What is Canicross?

Canicross is a sport derived from sleddog sports. It was a way to exercise the long distance sleddogs during the off season. This was done by running the dogs in their sleddog harnesses, whilst attached to a running belt via a bungee.

The sport grew due to how accessible it is to anyone with any breed of dog. Within the last couple of years it has soared in popularity and Canicross Lincolnshire was created to fill a gap within the Lincolnshire area to help people get into the sport.

So how does this work?

Canicross involves your dog wearing a specific harness that is made for the sport, you wear a running belt, that again has been designed for the sport and you are connected to the dog via a bungee line. We recommend K9 Trail Time to get kit from as they are one of the retailers who has been around the longest and their staff also include a qualified hydrotherapist and someone qualified via the Canine Massage Guild which means they fully understand how the dog moves and functions and is as close as you will get to qualified for harness fitting. We are lucky at Canicross Lincolnshire to have a staff member at many of our runs selling kit and fitting harnesses so that you know your dog runs in the correct kit!

Why is the correct kit important?

To get the full kit, human belt, dog harness and bungee will set you back around £100. Due to this initial cost we do have some kit that can be borrowed at runs so you can see how you get on with it before buying anything. We happily lend out kit because it is really important that dogs have a correctly fitting harness so that it doesn’t affect their movement whilst running. If the harness does at all restrict their movement, over time, it will cause a muscle inbalance. This is why we are very lucky to have someone qualified to know exactly how dogs move at our runs and able to fit and check harnesses for you. The running belt for the human half is also very important! It should not sit around your lower back but be on your bum! This means when the dog pulls out front it comes from your pelvis area and doesn’t put any strain on your lower back.

Is there any training or is it a hitch up and go sort of thing?

You do need to train your dog for canicross! Some dogs take to it instantly and are like “yes lets run!” they pull out ahead and that is great! These are also the dogs that then don’t want to listen so much when you tell them left, right or more importantly ‘easy’ to slow down! Some dogs need a little more work to get them to pull out front and that is fine, we can work on that with you at runs if you want! You also need to teach your dogs directions and depending on what type of running you want to do, an ‘easy’ to slow them up and a ‘behind’, where the dog goes behind you can also be really useful. We don’t run training classes as we feel canicross is a sport that should be freely available to anyone who wants to take part. We will happily meet up with people away from a group setting to work with you if you are struggling with anything.

So do you offer lessons?

No we don’t, at least not in a ‘you pay money, we teach you’ sort of way. There is no qualification out there to teach canicross but there are a few businesses that sell courses and so there are people out there offering it. We are fortunate enough in our group to have someone who is a qualified sports leader, having taught and coached sports previously and we have several that have placed at the top level of the sport over the years. Two of which have got medals (including gold) in canicross at the british championship races and have had national top 3 rankings in canicross. We also have members with a massive range of skills with dogs, from training and behaviour to canine massage! This means that we hope we have all the bases covered to help you out. There are people who come on our runs who pay for lessons elsewhere and that is fine, we don’t mind! We are a group of people who love our sport and want to get as many people involved as possible and we are incredibly fortunate to have a wealth of knowledge behind us too!

So how do I get involved?

All our runs are put on our facebook group and so that is generally the easiest way of getting in contact with us! If however you aren’t on facebook and would like to get involved if you send us an email!