03179-A: Optimal Distance for Canine Sprint Testing

Grant Status: Open

Grant Amount: $19,997
Cynthia M. Otto, DVM, PhD; University of Pennsylvania
August 1, 2023 - October 31, 2024

Sponsor(s): Labrador Retreiver Club, Inc.

Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: General Canine Health
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The field of canine performance science is growing rapidly, but there is currently no benchmark fitness test to assess muscular strength and endurance in dogs. Extensive research in the field of human athletics has examined the relationships between sprint time and other measures of athletic performance, including, but not limited to, the effects of conditioning programs, athletic equipment, and dietary supplements. This research provides evidence-based information for athletes, coaches, and trainers seeking to maximize their success. However, this type of information is not available for canine athletes.

The proposed study will establish a benchmark canine sprint test, which will use sprint test completion time to assess muscular strength and endurance. It will investigate dogs’ performance on sprint tests with course distances of either 25 or 40 meters. Each dog will run each sprint test (25 or 40 meters) on three different days, allowing the researchers to compare the consistency of the dog’s performance between days and compare their acceleration on both distances. Investigators predict that the dogs’ performance will be more consistent on the 25-meter sprint test, and that acceleration will be similar between distances. The outcome of this study will provide a benchmark for canine sprint testing, which will allow researchers and canine handlers, trainers and professionals to compare populations, evaluate effectiveness of fitness development and rehabilitation programs, monitor canine fitness, identify early onset of injury and/or illness, and develop fitness programs tailored toward their specific goals.

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