The Best Canine Companions for Running
At Proviz, we love our dogs as much as our exercise. When the opportunity arises to combine the two, even better. Canicross has seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years and combines cross-country running while your dog is attached to your waist via a bungee cord. The best thing? All dogs are welcome, which got us thinking… which breeds make the best running companions?
We know plenty of our customers are fans of man’s best friend too – it was a customer’s email that inspired us to create our REFLECT360 waterproof dog jacket in the first place – so we thought we’d ask Proviz followers to help us create our own #DogJog Hall of Fame. We asked for your stories of running with your pooch – with a little pooch present for the best one.
You didn’t disappoint. We heard some wonderful tails (pun intended) from Proviz fans who love getting out with their four-legged friends – many of them challenge conventional understanding of which dogs make the best running partners. So without further ado, here’s the…
PROVIZ #DOGJOG HALL OF FAME:
The French Bulldog who’s proving the doubters wrong…
(Left) Jake and Jackie during a Parkrun. Photo credit: Jackie Stretton (right) Laura with Staffie-cross Holly (right)
Jackie, owner of plucky French Bulldog Jake, admits the breed are “not usually running dogs” given their breathing difficulties, but that “Jake must be a super Frenchie...” with a sub 20-minute 5K. What’s more “he sings beautifully (yes – sings!) on the start line.”
Jackie – who’s completed more than 60 Parkruns with Jake – says it wouldn’t be the same without a swimming pit stop halfway round for him to cool down and “seeing him have so much fun is the highlight of my run.”
The senior Staffie cross who still gets about…
Laura says her 10-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross Holly was “the reason [she] started running… We tried Canicross, and she took to it, so I started couch to 5k the next week!” she says. The best part is Holly’s boundless energy and companionship, says Laura. “When the run gets tough or aches and pains start to creep in, she's there as a great distraction and something to focus on. It's something we work as a team doing and it’s quality time spent together.”
The Collies who know a thing or two about partnership…
(Left) Border Collies Ying and Maizy. Photo credit: Sarah Howson (right) Bex's dog Benji who loves running. Photo credit: Bex Allum.
These two Border Collie sisters love a group #DogJog, although owner Sarah says: “while Maizy is a total running pro, Ying is more of a wild card. She gets a wee bit more distracted and when she sees a squirrel she wants to take off. I don't think I would have ever went out for a run if I didn't have them.”
The German Shorthaired Pointer who’s just hitting her stride…
Jessie and Dave. Photo credit: David Coleman
Jessie and owner David are fabulous examples of how to build up a running regime with your dog. “It’s very important not to overrun your dog too young,” says David. “So, we’re slowly building up the miles. She has yet to master coordination and straight line running, but she’s a very fit dog and she never tires.” (If you have a young dog, you can read Elliot’s tips for slowly introducing a puppy to running in our Ultimate Guide to Running with your Dog).
Our competition winners: Oz and Kublai, the racing cross breeds
(Left) racing rescues Kublai and Oz relaxing (right) dressing up for a Jingle Jog last year. Photo credit: Sophie Wetherall.
Our favourite real-life #DogJog heroes stormed their way into everyone’s hearts when we read owner Sophie’s story, earning themselves a REFLECT360 dog jacket and an Argentinian leather pampeano collar in the process.
Kublai (Whippet Doberman-ish) and Oz (Saluki Greyhound-ish) and are both racing rescue dogs and with a top speed of 40mph, they absolutely love running. They've achieved local hero status for their regular event running with Sophie. But there’s more to this canine couple’s story than just their speed and stamina.
One of the puppies sponsored through Evesham Greyhound and Lurcher Rescue. Photo credit: Sophie Wetherall.
Adopted by Sophie, these two are just one success story amongst the 16 plus puppies she fosters every year through Evesham Greyhound and Lurcher Rescue. “My youngest foster charge was just five weeks old,” Sophie says. “But usually they come in aged around four to six months, as that’s the age where racing dogs tend to get dumped if they don’t have enough prey drive. There’s a lot of misconceptions around greyhounds – for example that they can’t live with cats, or they don’t have any recall. These two completely dispel those myths, they’re great to run with and they’re real local heroes. We run in a lot of community events and I just love the sheer joy on their faces when they see me put my running shoes on.”
Sophie with Oz and Kublai in his new REFLECT360 jacket. Photo credit: Sophie Wetherall.
Our top tips for dog jogging
If you’re thinking about taking up running with your dog, here are some things to think about before you get going:
- Take your time – when you first go out don’t run the whole way. Start with a mile and then return to walking. If you want to make running with your pooch a regular thing you need to make the experience as positive as possible. And remember you’re conditioning them to run at your pace, not theirs.
- Be observant – your dog will give you signs that they’re getting fatigued or keen to keep going. Keep a look out but be guided by them.
- Watch for excessive panting – this is important if you’re running in heat, because they’ll get dehydrated. Make sure you know where the water bowls and shade are.
- Consider a harness – if your pup is really energetic and a little bit trickier to train then you can always hook them into a front harness. It means it feels funny when they pull forward without hurting them.
Running at night with your dog:
- Keep to a well-known route so you don’t get lost or bump into unexpected objects.
- Stay visible – get reflective gear for you and your dog.
- Stay alert for traffic if you’re running in an urban area.
- If there’s no pavement, be sure to run against traffic.
- If you’re out in the country, take a torch or headlamp with you.
You can find out more about our cool web-exclusive REFLECT360 dog jacket if you, too, like to take your pup out for a run at night.