Lure coursing FAQ for retired racing greyhound owners

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Our Chevy (Cheverton) and Misha (Bodhran Cailing) having the best time at lure coursing meet in Bulls 2015
There is a wonderful New Zealand Kennel Club sport available to all the sighthound breeds including greyhounds – lure coursing! It is run throughout New Zealand by a Kennel Club affiliated club, Sighthound Field Coursing Club, and dogs can earn NZKC championships, points and gain recognition for their running style.
On Mothers’ Day weekend 2015, there was a lure coursing meet at Bulls, and Nightrave went along with three likely prospects!
Our Chevy (Cheverton) and Cobby (Cawbourne Snowy), both seasoned racers, and Misha (Bodhran Cailin) with only a few starts under her belt, went along to give this new kind of chasing a try. It was wonderful to see a number of other ex-racers attending too  - with some of them coming up from Wellington.
The lure course is after a mechanical lure – not fluffy like the bunny at the track, but instead made of a bunch of plastic shopping bags. The course is much longer at around 600-700 metres, so most racers fresh off the track would struggle, plus the course is not straight nor gently curved – it has several fairly sharp turns to make sure the dogs have their eye on the plastic bag lure.
Your greyhounds need to be fit and sharp, but not racing fit – lure coursing is not so fast as racing, obviously as they need to go 600-700 metres. Despite being sprinters in their racing careers, all three Nightrave dogs LOVED the long track, kept their eyes on the lure, and managed the twists and turns with ease. The hour-or-more farm runs they do several times a week combined with their hour long daily walks was obviously perfect conditioning for this lure-cursing fun!
Misha, Cobby and Chevy have now all gained their lure coursing qualification, which means that next time they go to a meet, they can be judged. What fun!

Unlike racing, lure-coursing dogs run singly, in pairs or very occasionally in threes (this is entirely their owner’s choice). It’s not exactly a race, with style playing an important part of the judging as well as speed. Although many different breeds compete, from whippets, Borzois,  to Afghan Hounds to even a German shepherd, dogs only run against their own breed. Misha and Chevy ran together (we weren’t sure Misha would chase without encouragement, but it turned out she LOVED this new kind of lure) and Cobby ran alone.

The dogs had such a good time. There is nothing like watching a greyhound do what it loves and what it has been bred to do– run across the fields with joy in every line. While these dogs love their farm outings, lure coursing was obviously the most fun they’ve had in ages.
We’ll definitely be going again. If you have a retired dog, or one who didn’t make it on the track, and you can get its stamina up so it can happily walk or run around for an hour or more on a daily basis, then consider giving it a go!