Canicross: Joint sport in nature

Being outside, surrounded by forest and nature: for you and your dog there is hardly anything better than being active together? Then maybe you've heard of Canicross? This dog pulling sport is just the right thing for all two- and four-legged friends who love to run! We'll show you why it's worth pursuing this sport and what you and your furry friend can expect from canicross.

Chantal from the We love HUNTER team:

"Canicross in three words? Full throttle - teamwork - clear your head!"

What is Canicross?

Canicross gives you the chance to really push yourself - the basic recipe is persistent running, mutual trust and a good dose of fun.

The connection to you and your dog is made via an elastic pull cord, which is attached to your dog's pull harness and to your own waist belt. Your hands are free while you run. You give the commands and your dog sets the pace and pulls you behind (caution: danger of tripping!).

More and more sportsmen and sportswomen across Europe are becoming enthusiastic about this off-road running in a dog-human team. But where does this sport come from? Today's canicross is similar to the popular sports of skijoring and bikejöring.

- both are dog sports from Nordic countries, where the human is pulled by the dog on skis or on a bicycle. Dogscooting and dogtrekking also belong to these pulling dog sports.

Nicole from the We love HUNTER team:

"Canicross is my passion. Chasing through the forest together with my Paula fills us both with happiness. It took a long time for my dog to stop finding my chasing scary - now it's all the more fun!"

Canicross: What awaits you and your furry friend

In canicross, you and your furry friend run a course or trail through the terrain, which is usually about 5 to 10 km long, depending on your level of training. It is up to you whether you prefer challenging forest paths with obstacles, hilly, muddy or somewhat flatter and drier terrain. Please note, however, that softer surfaces are more suitable for the dog's sensitive paws and joints.

What sounds simple at first, however, requires a lot of training and discipline. While some dogs rush straight away, others are rather irritated that they are now supposed to pull - after all, they have usually been trained to walk at heel. Even the fact that someone is running after them has to be learned first. Trust on both sides is the key here.

You will see that the movement together, the challenge to go beyond yourself again and again, will bring you closer together with every training session!

Welche Hunde eignen sich für Canicross?

No matter whether it is an English Cocker Spaniel or a Labrador - in principle, almost any dog breed can be suitable for canicross, provided that it enjoys running and has no health restrictions. However, canicross requires a lot of strength and physical fitness - if your dog is already a senior, pay attention to him and his fitness - taking it easy can help prevent injuries. Massive dogs such as the Mastiff or Newfoundland tend to move slowly and are therefore unsuitable for Canicross.Breeds that are known for their speed and tremendous endurance particularly enjoy Canicross. These include, for example, the

Shoes, leash, harness - this is the equipment you need

You want to form an unbeatable running team with your four-legged friend? Then you will need the following equipment:

  • Running shoes: It's not uncommon for you to cover distances of over 5 km in Canicross. Therefore, you should get suitable running shoes to protect your joints. You may also need dog shoes for your furry friend, as gravel, stones and snow can cause injuries to the paws.
  • Waist belt: To allow your arms to move freely while running, you will need a running belt to which the leash is attached.
  • Elastic leash with shock absorber: The leash should be a maximum of 2 metres long and flexible with an elastic band. The shock absorber can cushion jerky movements - this is important to protect your spine.
  • Pulling harness: Make sure that the harness fits well on your dog's body. Special canicross harnesses are particularly durable, do not slip and do not restrict your dog when running. The pressure points when pulling on the pull cord must not interfere with your dog's breathing.

Caro from the We love HUNTER team:

"I came across this sport by chance and was initially worried that canicross would make leash walking more difficult. But we now have two dog harnesses at home: one for canicross and one for walking. With a bit of consistency and the two harnesses, my Maya now understands when she is allowed to pull and when not. It's great fun and keeps fit!

Canicross - how do you get started?

If you are interested in canicross, it is worthwhile to take professional training in pulling dog sports at a dog school or dog sports club. Especially for beginners, the start in this sport can be challenging:

1. Not only your strength, endurance and speed need to be trained, but also those of your dog. That's why it makes sense to train by starting slowly and gradually increasing the kilometres of the course. The load in a sport like canicross is high - for this you need muscles in the right places, which have to be built up gradually. It is therefore best to start with walking and increase the pace as soon as your condition allows.

Tip: Sore muscles? Don't worry, that's normal for beginners. Why don't you take a day off between your ambitious training sessions and enjoy yourself? How about a dog massage to loosen up your muscles?

2. The biggest difficulty with canicross is that your dog has to learn to pull on the leash in the right context. Instead of running with a slack leash, he has to run in front of you and pull you. Often, however, it is precisely this behaviour that is painstakingly trained out of puppies. Patience is therefore required here: only with a little time will your dog learn to distinguish canicross training from walking.

3. Canicross requires you to teach your dog new commands so that you don't run aimlessly through the terrain. Short commands such as "run", "stop", "left" or "right" have become popular for canicross. Slow" is also an important command that your dog should listen to.


Here are 5 good reasons why the pulling dog sport of canicross is worthwhile:

1. You experience fun in nature.

2. You and your dog will become a well-coordinated and active running team.

3. Your dog will be physically and mentally exercised.

4. Competitions, successes and challenges strengthen the bond between you and your pet.

5. This pull dog sport is suitable for many dog breeds.

Do you have any tips for Canicross beginners? We'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments!

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