This week, following on from my report of our experience of the ECF Championships, I wanted to write a little bit on what I observed about the equipment being used at the ECF Championships by the competitors for their dogs.
The main thing I noticed was the amount of Zero DC and Non-Stop harnesses being used on the dogs. Not a big surprise I suppose, bearing in mind that both brands are designed and produced in the European continent (the Czech Republic (Zero DC) and Norway (Non-Stop)) and are readily available to the European canicrossers. The dogs in these harnesses had such free range of motion through their backs and all the power was transferred down the harness through the line, leaving the human at the end of that line to try and keep up!
The other dominating harness was the x-back. There were various different brands and this was what I had expected to see, as for decades now x-backs have been the choice of harness for competitive ‘pulling’ dog sports because the design of an x-back is to effectively transfer power through the line and pull a full load over hundreds of miles. I think the x-backs will always be used in canicross, bikejor and scootering for this reason. Traditionally these harnesses have been sized for the sled dog breeds but it was clear to see the difference in the dogs’ anatomy and movement between a normal Husky and a ‘Eurohound’ (typically an Alaskan Husky crossed with a Pointer).
I think the introduction of different dog breeds into the pulling sports has been the catalyst for the harness designers of Europe to produce something that will not only fit the different breeds better but also to cater for the differences in movement. I believe that because every dog is an individual, that each dog should be treated as such when fitting a harness and no one style will suit every breed. The new designs being produced in Europe enable me as a supplier to provide a wide choice for each dog and it was great to see the brands I sell on the podium time and time again.