Getting Started

Once out on the trails, it’s a good idea to teach your dog some basic commands that will help you navigate safely through your surroundings together. Stop or steady, go, left & right are a good place to start!

You don’t have to be a fast runner, and any breed of dog can have a go, as long as they are at least a year old. Asking a dog to pull in harness for you before they are fully grown, can do permanent damage to their developing joints. Different breeds mature at different rates, but always err on the side of caution and check with your vet if you are unsure.

Social and Physical Benefits For You and your Dog

We think there is no better way to explore the great outdoors! Canicross will help keep both you and your dog physically fit.  Including mentally stimulated as you learn something new together. As a training exercise, it can help to strengthen the bond you have with your pooch, while also providing a healthy outlet for high energy dogs to let off a little steam.

It’s also proven popular for owners with reactive dogs. Providing them something else to focus on can often help distract them from situations that may otherwise have caused a reaction. Additionally, your dog remains attached to you at all times.  Allowing even those dogs with poor recall or high prey drive to get out and stretch their legs.

Most importantly, it’s accessible to everybody! Whether you want to tootle round your local park on a weekend (most parkruns allow canicrossers these days), perhaps enter competitions across the country, or anywhere in between then this is the sport for you!  However, do take caution in the warmer summer months, temperature is an important factor to consider. It is essential to respect the welfare of your dogs and ensure plenty of drinking water is available for them.

DogFit have made it their mission to bring canicross to you.   In fact they have trained up dog & fitness professionals across the country to offer canicross taster sessions and training somewhere near you! They also have an online store selling a whole range of tried & tested canicross equipment. Head on over to DogFit to find out more!

LeanDog Can Support Your Dog’s Fitness

Fuel your dog’s drive and enthusiasm with LeanDog grain free premium dog food.  The perfect balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals will ensure your dog has the stamina and drive for their next adventure. Check out our LeanBlog  Healthy dog food benefits and for nutritional information and ingredients you will find more information at Our Food.

Final Thoughts

Most importantly Canicross is about having fun and being fit and healthy with your dog. There are so many fantastic benefits for you both to experience, whether you choose to power walk, run on your own or join a group. Run for fun or compete alongside others.  The level and pace is really up to you and your canine companion.

Not only will you both explore the great outdoors more, but there is the opportunity to be enjoying increased fitness and wellbeing.

Thank you to Emily Gelipter, DogFit certified canicross trainer, for sharing advice and photos.

If you have a way of keeping active with your dog and would like to share it with us, would love to hear from you.

Roz 🐕🏃‍♀️

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