What is canicross

What is Canicross?

Bertie Lange-Hewlett
🦮 Exercising with man’s best friend? 🦮 Sounds like a dream, now you can (and should!). Here’s everything you need to know about canicross!

What is canicross?

Canicross, simply put, is when someone runs cross country with their pet dog. Some of you might be thinking “there’s a thing for that?” but it’s more popular than you think.

The relationship between humans and dogs is a strong one, and that’s exactly where canicross comes from. In regions of northern Europe and near the North Pole, dogs were used to pull sleds (which were used as ambulances, cargo carriers etc.) but when the world’s technology moves forward, transport improves, and these breeds of dog weren’t working like they used to. So along comes canicross.

Even further down the line, the tables have turned and people from the fitness world decided to take the idea of keeping your dog fit, and using it to help themselves get fit too.

Like lots of activities in the fitness world, running with your dog is becoming ever more popular. With popularity comes competition and now there’s an international events and championships (more on that later…).

What is canicross

How do you do it?

Those who participate in canicross must have the dog attached to them, usually via a belt. The dog wears a special harness and the two are attached with a bungee cord (to minimise injury when dog or person pulls).

Participating in this activity can be done with more than one dog and it doesn’t matter what breed within reason. Your choice of breed and number of dogs you try to run with is solely down to your discretion but we recommend having some experience before jumping in at the deep end.

Another thing to say is, canicross has to be done cross country. Running on concrete or gravel can be bad for both parties.


Competitions in canicross are only becoming more and more popular. The fitness level of both dog and person can be pushed to a decent level in most fitness areas, including canicross.

The first competition was in the year 2000 and has grown from strength to strength since. Now canicross has regional and international competitions, including a European championship (ECF) and International Canicross Federation Championships (ICF)!

So who knows… If you get into it now, you could be a future star at the International Canicross Federation Championships.

Changing it up

Canicross isn’t the only way people exercise with their dog. With canicross rising in popularity, people have discovered many ways to change it up.

One example is people cycling with their dogs. It’s called Bikejoring and it opens up the world of fitness with your canine to many more people. Cycling is a very popular travel option so why not give cycling with your dog on your next bike ride a go?

Other variants include scootering with your dog, and believe it or not… Skiing with your dog!

If this sounds like something you’d love to get into, then check out some of our partner’s events below!

Discover Your Next Canicross Event