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The Dogs

When people think of canisports they predominantly think of “Huskies”, who are undoubtedly ideal for these sports!

Many different breeds take part in canisports, however, and the bias towards traditional sledding breeds is gradually fading as the sports become more inclusive.

Traditionally the spitz breeds, such as Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes and Greenland dogs have been used. Alaskan Huskies, however, are basically crossbreeds that have been honed into the most elite running dogs in the world.

More recently Pointers, German Pointers and their crosses (Greysthers, Scandinavian Hounds) have become very popular due to their speed and stamina. These breeds had been used in Scandinavia for skijor and pulka historically.

Morphology does play a part in the ability to run. Brachycephalic (short-muzzled) dogs find breathing more difficult, especially in heat and breeds with some types of dwarfism (such as Dachshunds) may have more difficulties spinally. Nothing should prevent a dog for running for fun though; they just may not be the fastest dog in the field.

It is very important to care for you canisports dog throughout their lives. Young dogs should not be made to pull in canicross before 12 months old. With scootering and bikejor this age rises to 18 months. The larger the breed, the longer it takes for the body to mature, so this must also be taken into account.

Working a dog into their senior years is a great idea and will help their physical health no end. Do make sure that you consider their advancing years though by taking it more slowly and checking them over very carefully before and after a run.

There is a wealth of information out there so look at our links page. The following books are also interesting:

Ski Spot Run - Haarkenstad & Thompson

Mush! - LaBelle

Dog Scooter - Lewis