What is Canicross?

The basic information about one of the simplest sport with dog which can be run by anyone.

Canicrosscross country running with your dog

Canicross is a dog powered sport where the dog is harnessed and attached to the runner by a bungee.  It is a way for both the owner and a dog to become healthier and fitter through the use of the outdoors. The name Canicross comes from the two words Canine and Cross Country. The sport started in Europe with mushers training their lead sled dogs when there was no snow. Since then the sport has developed into a recreational and competitive sport.

​Canicross can be run with almost any breed. The dog must be fully grown (at least 12 months old) to start Canicross but there is no upper age limit if the dog is fit and healthy. The owner should be aware of dog’s limits because not all breeds are good long-distance runners (e.g. bulldogs). Also, people of all ages and abilities can take part. There are no limits for the recreational form of Canicross, the sport is a great activity even for kids or people with different kind of disabilities. What can be nicer than the human and dog cooperation?

Equipment for Canicross

Participants do not need much to start with Canicross. The basic equipment consists of a harness for the runner (canicross belt) and a harness and a collar for the dog(s). The human and the dog are tied with an elastic leash. If there are two dogs running at the time, there is recommended a neckline to prevent dogs from running different directions.

Selection from the rules of competitive Canicross

A Canicross team consists of a competitor, racing solely on foot, and one dog.

Competitors must be aged at least 8 years on the day of the competition to take part in a Canicross race.

The dog shall wear a harness and be attached to the driver by a tug line with shock absorber at all time.

The tug line shall be attached to the driver by a hip belt or any other harness type equipment at least 7 cm (2 3/4 in) wide over the spine. It is prohibited to have any form of metal hook or ring at the driver’s end of the line.

The expanded tug line shall not be less than 1.5 meters (4.9 ft) in length and a maximum of 2.5 meters (8.2 ft) in length in the expanded condition, when measured from the rear of the dog to the belt buckle of the runner.

The driver shall not pace the dog by running ahead of the dog or force the dog to run in any way. Pulling the dog or forcing the dog to move forward by any means is strictly forbidden.

If a dog becomes unfit or refuses to advance for any reason, the competitor is not permitted to finish the heat.

During the overtaking procedure, the team being overtaken shall make unimpeded way for the passing team. On the command “TRAIL,” the participant and the dog are obliged to hold the same side of the trail and slow down.

Competitors in a race may start individually at timed intervals (“individual start”) or as a group comprising two or more competitors starting together (“group start”).

If a mass start is organised, all the competitors shall wait together behind the starting line holding their dog by the collar or the harness. If they cannot all stay on one line, they shall set more lines as required. Seeded competitors, if any, shall stay on the first line(s) ahead of the non-seeded competitors.

Sources: Wikipedia, International Federation of Sleddog Sports Race Rules