This time I want to tell you how our actions in the past year will affect the future of the FCI. I am not saying it is not important to summarise our achievements and to explain why we proceeded in a certain way, but I want to talk about our future as an international organisation, but most important about the future of our dogs worldwide.

Three aspects have been transcendental during the past year; cooperation and collaboration, innovation and preparation for the future. These three aspects will lead our organisation for the next year.

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Rafael de Santiago
FCI President
The Aulne Abbey hosts “its” canicross!

On June 11th, the FCI was the friendly partner to the very first canicross edition in the beautiful setting of the Aulne Abbey. The City of Thuin was also involved in the incentive in the frame of the events that now punctuate the Thuin, World Capital of Dogs illustrative calendar –a designation that has started to make itself a reputation, which is a great delight to us all!

No fewer than 200 participants –and their dogs, of course– reported at the start in order to compete in the canicross disciplines in a spirit of good sportsmanship.

What are the contests’ practical details?*

Age categories and distances

U7 (under 7, or “poussins”): no timing, no ranking, just fun ;-)
U11 (7 to 10, or “minimes”): run between 1 and 2 km. Each U11 may run with an adult.
U14 (11 to 14, or “cadets”): run between 2.5 and 3 km
U18 (15 to 18, or “juniors”): take the adult track

Seniors: between 19 and 39years old
Veterans I: between 40 and 49 years old
Veterans II: from 50 years old
} Long (between 5 and 8 km) or short (between 2.5 and 3 km) tracks
Juniors and adults may choose to run either the long or the short track, or both.


Grouped in line or in individual time-trial (the latter every 30 seconds, in bib number order, or every minute in kid categories).

International competitions

The first Canicross European Cup took place in Malonne, Belgium, in 1998. This year’s edition will hold in Piémont, Italy, from October 12th to October 15th.

Are there “canicross dogs”?

“You run with your dog, the dog you love! All breeds are allowed in,” Jean-Pierre Talbot says; however, “while all dogs are accepted, not all breeds are suited. You can run with a small Jack Russell, but not with a Chihuahua or a Bulldog”.
The dog must be at least twelve months old (18 in bike-jöring). The secret lies in the human-dog adequacy in terms of capacities adjustment and exercise capability.

The background*...

We are in 1982. Together with a set of workmates, Gilles Pernoud, a young veterinary student, is looking for some innovative process to help dog owners enhance their dogs’ socialisation. These vets-to-be are sportsmen, so they think up a race with dogs, a dog-cross. They name the new activity “Cross canin” or “Canicross”. A first canicross incentive is then organised in Paris by the veterinarians union, which exclusively banks on the educational aspect, totally disregarding the sporting side of the thing. The competitors make a mass start. Some walk, some jog, and a few even run. But no specific hardware is used, since it doesn’t exist yet: the lead is connected to the collar and hand-held.

Gilles Pernoud then attends courses at the Veterinary School in Lyon. The veterinarians union repeats the “canicross” experience in 1984, this time in Lyon, yet still by the same educational token: a simple walk with one’s dog and its integration in an urban setting. This time, the competitors run more than they walk. Under Gilles Pernoud’s continuing impulse, the activity really takes off in 1986, with the creation of “Veto Racing”. It should be noted that the veterinarians’ union is not involved anymore; Veto Racing is autonomous and organises a genuine canicross close to the Veterinarian School of Lyon, in the Lacroix de Laval Estate Park. This time, the sledge dog equipment manufacturer “Gens de la Montagne” is present and offers his harnesses for sale. For humans, he proposes some sort of belt that was designed for the purpose.

On July, 14th 1986, the event takes place in Saint Pierre d'Allevard (near Grenoble). Now, things are well on the way : the competitors do run, and rules are applied, that guarantee respect for the dogs.

Canicross is...

  • two partners who build a team and enjoy running together
  • shared efforts
  • a team during exertion, of course, but also before (training, preparation, education, socialisation…) and after effort (resting, congratulations, rewarding...)

The atmosphere was very energetic and synergetic. While we have lots of opportunities to witness the incomparable bond that forms between man and dog, it is no overstatement to say that in the course of this activity, one is close to seeing it form right before your eyes!

The Aulne Abbey area definitely was bustling on this beautiful Sunday in June: in addition to the usual strollers, fonder than ever of the beautiful setting when the sun shows up, the canicross competitors and their supporters, together with all the dogs that form their respective families, made the most of the day and of the show given by all the athletes: runners and mountain biker, on two feet or four paws ;-)

And if you and your dog do not feel you can run the expected canicross distances, you can always turn to caniwalk! The benefits are the same: a privileged relationship with your four-legged friends, a positive impact on your health and on theirs, an easy practice, whether in the city or in the country; in a word... Why wait?!

© Marie Luna Durán
© Marie Luna Durán
© Marie Luna Durán

© Marie Luna Durán
© Marie Luna Durán
© Marie Luna Durán

© Marie Luna Durán
© Marie Luna Durán
© Marie Luna Durán

© Marie Luna Durán
© Marie Luna Durán
© Marie Luna Durán

© Marie Luna Durán
© Marie Luna Durán
© Yves De Clercq

© Yves De Clercq

* Canicross, bike-jöring : mode d’emploi, par Jean-Pierre Talbot

Marie Luna Durán
FCI Marketing and Public Relations Manager