It is a sport that has been going for as long as man has run with dogs for fun but over the last couple of decades is developed into a sport in its own right. Runners can be seen attached to their dogs of all breeds via a sprung lead and the athlete wearing a waist harness. The dog assists the runner by pulling them along as they try and keep pace. A great way to keep you and your canine buddies fit, train lead dogs during the summer months and enjoy time out with your dog.
The sport came about via Skijor athletes wanted to find a way to keep them and their dogs fit during the summer months when the snow was absent. So using their Skijor belts and harnesses they started running the summer trails. As with most things this soon developed into summer races and the sport of Canicross was born.
The ever first UK race took part in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire organised by Nicky & Iain Hutchinson and Matt Hammersley, they had over 25 competitors spread over Canicross, Scooter and Bikejor classes and even legendary Alaskan sprint musher, Roxy Wright came along to hand out the awards. From there many clubs adopted the discipline and it is now a sport in its own right with entries of one hundred plus at some races
With lots of clubs starting up on a local 'get-together' basis right up to the national clubs there are lots of ways to join in. All you need is a dog running belt, sprung lead of between 2 - 3 meters and a suitable working or canicross harness for your dog. Start off with short runs and work on keeping your dog out in front, teach commands for turning left ( Haw ! ) or right ( GEE ! ) and away you go.
At a national level the UK has many canicross classes running alongside the sled dog races and at the SDAS & BSSF national championships and qualifiers there is a chance to qualify for international competition in IFSS sanctioned events and represent your country!