WHAT IS CANICROSS?
Canicross is simply a version of trail running, but with your dog attached to you with a running belt and a bungee line connecting to the dog’s running harness.
The dog should run out in front of you creating a pulling effect. It’s an amazing way for you and your dog to run together, get fit and build a strong bond.
Canicross originated from ‘mushers’ who needed to continue training their sleddogs in the summer months.
One of the best things about the sport is how accessible it is and how easy it is to learn together once you have only a few key pieces of kit.
Can I do Canicross?
I expect yes!
All you need is yourself, your dog and motivation to get out and learn to run together. Many different types of dog breeds and sizes can all do canicross, from Labradors, to Terriers, GSPs and Huskies. I can support all levels of canicrossers, even if you are a total beginner and would like to learn the basic commands and reach 5km together. I also coach intermediates and advanced canicrossers who are ready to progress further.
What kit do I need?
The kit is simple but important, so you should ensure you invest in the correct equipment that has been designed specifically for the sport.
- HUMAN BELT – The human wears a running belt that should sit around or just below the hips.
- BUNGEE LINE – The belt is then attached via a bungee line (to act as a shock absorber) to the dog.
- DOG RUNNING HARNESS – The dog needs a properly fitted running harness that is connected to the bungee line.
That’s all you need, then you’re ready to GO and run together!
How do I train my dog?
- COMMANDS – Before starting to run together I would recommend training the simple commands that will be needed – ‘left’, ‘right’, ‘on by’, ‘slow’, ‘lets go’ and so on… ‘stop’ is also an important one!
- GRADUAL DISTANCE PROGRESSION – From a physical point of view a dog needs to be carefully trained just like a human would when you start out running. You should build the distance together, keeping the training varied and fun.
- ENSURE ADEQUATE RECOVERY – It’s important that there is enough rest and recovery between sessions.
I’m Sarah, a sports enthusiast and animal lover. I was born and grew up in England and spent over 6 years living in Germany. I’ve now returned to Surrey, living close to the forest, with my husband Chris and our 3 lovely dogs.
I love anything connected to nature and in general to be outdoors in the forest or mountains, breathing in the fresh air!
I started canicross nearly 10 years ago with my Springador (Labrador x Springer Spaniel) Jess, after seeing people run with their dogs at the ‘Brutal 10’ events.
Our small but mighty pack consists of Jess, Poppy and Sonic, who are all wonderful, unique characters who keep us busy and happy in the outdoors.
Our motto is ‘better together’ and there is nothing more important to us than having fun whilst on the trails.
Sonic is a Eurohound from Slovenia and was born in March 2020, so the youngest of the pack and still a crazy, fun but totally lovable boy!
In out first few seasons together we trained hard, reaching a PB of 13:43 over 5k and achieving the following:
2nd at ICF World Champs ’23
3 x British Champions ‘2021-2024
5th at ICF World Champs ’22
12th at IFSS Europeans ’22
Poppy is a small Scandinavian hound born in the of summer of 2018 in Belgium. She is like no other dog I know; definitely born with a brain to run on the trails, but a sweet and loving dog at home. Despite her being only 20kg, we achieved so much together and she is simply the dream trail dog!
We finished in 8th place in the 2019 European Championships, yet only seconds off the podium.
Since then, we like to take on longer and more technical trails together. Our latest achievement was winning TDM, the mountain stage race in the French Alps, in 2023.
Jess is a Labrador x Springer Spaniel from a working line in England that I got as an 8 week old pup. She taught me everything I know about dogs and together we learnt to canicross and just love running together. She is now getting older (10 in summer 2023), so is joining mainly for hikes now. I’m so proud of how much I achieved with Jess, including completing the TDM (Trophee De Mountagnes) race with her in 2019. You can read our blog and watch our video with the below links: