Got a High Energy Breed Dog? Lure Coursing might be for your Dog.

by PetCloud / Pet Owner Advice / 15 Jun 2020

Boxer Dog Chasing Lure

How long has lure coursing been around for? 

Lure Coursing is a humane dog racing sport that was originally invented in the 1970's to provide Gazehound Dog Owners with a way of measuring their dog's coursing skills. These days, most organisations allow almost any dog breed to participate.

What are Gazehounds?

Gazehounds (also known as sighthounds) are a group of dogs that have been bred specifically to hunt by sight and speed, rather than by scent and endurance for example; Whippets, Greyhounds, Ibizan Hounds, Irish Wolfhounds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Salukis and Deerhounds. Apart from measuring coursing skills, these competitive trials also help to develop and preserve the hunting instincts of these energetic and graceful dogs.

What if my dog's breed isn't in the 'gazehound' group?

There are now places you can attend that are purely for fun and allow any breed of dog to participate. This fun sport can be a great hobby for those who love gazehounds and a great way for them to gain recognition for their breed. It is also a fun and exciting way to train, exercise and socialise a dog of any breed.    

The lure coursing area is generally a large open or fenced field (usually around five acres) that houses a marked course. The course will have a number of turns to simulate the way in which prey changes direction during a chase, along with some obstacles and occasional jumps. The length of the course is generally between 548 and 914 metres and is set out using braided fishing line that goes round a series of pulleys staked to the ground. The mechanically operated lure is generally a white plastic bag, as white stands out the most. 

The dogs may be clothed in specially designed coursing blankets in yellow, pink or blue, so that each dog can be easily identified. The dogs must be at least one year old before they can take part in the trials and are judged on their ability to follow the lure, their enthusiasm, agility, speed and endurance. Different organisations operate different coursing titles and hounds can earn recognised titles from these events. The hounds run in a series of different trials and all participants will receive scores from one or more judges after each run. The final results are calculated by adding each dog’s individual scores together, and then comparing them with those of other dogs from the same group.

Good lure coursing sites may not be easy to find and many people drive long distances to attend them. Even though coursing generally comes naturally to most gazehounds, you will still need to ensure that your dog has had some practise on a course before entering him/her in any competitions – many sites do offer the opportunity for practise runs at the end of their trials.

Lure coursing events run in all weathers (with the exception of extreme weather conditions) and tend to last for most of the day, so it is advisable to be fully prepared beforehand. You will need to take plenty of fresh water for your dog, a secure collar and lead, and some refreshments for yourself. Remember that your dog will also need to warm up well before the trials and should not be fed prior to running.

Of course, you may wish to also set up a program of recurring dog walks several times a week through PetCloud if you can't always make it to lure coursing.

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Article with thanks to Jane Grimshaw