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Dog sports boom across Europe
15th January 2020

By Karen Pickwick

Growth in the outdoor adventure sector coupled with a desire to spend more time with our pets is stimulating a boom in dog sports across Europe, Accapi Group says.

As the exclusive European distributor of dog brand Ruffwear, Accapi has started to dig deeper into the trend.

The group’s director of marketing, Sam Collier, said: “Ruffwear customers love to get outdoors with their dogs, and the variety of gear we provide allows them to run, bike, ski and even enjoy water activities like paddle-boarding with their dogs. Our knowledge of the market tells us this is a growing trend but unfortunately there has been little research in this area, so we decided to conduct our own.”

Accapi surveyed more than 200 active dog owners and found that over 70% participated in a dog sport with their companions at least once a day. The most popular activity was hiking, with 78% of owners hiking with their four-legged friends, followed by the dog pulling sport Canicross at 43%, while participating in popular Parkrun events with a canine companion came in third at 38%. The growing trend in SUP –Stand Up Paddleboarding – was also reflected, with 26% of those surveyed taking their dog along.

RETAIL OPPORTUNITY

The survey also revealed the size of the opportunity for those retailing in the pet and outdoors sectors, with 75% buying specialist sporting equipment to allow them to participate in these activities, such as special harnesses and waist-worn leashes.

Accapi’s survey showed a wide range of breeds participating in these outdoor adventures. The most popular breed for the company’s owners was the border collie, followed by spaniels in second, terriers in third and Labradors in fourth place.

Sam said Accapi hoped this research would inspire even more dog owners to get outdoors with their four-legged friends.

“Bringing your dog along on your outdoor adventures gives you both the opportunity to enjoy the fantastic benefits of being outdoors – enjoying nature, exercise and quality time with your four-legged friend,” he said. “ Ruffwear’s range of performance dog gear, allows you to do just that.”
  
Accapi’s products for outdoor adventure include a Float Coat (dog lifejacket), retailing at £79.95; Flagline Harness, RRP £74.95; Canicross-compliant Trail Running System, at £74.95; the Roamer waist-worn leash at £41.95; and Grip Trex Dog Boots at £84.95 to protect paws from rough terrain, extreme temperartures and harmful snow-melt chemicals.