Heard of Canicross?  Join the team from Sporty Paws in their designated hub throughout the day to hear more about what makes this canine activity unique. Plus you & your dog can try on a harness to get a hands on feel for the sport. The team will also be giving a demonstration in our Live Arena, giving you the opportunity to see the experienced handlers and their dogs in action.

If your dog is full of fun and energy and you are, too, this could be the ideal sport. The sport is suitable for all breeds of dogs, and both you and your dog can start at any level of fitness. You do not need to be a runner to take part.

Consider Canicross if

  • Both you and your dog love the outdoors
  • You want to develop an extra special bond with your dog
  • You want you and your dog to get fitter and healthier. Consider your dog's current health and fitness before you start, and a training club will be able to advise you on how to make a gradual start.

To take part, you only need a waist belt with a 2-metre bungee line to attach you and your dog together. Many companies now sell Canicross leads, and once you start, you should ask other runners for advice on the best options for you and your dog. Then it is easy as you and your dog simply run with the dog taking the front spot from start to finish.

We recommend joining a local training class, and these are located throughout the country On joining a local club, you will get experience from completing trial runs and chatting with the other members. If you wish, you can also compete in Canicross competitions, and various class categories are available, including age-specific classes.

What can Canicross do for you?

It has wonderful physical health benefits. Even short spurts of running with your dog can lead to stronger bones, ligaments and joints for both of you. Whilst there is fear that running can cause long-term injury, runners have much stronger and healthier bodies than those who do not run. Your cardiovascular fitness will improve alongside your and your canine companion's ability to maintain a healthy weight. A stronger cardiovascular system will ensure your bodies become stronger and more efficient at repairing, delivering nutrients and recovering faster from common illnesses. Canicross may also help dogs with mild hip dysplasia by strengthening muscles around the hips.

It promotes a better quality of sleep. Canicross allows our dogs to experience a thrilling rush of energy and burn off what is often pent up inside and previously may have been expressed via behavioural issues. Both of you could experience better and longer periods of sleep after running, which will encourage your bodies to repair and protect themselves more effectively overnight.

It enhances mood and overall wellbeing. Activities like Canicross can be appropriate for dogs with mental and physical skills that aren't met by simple games of fetch or walks and may also help with behavioural issues such as stress, boredom, destructive behaviour and separation anxiety. The benefits for our mental health are undeniable.

Many suffering from anxiety, depression and other mental health issues have found running and the connection with the outdoors has worked in conjunction with their other treatments or even alone to improve their overall mood. Running can also bring great increases in mood, confidence and focus. Your dog will also require this focus to receive and follow commands and, in turn, will help you work together to improve each others’ moods. In this way, Canicross and its’ related family of sports can improve the bond between you and your dog, with you both able to understand, communicate and respect each other more.

It can often be a more efficient and less intense method of exercise. Canicross could actually save you time which you dedicate to exercising, such as walks. A short and adrenaline thrilled 20-30 minutes of running with your dog can leave them feeling as stimulated and sleepy as they may after a full day trip. Contrary to what you may think, Canicross can often be much less impactful than sports such as agility.

Dogs from difficult backgrounds. Many have promoted and highlighted the benefits of activities like Canicross for dogs in rescue centres and adoption shelters. For many dogs, this has been found to help improve their chances of being adopted due to improvements in mood, behaviour and physical activity levels.