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What is Canicross and who can take part?

What is Canicross?
Canicross is the sport of off-road trail running which is powered by your dog, using specially designed equipment that allows you to run together safely and efficiently as a team. Your dog is attached to you during Canicross and runs out ahead of you leading the way whilst you run behind them using trained commands to control the pace and directions from behind.

Canicross originated in Europe where it was developed as out of season training for the sled dog community. Canicross is becoming more and more popular, being suitable for both beginners and elite teams enabling you to take part as a recreational sport just for fun, or compete at race level in events.

Who can take part?
Anyone can take part in Canicross pending both the dog and human in the team are both fit and healthy and that your dog/s is at the correct age to start.

Due to Canicross being a high impact sport, with both pull and resistance forces being placed on their anatomy, it’s important that dogs are fully grown before starting running to ensure their bones and joints are developed to lower the risk of any potential damage or injury occurring in the growth plates. This is typically around 1 year to 18 months of age depending on breed size, although this can be even older in some of the giant breed types. Always consult with your vet on this if you are thinking of starting Canicross together or if you dog already has any pre-existing medical conditions.

Working dogs and the typical ‘high energy’ breeds tend to be seen commonly in the Canicross world, but any breed no matter what shape or size can take part pending they are healthy and willing! I’ve seen some tiny dogs who are superb Canicross partners and it’s brilliant that more and more different breeds are being introduced to the fun of Canicross.

If you have any doubts about your own health and whether or not Canicross is suitable for you, you can take this quick and simple Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire to see if you have any health risks that may warrant you to see a doctor for sign off before starting.

Emma Cook – Owner & Certified Canicross Trainer at