Canicross Dog Breeds


Dogs have been used in various types of work, from serving as herding or hunting companions to helping humans hunt and fight wars. Now, many dog breeds are employed for a more recreational activity: canicross racing. So what are the best Canicross dog breeds?

Introducing Canicross

In this sport, dogs run alongside their owners on trails or along roads while pulling them in specially designed harnesses. The owners, called “handlers,” wear padded vests or harnesses that secure them to the dog’s back. While a few dogs are born with the ability to pull, most canicross dogs are trained for this activity from puppyhood onward.

What is the Difference between Canicross and Skijoring?

Canicross is very similar in appearance to skijoring, which involves people pulling dogs while skiing or snowshoeing. However, skijoring relies on the dog’s natural instincts and not training to pull a human. In addition, canicross dogs are trained to stay with their handlers without straying from the path, whereas skijoring dogs are allowed to roam freely.

The main difference between canicross and skijoring is the distance of the race. Canicross races typically are 6 to 10 kilometers long, while a typical skijoring race lasts only one or two miles. There are also differences in equipment and attire among canicross and skijoring participants.

What are the best Canicross Dog Breeds?

As with many canines, Siberian Huskies are popular choices for canicross. These dogs are high-energy and excitable but also loyal, obedient, and eager to please their owners.

Siberian Huskies were bred for the purpose of hauling heavy loads in harsh Arctic conditions. They typically have the ideal mix of endurance, power, and energy. In addition to Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds, Border Collies, and German Shepherds are commonly used as canicross dogs.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes six different dog breeds as being especially suited for canicross: Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Samoyeds, Border Collies, Australian Cattle Dogs (also known as Heelers), and Australian Shepherds. These breeds are classified as “Category Two” dogs, meaning that they are very athletic and energetic. Category Two dogs require a high level of physical activity in order to remain healthy and happy.

  • Siberian Husky
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Samoyed
  • Border Collie
  • Australian Cattle Dogs
  • Australian Shepherds
  • Patterdale Terriers

Canicross Racing

Canicross competitions consist of two separate races: the husky race, in which dogs pull their owners through the race course, and the 2.5-mile human race. In addition to fun and companionship, canicross dogs typically are trained for competition in order to win prizes or show off their skills.

The popularity of canicross is growing quickly across North America. To learn more about this burgeoning sport, contact local dog clubs or visit websites that feature canicross resources.

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