Coursing is a sport where dogs chase game or live prey using sight rather than scent. It was primarily used in hunting, where dogs, specifically sighthounds, saw a prey, ran and catch it, turning the “prize” to their owners. Afterward, it was developed into a sport.
Since ancient times, canines were used to pursuit game, such as hares, rabbits, foxes, and deer. Greek philosopher and historian Arrian was the first person to thoroughly detailed it in his Cynegeticus in AD 150. However, it wasn’t popularized until the sixteenth century. It became very prominent in Scotland, Ireland, and England. Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk wrote the first of rules and called them the “laws of the leash”. United States took up coursing until the nineteenth century.
After some time, they created lure coursing as a more secure and supervised sport, without the cruelty of using live prey. There are many associations that create official competitions worldwide.
Is it Legal?
There is a debate regarding the legality of coursing. Some countries, like England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, have made coursing illegal since it has been viewed as a cruel bloodsport. However, other countries, like Iberia, certain places in the United States, and the Republic of Ireland, still practiced it as a systematized and judged performance sport. Some people believe it can also be regulated as a means of pest control or hunting.
Coursing dogs were dogs breed exclusively to chase prey through sight tracking. They were known as sighthounds. The main pedigrees are Irish Wolfhound, Whippet, Afghan Hound, Borzoi, Greyhound, Azawakh, Ibizan Hound, Pharaoh Hound, Italian Greyhound, Rhodesian Ridgeback, and Basenji.
Nowadays, all dog species are allowed to participate in lure coursing, however, they must be at least one year of age.
A lure course tries to replicate open field coursing, as they did in previous times. Your dog will run after a lure, such as a canvas or plastic bags, in an established circuit. Normally, the area is large and level, measuring approximately 600 to 800 meters in length. Additionally, the lure is attached to a pulley to create straight runs and corners and is powered by a motor so its speed can be adjusted.
Official events are held in many places to test the skills of registered dogs. Judges will evaluate the dog based on 5 premises: Follow, Speed, Enthusiasm, Agility, and Endurance. The maximum score is 50 points and they must do two runs: a Preliminary Run and a Final Run.
Benefits of Lure Coursing
It can become a way for you and your dog to have fun and incorporating regular physical activity will improve your dog’s overall health. Research reveals that it can strengthen a dog’s physical structure and temperament. Additionally, it can be an alternative approach for you to bond with your beloved best friend and create an even deeper connection.
Other dog owners use lure coursing to maintain and enhance the coursing abilities genetically embedded in sighthounds, Even more, some pedigree lovers love to display their dogs’ performance and value what they were originally bred for.