2016 Iron Dog: Triathlons Aren’t Just for Humans Anymore

Posted by Tori Holmes
iron dog

Think triathlons are just for humans? Don't tell that to these four-legged triathletes.

A new sport is taking the canine world by storm: triathlons. The perfect sport for high-energy dogs, participants swim, "cycle," and run just like in the human competitions, but for shortened distances.

While this new form of doggie sport is relatively new, its roots lay in dogsledding.

Dogsledding originally began as a winter-only sport, but, eventually, it crossed into the warmer months as "scooterjor," or dry land mushing, as competitors began to create three-wheeled rigs that mimicked traditional sleds. In fact, a version of this is used as a substitute for a bike in some of the cycle portions of dog triathlons.

You can see highlights of scooterjor and other legs of the 2016 Iron Dog here:

Training a dog for a triathlon isn't actually that much different than training for one yourself. You and your pup will need to run consistently and rotate between swimming and "cycling" training. If your dog isn't already a runner, swimmer, or "biker" it's important to remember to start the training off slow to avoid injury.

There are even dog-specific fitness apps, like FitBark, and human fitness apps, like Strava, that have specific sections for dogs, if you really want to get serious about your training.

If you're interested in having your dog participate in a dog triathlon, you might need to do a bit of traveling. A pan-European competition based out of Austria called Racedog-Austria has been hosting Iron Dog competitions for several years, and similar events have begun in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Germany, but so far nothing official has been organized stateside.

That doesn't mean you can't start one in your own town, though!

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2016 Iron Dog: Triathlons Aren’t Just for Humans Anymore