Taking your dog on a run is the ultimate ‘two birds, one stone’. You can get your daily runs in while giving your dog what they need. Canicross harnesses allow you to do this with relative ease, freeing up your hands so you can run at your best.
To set yourself up for canicross, or caniX, you’ll require a few bits of key gear to get you started. Firstly, you’ll need a harness, not only for your dog, but for you too as you’ll want to be running hands-free to help with your own forward motion, balance and for safety.
What do you need for canicross?
The three main piece of kit needed for canicross are a harness for your dog, a bungee line which’ll act as your ‘lead’ connecting you to your dog and a belt for yourself to wear.
It’s important that your lead, or line, is elasticated and not stiff as this’ll give you both more freedom on the trails and absorb shock from each other’s movements.
Harnesses for canicross should be uber comfy for your furry friend and yourself, allowing you to hit those trails and enjoy your time together. You’ll also want to look for one that’s designed to be durable, weather-proof and maybe even hi-vis if you run in low visibility.
It’s important to consider that canines come in all shapes and sizes, so what works for some may not work for others. The most ergonomic harness design is commonly considered to be one with a Y-shaped neck opening, as this should allow the most freedom of movement.
Attachment points for your canicross bungee line will vary depending on your dog’s running style. For those that pull hard when in motion, the bungee should attach to a loop on the harness at the base of the tail, whereas runners more in sync or slightly faster than their dog should consider attaching their line at the middle of its back.
How do I choose the right canicross harness for my dog?
Harness choice will depend hugely on your own dog’s size, anatomy and running style and it’s your responsibility to do the research on this as you know your dog the best!
There are a few different styles of harness to look out for, however. For yourself as the runner, there’s typically two types of waist harness out there.
A padded waist belt might feel more comfortable to you, but will be a bit more bulky around the middle. Some of these come with leg straps for a more secure fit, while others come without (or removable ones).
These belts may be more suited to smaller dogs or those who don’t pull as much, as well as those who tend to walk or walk/jog. Whereas, a lighter-weight hip belt with leg straps could be a better choice for faster duos.
There’s also the question of features. Some belts will come with small pockets to stuff keys, a phone and poop bags, and others will be much more minimalist for those that perhaps run with a rucksack and don’t require any additional capacity around the waist.
For those that prefer to have more direct control of their dog when running, a fixed attachment point may be the preferred option when connecting you to your dog via the bungee. Otherwise, a sliding point will provide more flexibility and freedom.
Best canicross harnesses to buy in 2022
Here, we’ve rounded up some canicross harnesses that have been reviewed well by users so you can start running alongside your dog. Some of these are sets with everything you need, while others are specific pieces of kit.
- For a break down of what specifically you should look for in your canicross kit, check out our kit guide here
DogFit Canicross Starter Kit
This kit from DogFit could be a great place to start. It comes with everything you need to start running with your dog, including a canicross harness for your dog, canicross belt for you, and a two-meter red bungee line. The running belt also comes complete with a back pocket for stuffing the essentials.
Manufactured in the UK and available in a variety of sizes, this starter’s set also helps you pick up the basics with a beginner’s guide and kitbag to keep all your new gear.
Be sure to refer to their sizing chart and example breed hints to pick the right sizing for you and your companion.
Howling Dog Alaska Second Skin Canicross Harness
Designed to be ‘ultra-light and ultra-modern’, this canicross harness is made from mesh fabric that aims to be breathable and quick-drying.
For those who go for an attachment point that is higher or even with the dog’s back, this harness aims to relieve the pressure off the dog’s hips when in motion.
Howling Dog Alaska says this harness is best suited to short-haired dogs.
Neewa Sled Pro Harness
With an X-back design for dogs who like to pull, this Neewa harness aims to evenly distribute pressure across the whole body so there’s no uncomfortable spots for your dog.
Made from non-allergenic materials, the harness has extra padding on the neck and chest for comfort and reflective strips for safety.
This harness is designed for ‘wolf-like shaped dogs’, including huskies, malamutes and Greenland dogs. Neewa claims it’s ideal for dog sledding, as well as trekking and canicross.
DogFit Canicross Harness
DogFit produce a range of canicross harnesses, including the Freemotion, Zero DC and multi-sport options, so you should be able to find a harness to suit your dog’s size and running style.
The DogFit harness is padded throughout and can be attached by looping over the dog’s head, then between the legs and around the stomach. It also comes with completely adjustable straps and extra padding under the chest area.
Be sure to check DogFit’s sizing chart and fitting video to find the best option for you.
Non-Stop Freemotion Harness
With a key focus on ergonomic comfort and allowing your dog uninhibited respiration while pulling on the line, the Non-Stop Freemotion harness prioritises your dog’s freedom along the trails.
The two grips on either side should also help prevent your dog from backing out of the harness.
Developed and tested by dog sled racing teams, this harness is designed to be kind on your dog and improve their run enjoyment.
Non-Stop CaniX Running Belt
This Non-Stop CaniX harness is for the runner and features a dual-belt construction to help protect your back and encourage a normal running style.
Made with breathable mesh and ‘heavy-duty buckles’ that Inner Wolf says are quick to unlock and durable in mud and icy conditions. There’s also a supremely strong sliding-lock carabiner that allows up to two bungee lines.
This belt’s also reflective up to three meters and lightweight, coming in at a claimed 280g.
For casual runs and walks, also consider…
Kurgo Dog Harness – Journey Air
The Journey Air is a harness that’s designed to be breathable, with a wide chest pad to keep the neck and shoulders as free as possible.
It comes in black and grey, and has four adjustment points to customise the fit with what kind of runner your furry friend is. The metal hardware is made from aluminium to keep the harness lightweight, while the harness itself is made from nylon.
TrueLove Dog Harness
With reflective stitching and a cushioned interior, this dog harness from TrueLove is designed to provide your dog with comfort and safety when outdoors. It has two attachment points: at the back and under the stomach, depending on your dog’s pulling strength and running style.
Available in 11 colours and five sizes, the harness is made from nylon webbing with 3M reflective material, which should help with visibility in low-light conditions.
The outer layer is said to be durable and scratch-resistant, while TrueLove claim that the fastening buckles have a large loading capacity. There’s also a label on the inside to write your dog’s name and address if they ever get lost.
As always, remember to check the sizing chart to check that this harness is compatible with your dog’s size and shape.
Pecute Hands Free Dog Running Leads with Wide Back Support Waist Bag
A wide-support waist bag with convenient storage pockets means this looks like a good choice on paper for those that like organisation. The belt is made from a mesh fabric to reduce the stress from pulling.
The dog lead includes two handles for extra support when keeping your dog under control, and is said to be able to hold dogs up to 60kg and stretch to 250cm.
Ruffwear Running Belt with Water Bottle and Dog Lead
This kit from Ruffwear provides everything you need to start running hands-free with your dog. Included is a water bottle, dog lead and hip belt. The hip belt has a handy pouch for carrying your water bottle, along with a headphones loop and two additional pockets for storing essentials. The one-size belt is adjustable to fit waists between 64-114cm.
As well as running, the Ruffwear kit can be used when hiking or mountain biking. The extendable dog lead has a webbed design to prevent swivelling and provide shock absorption.
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