When first starting out in canicross, no special equipment is required. Running with your dog, on lead, at your side is OK. As you get into the sport, there are more efficient methods of doing this.
Holding the lead can throw out your rhythm and can also restrict the dogs breathing as it pulls. Running with canicross equipment frees up your hands by wearing a running belt attached to a bungee line and harness, worn by the dog. The harness allows your dog to run without restriction to its airway and the bungee line prevents jerking to its spine. Plus you get the added benefit of harnessing your dogs full power, helping you run faster.
The rules and regulations for Canicross are set out and followed by the IFSS (International Federation of Sleddog Sports), who hold the World Dryland Championships (encompassing Canicross and Bikejor) and the ECF (European Canicross Federation).
These regulations are designed for the well-being of the canine athlete, the human competitor and general public.
Standard Canicross Equipment :
A waist belt is strongly recommended for handlers.
Dogs must wear a suitable harness and be attached to their handler by a line containing a bungee to act as a shock absorber.
Lines must not be longer than 2 meters when fully extended.
No head collars, choke chains or flexi leads are permitted.
Muzzles may be used but they must be the open, basket type, through which dogs can drink and take treats.
Runners are not allowed to wear shoes that could be dangerous for dogs. Shoes with metal spikes are strictly forbidden.
Whilst organisers will make every effort to provide water on site, Canicrossers are ultimately responsible for providing water for their dogs at all times.
Exceptions may be granted in regard to the above equipment requirements if a competitor is learning how to canicross, then a hand-held leash and flat (classic) collar will be accepted.