Lure Coursing

Lure Coursing Questions and Answers - version (2-24-95)
Copyright (c) 1995 Bonnie Dalzell

1. Overview Of Document

Table of Contents

2. About the Lure Coursing FAQ

The first version of this FAQ, a 74 line (page and a half) document, originally prepared by Marcia Cavan with additional info from Carol Mount was posted as part of the AKC FAQ. Although the idea of a Lure Coursing FAQ has been retained along with some of the contact addresses this FAQ, a 1100+ line document has been composed by Bonnie Dalzell, MA with contributions by Denise Como. Since its scope is broader than AKC eventing it was moved out of the AKC FAQ into an independent FAQ. Bonnie Dalzell is an all breed ASFA and AKC Lure Coursing Judge and a long time activist in Lure Coursing.

3. Basic Questions and Answers About Lure Coursing

3.1 What Is Lure Coursing?

Lure Coursing is a humane sport which attempts to imitate the coursing of the rabbit or hare by sighthounds but without the hare. The sighthounds chase an artificial lure, usually a white kitchen garbage bag, sometimes tanned rabbit skins, or fake fur strips.

3.2 How Is Lure Coursing Accomplished?

To set up the "lure" coursing course a line composed of braided fishing line (usually 100 pound test 'trolling' line) is passed around a series of pulleys staked to the ground within a large field (at least 5 acres). The lures (most clubs use at least two lures set 10 feet apart on the line - this reduces contention among the hounds at the end) are attached to the main line and the whole system is driven from a lure machine, a device constructed from a 1955 to 1962 Ford starter motor mounted in a frame. This particular type of starter motor has a long drive shaft upon which is mounted a drive wheel that rather resembles two very sturdy pie plates welded back to back -- the line runs in the groove between the plates. Since the starter motor is DC the normal power source is provided by deep cycle 12 volt marine batteries, by 2 or 3 car batteries in parallel, or by jumper cables running to a running car or tractor. The lure machine must be capable of driving the lure at speeds up to 40 miles per hour. Control of the lure is provided by using an on-off type thumb-switch (connected to the low-current side of the starter solenoid). One such switch can be made out of a door bell switch mounted in a grip made from a bicycle handle bar grip. It is important to have a lure machine configuration that provides enough speed to keep the lure safely in front of the fastest hounds. Lure machines used in terrier trials or made with AC washing machine motors lack the power to accelerate the lure quickly enough.

The competition within a breed consists of allowing the hounds to run in braces or trios (provided that there are two or more hounds per breed) within each stake in the breed, twice. Solitary breed entries usually run alone although, with permission of the handlers, solitary entries with similar running styles may be grouped to run together - but they will be scored separately by the judge(s). For example if there was only one Pharaoh Hound and only one Ibizan Hound entered at a trial the handlers might be given the option of having those two run together.

In order to individually identify the hounds for purposes of scoring they are clothed in a coursing blanket. The blanket colors are intense pink, yellow or cyan. The blanket color is assigned to the hounds by random draw. Depending on the trial each hound receives scores from one or two judges for each run. The final placement within the stake is determined by adding together all of the hound's scores and comparing that score with those of other hounds in that stake.

Hounds can be excused from competition for the day for chasing (coursing) another hound without interfering with the other hound's run. More serious interference can result in a dismissal or a disqualification ("the aggressor in a fight on the field"). Two dismissals in 5 trials is equivalent to a disqualification. Disqualified hounds must be recertified as clean-running before they can be entered to run against other hounds.

3.3 What Is the Proper Term Used for Dogs In Lure Coursing?


3.4 What are Sighthounds?

Sighthounds are dogs that traditionally were used to chase game by sight rather than track game. The animals are normally called "hounds", a shortening of the term "sighthound" or "gazehound". That is, dogs that hunt by sight (course). In French this type of dog is called "levrier", in German "Windhund" and in Russian "borzoi".

Although the exact definition of sighthound is a topic that can generate an enormous controversy, in general they are dogs that hunt by sight and are specialized for rapid running. The AKC has sidestepped the definitional controversy by designating a sighthound as any breed whose parent club chooses to call it a sighthound. As is discussed later in this FAQ the AKC is only one of the lure coursing organizations (and the most recent entry into the field). Specific breed eligibilities will be discussed separately under each organization as the different organizations have slightly different policies towards admitting breeds into competition.

The Italian Greyhound is classified as a sighthound in Europe where it is raced in some countries, in the U.S.A. however it is classified as a toy by the AKC. There are a number of rare breeds that are considered sighthounds or separate breeds by at least some of their fanciers including (but not limited to) Sloughis, Azawaks, Tazis, Peruvian Inca Orchids, Polish Chorts, Spanish Greyhounds, Cold Blooded Greyhounds, etc. In some cases - i.e. Tazi's, Sloughi's and Azawaks there is controversy over whether they are actually breeds separate from the Saluki. There are excellent arguments on both sides and we will sidestep this one also in this FAQ (in fact with many of these breeds there is still controversy as to how the names are transliterated into English - it is not our intention to take up this controversy, either.)

3.5 What Breeds of hounds Lure Course?

Lure coursing is a sport for sighthounds. Currently the breeds commonly accepted at North American lure coursing events are:

3.5.1 What About Racing Greyhounds?

Racing Greyhounds (National Greyhound Association Registry - NGA) may be registered with the AKC as greyhounds. If the person owning the NGA hound has full ownership of the NGA hound with the NGA papers in their name a full AKC registration may be obtained. If the hound is a "rescue" an AKC Indefinite Listing Privilege (ILP) registration may be obtained after the hound is spayed or castrated.

The ASFA allows racing greyhounds to be lure coursed under their NGA registrations numbers or under the AKC ILP numbers.

The CKC does not recognize the AKC ILP numbers. The NGA hounds may be registered with the CKC or lure coursed under their NGA numbers.

3.5.2 What is the format of an NGA greyhound registration?

A racing greyhound has tattoos in both ears. The right ear tattoo is a two or three digit number followed by a letter. The month of birth is indicated by the first one or two digits, the year of birth within the decade by the last digit. The letter is the individual identification within the litter. The left ear tattoo is a five digit number which is the hound's litter number.

Each NGA greyhound has a certificate of registration from the NGA. This document is a yellow piece of paper approximately 5 inhces in height and 8 inches wide. One the front is all of the registration information for the hound including the name, breeder, and other information. In the top right hand corner of this cerificate there are two sets of numbers:

On the back of the certificate there are a set of drawings of a greyhound, both sides, front and back, four feet and closeups of the 16 toes. The hound's color, ear tattoos, markings, toenail colors and scars are marked on this side to aid in identification. This form is called the "Bertillon" after a system of criminal identification used prior to the developement of finger printing.

When entering an NGA hound in an ASFA event you need to supply the Volume and Certificate numbers, not the ear tattoo numbers. To add to the confusion whenever an NGA greyhound changes owners it's given a new certificate of registration with new Volume and Certificate numbers.

3.6 What Organizations Register Lure Coursing Sighthounds in the U. S.?

3.7 What Organizations Sponsor Lure Coursing Events?

In order of historical involvement in Lure Coursing:

In North America there are three organizations that coordinate the hosting of sighthound lure coursing trials. In order of years of experience in the sport they are the American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) founded in May of 1972, the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) which took over Canadian lure coursing from the Canadian Lure Coursing Association (CLCA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) which became active in lure coursing in September of 1991. Each have slightly different running rules and criteria for granting titles. Competitive points earned in one organization's trials do not carry over to the other group's trials. However earned titles may affect eligibility for other group's trials.

3.8 Who Puts On Trials?

Lure coursing trials are hosted by local clubs that are licensed by a sponsoring organization. At the end of the article there will be a listing of references for these clubs with contact addresses.

3.9 How Do I Prepare My Hound For Lure Coursing?

For puppies - make a rag toy - we use a lunging whip (available at most saddleries) and play with the pup a couple of times a week. Do not bore the pup with excessive lure toy play and do not discourage it by making it too hard to successfully catch the toy. Take your pup to a lure coursing practice but do not run it past its immature abilities. The initial purpose of attending the practice is to get the pup used to the coursing site, the sound of the lure machine, other people and hounds, and the action of the lure being run by the machine. On my Borzoi pups I rarely run them on FULL practice courses when they are under 11 months of age. Before that I try and get them out for a practice a month and run short courses with a straightaway and a few turns. When they approach a year of age I run them on full courses. Smaller breeds, which mature faster, may be started earlier. If the mother lure courses I use her as the mature hound when first trying them out with another hound. I especially avoid running littermates together - hounds may interfer with their littermates yet run clean otherwise. In addition sometimes you will see two littermates gang up on a third hound yet run clean otherwise.

When the hound is finished growing road work will help in physical conditioning. However, for the larger faster breeds (greyhounds, borzoi, deerhounds and salukis) you must work them fast enough to get them to gallop so that the powerful muscles used to flex and extend the back are conditioned. Trotting is stiff backed exercise for a dog and the back muscles - which are the key to a sighthound's speed - are not conditioned. Generally a hound turned out to run in a large fenced area will not self exercise at a gallop for more than 20 seconds - a typical lure course run takes 55 seconds. Letting the hound exercise by chasing another dog or small game often results in a hound that interferes or has not interest in coursing artificial lures. Extensive play with the lure toy is better, and/or road work from a bicycle, car (this takes a station wagon and two people and a SAFE road), golf cart or horse (the best method for roadwork). In the larger breeds jogging with the owner is not fast enough.

Getting the hound into running condition takes some dedication on the part of the owner but once in shape the hound will maintain conditioning fairly well if you go to trials at least twice a month.

3.10 What should I bring when I go to observe a lure field trial?

You may want to leave your hound home the first time you go to watch a lure coursing field trial.

However if you are hoping to practice the hound or wish to socialize it to this sort of event you should bring it. Remember, you must keep your hound under control at all times.

Things to bring:

3.11 Should I enter my hound in a trial without prior practice?

  • NO!

  • 3.12 How do I get my hound to a practice?

    Once you locate one, drive there with your hound!. Seriously though - locating a lure coursing practice may be difficult. You have to locate some person or club who is setting up practice events. First ask other sighthound owners if they know of any practices. Practices may be set up by:

    Since practices may be harder to find than actual competitive events, if you locate a practice session you should make it a fairly high priority to get your hound there.

    3.13 What should I bring the first time I take my hound to a trial?

    In addition to the items you would bring when you went to obseve a field trial:

    3.14 Errors of novice coursers

    3.14.1 What Is the Most Common Error that a Novice Makes?

    The most common error made by the novice lure coursing enthusiast is to enter a hound that lacks mental and physical conditioning into its first trial. It is an athletic sport, and playing in your back yard does not make them fit enough. They have to singlemindedly chase the plastic bag, not other hounds. This is a skill that is trained into them by experience gained practicing with seasoned hounds that do not interfere but also are not put off from coursing by a younger hound's playfulness or mild aggression. Seriously dog-aggressive hounds should be entered only in singles stakes. hounds that have no interest in chasing the artificial lure when by themselves rarely "click" and course the artificial lure when run with another hound. Usually they will course the other hound instead. In addition, hounds that course live game frequently will not course the artificial lure. For many of these hounds, once they have the "blood lust" that comes from actual hunting, plastic bags seem a bit tame and not worth the effort.

    3.14.2 What is the 2nd most common error that a novice makes?

    Releasing the hound when the lure begins to move rather than waiting for the huntsmaster to say "Tally Ho!".

    4. Questions and Answers About Attending a Trial.
    4.1 What is a lure coursing premium list?

    The Premium List is the little booklet-type affair you receive in the mail that tells you WHAT club is hosting WHICH event WHEN, WHO the JUDGES and FIELD PERSONNEL are, when ROLL CALL is COURSE PLANS, and things like directions to the site, nearby motels and so forth..

    Usually the Premium List is mailed out by the host club two to four weeks prior to the event. The deadline for pre- entries is typically three days before the event. 'Late' (day of trial) entries may be accepted by the host club. This will be stated in the premium list.

    by Denise Como

    4.2 What official information is in a premium list?

    4.3 What other information may be in a premium list?

    The premium list you receive prior to each event should tell you if food, water and shade are available - but never depend on it.

    It may give a list of motels and hotels that accept dogs but you should check with them and make sure that they still accept dogs. Motel managers change regularly and their policies seem to change from week to week.

    4.4 What are pre-entries?

    Entries made before the closing date and time as stated in the premium list. It is my impression that club's vary as to how they define pre entries. Some clubs define them by date and time RECEIVED while other clubs define them by date and time of POSTMARK.

    However even if your entry is mailed in time yet due to the failure of the postal service, it is not received in time for the FTS to have it at the trial, then you will have to fill out day of trial entry forms on the day of the trial.

    This is one reason to always have your hound's registration materials with you when you go to a trial.

    4.5 What about late & day of trial entries?

    Clubs may at their option choose to accept late entries after the closing of pre-entries. This WILL be stated in the premium list. If it is not in the premium list then late entries are NOT accepted.

    Entries accepted after the closing date for pre-entries are considered late or day of trial entries. The deadline for pre-entries is typically three days before the event; 'late' entries are usually more expensive because the Field Trial Secretary (FTS) must take extra time to add those entries to the record sheets the morning of the trial, this delays the start of the trial.

    If you are entering on the day of the trial, you MUST have your completed entry to the FTS BEFORE Roll Call. Usually the club requires the entries to be in 30 MINUTES PRIOR TO roll call. The exact time may vary from club to club but should be stated in the premium list.

    As a clarifying example, if Roll Call is a 9:00 am, you must have your entry in the FTS's hands no later than 8:30 AM.

    4.6 What does:

    A notice (usually on page two of the Premium) states:

    This means that you will not receive written notice by mail that your entry was received by the FTS.

    It does NOT mean your entry is unacceptable if you mail it!

    4.7 What is Roll Call?

    Roll Call is the time, prior to the commencement of coursing, by which you are supposed to have your hound ready for inspection by the inspection committee.

    At roll call the hound is examined for lameness, and breed disqualifications (where applicable). Unspayed bitches are examined to see if they show any evidence of being in season.

    After roll call the list of passed hounds is taken to the field trial secretary so that the draw can be prepared.

    4.8 What coursing equipment should I own?

    Once you are attending trials regularly, the basic equipment you will need is: I find rain coats to be preferable to rain capes. The capes tend to blow around and may frighten you hound or interfer with your handling of the hound.

    4.8.1 What are lure coursing blankets?

    Lure coursing blankets are the means by which the different hounds in a course are identified by the judge. They are light in weight and designed to be non-restrictive to the galloping hound. They should be made of a double stretch material and you need one in each of these colors:

    A good coursing blanket covers at least 60% of the hound's body without restricting its running action. Velcro works as a fastener for the "belly band" for smaller smooth coated hounds but does not work well for larger hounds or long coated hounds.

    The weakest point on a coursing blanket is the portion that runs under the neck in front of the hound's forelegs. My blankets that have lasted 15 years have this portion made out of the same material as the rest of the blanket. My blankets that wear out after a few years have this portion made of waistband elastic material.

    4.8.2 What is a lure coursing slip lead?

    A slip lead is a specialized collar and leash combination that allows the handler to rapidly release an excited hound without breaking a finger or damaging the hound. The best leads have a broad collar that is several inches smaller than the hound's neck with relatively heavy 3 inch brazed metal rings on each end of the collar. The leash portion is strung through the metal rings in such as way as to hold the hound until one end of the leash is released. Then the hound is free.

    Care needs to be taken to allow the hound to pull forward out of the collar as it is released. If the slip lead is dramatically pulled from the hound's neck by the handler, a gesture often made (one time) by novices, the heavy collar may swing sideways and can hit a competitor or the huntsmaster in the face.

    In the future I plan to have a diagram of a slip lead associated with the FAQ. For now you will have to send Bonnie Dalzell a SASE snail mail to get a diagram on paper.

    4.8.3 What is a mechanical slip lead?

    A mechanical slip lead is a slip lead device that depends upon a latching mechanism to allow the hound to be released. I have seen three types, although there are certainly more. Two of the types are based on quick release latches that must be pressed by the thumb or finger. One of them is based on a quick release latch imported from France and the other on a quick release latch that is a common piece of horse equipement. Both of these may result in a delayed or a premature slip if the hound is not quiet at the staryting line. I do not recommend them for inexperienced handlers. I also do not reccommend them for thrashing excited hounds.

    The third type is based on the quick release used in live game coursing in England. It is a sort of collar attached to a stiff handle with a quick release ring sticking up from the upper end of the stiff handle. This type looks like it would be usable even if the hound was quite rowdy in the slips. However I have not used one.

    4.9 Must my two hounds of the same breed, entered in the same stake, run together?

    If you own or co-own more than one hound in the same breed, and you do not wish those hounds to run together, mark the box on your entry 'Please Separate My Entries' and also make this request when the hounds are inspected at roll call. If there are enough hounds entered in that stake, then yours will be separated. If not, you may wish to pull one of your hounds.

    4.10 What is the Draw Order Sheet?

    The draw order sheet is the posted list of hounds divided into courses and with each hound's blanket order assignment. The Draw Order determines WHICH COURSE your hound is running in, and WHICH BLANKET COLOR your hound must be wearing at the starting line. Draws are done for Preliminary runs, then again for Finals. Always check the record sheet after the Prelims to confirm your hound's Draw for the Finals, as well as the new Draw sheets.

    4.11 What is proper lure coursing etiquette?

    Good trial sites are not easy to find and a lure coursing field trial does not generate very much income for the club so continued use of the trial site is dependent upon the good will of the property owner. Clean up after your hound and yourself! Do not damage property! Park in designated areas and don't go randomly exploring out buildings, barns and other structures not being used by the members of the field trial. Do not harrass any livestock that may be on the trial site. Be respectful of the property.

    Remember that this is a lure coursing field trial. People often travel long distances to run their hounds and have paid to enter the competition. They are there to run their hounds and they may not have had much sleep. Most people at the trial will be happy to answer your questions but pick the time to approach them carefully. Don't walk up and start talking to a judge while the person is judging. Don't try and question an exhibitor while they are actively involved in competition. Do not come out on the course with your hound, observe from the sidelines. Keep your hound on a short leash. If your hound is very excited keep it far enough away so that it does not distract the competing hounds. Don't allow it to approach other competitors hounds and "get in their faces". Hounds that are excited by the lure may be rather jumpy and even predatory. Don't interfere with the hounds of another competitor. This includes not offering food or water to hounds that are in competition. hounds can become very ill if run on full stomachs.

    4.11.1 Are lure coursing field trials appropriate places for young children?

    Not really, unless you bring along a person to tend to the young children. If you are participating at a lure field trial you may be there all day and unsupervised children can quickly become bored. Almost all the people there are there to run their hounds. Many of the hounds come from childless homes and are not socialized on children.

    The trial sites are frequently on private property which lack play facilities for children and may contain hazards to unsupervised children. At least one coursing club that I know of is required by the insurance company of the landowner of their trial site to ban children under 12 from the trial site. This was the result of damages sustained to a swimming pool by unsupervised children at a lure coursing trial.

    It is especially important to be careful with very young children around large powerful dogs. Don't wear your baby in one of those "on the parent carriers" while trying to control an excited dog that is powerful enough to pull or knock you over. Remember a 80 pound hound running at 35 miles an hour packs a powerful punch should it run into you or a child by accident.

    4.11.2 Are lure coursing field trials appropriate places for unentered dogs?

    The unentered dogs cannot be allowed to run loose during the trial. Allowing small fluffy dogs that resemble lures to run loose on the coursing field is inadvisable. Hounds that wish to run but are not allowed to run may be quite frustrated.

    It is important to always have adequate control over dogs that are not actually participating in the course in progress. There is a fine for having a loose dog interfere with a course in progress. Novices with retired racing greyhounds frequently have to pay this fine as the hounds suddenly show much more excitement than the owner has ever seen up until that time (that is they go berserk with happiness and excitement).

    Sighthounds have thick muscular necks and slender heads and can easily and unexpectedly slip a buckle collar when they become excited at the sight of the moving lure with other hounds in pursuit. For this reason you should have a martingale or choke collar for restraint of the hound at the trial site.

    It is relatively common for dogs brought to the trial site and left loose in a car to become excited at the sight and sound of the lure and destroy part of the car's interior. Rear view mirrors and upholstery are favorite targets. If the windows are left partially rolled down the dog may injure itself as it tries to get out through the window. Crating or tethering the dog with a tie out that it cannot chew through prevents these problems. Obviously no one should leave a dog alone in an unshaded car in hot weather.

    4.12 What Causes The Hold Up On The Morning Of The Trial?

    Well, it's usually paperwork. Each hound is entered, listed on the Roll Call/Inspection sheet, is presented for inspection and (hopefully) passed. The Field Clerks then prepare the draw order sheets. The Draw Order for each breed is done by random picks among the entries. Those Draws must be transferred to the Record Sheets, and Judges' forms filled out for each breed, each stake. Draws are done for Preliminary runs, then again for Finals.

    4.13 Can I Help the Trial Run More Quickly?

    Yes! You can help speed up the process!

    4.14 How Long Do Lure Coursing Trials Last?

    From roll call to the completion of the trial. Be prepared for a long day, especially in bad weather. Bring plenty of food and water. Bring warm clothing and wet weather gear. In hot weather bring shade.

    A club can usually complete an all breed trial of 30 hounds in 5 hours. I have seen 30 hound specialty trials (one breed) be run in 3 hours. However trials with small entries are often run at a leisurely pace and may take until dusk, while trials with large entries will be pushed along by the certain knowledge that they must be completed before dusk. Either way it adds up to a looong day.

    4.15 What Sort of Weather Is Encountered at Lure Coursing Trials?

    All sorts. Since trials are scheduled events they are canceled only in the case of extreme weather conditions - tornados, hurricanes, blizzards. I'm not kidding! Last winter I was scheduled to judge at a trial in New Jersey in early March. A blizzard came up the day before. It was not until 7 PM the night before the trial that it was decided to cancel the trial. Not because all the roads were closed (they were) but because with 24 inches of ice and snow on the coursing field it seemed that it would be difficult to set up a safe course.

    5. Intermediate and Advanced Lure Coursing Questions

    5.1 What about grooming for performance?

    Nails should be cut back to a reasonable length, at least so they don't actually touch the floor (make very sure you do not cut into the central vein or 'quick' when doing nails, as they will bleed profusely, leaving the hound sore, and in danger of infection). They might have to be tended to weekly, if necessary, but preferably not immediately prior to an event. Check between the webs of the toes and all the pads to be sure no foreign bodies have lodged there (thorns, splinters, ticks, chewing gum, strange plant seeds such as gum balls from the southern sweet gum tree, and so forth), and the tops and bottoms of the feet. Some folks use Tuf-Foot (R) or Pad-Cote (R) on the pads to protect them and keep them conditioned. Use caution, as over-use can irritate the pads of some hounds.

    5.2 What Is The Most Important Single Factor In Producing A Lure Coursing Hound?

    Lure interest! Lure interest is the result of a combination of a genetic desire to chase anything that moves (which is probably retention of a puppy behavior phase) combined with training to focus that desire on an artificial plastic bag lure. A fanatical lure courser would rather chase plastic than rabbits - really I've had it happen.

    In my 20 years experience in breeding lure coursers and competing in the sport I am convinced that lure interest is strongly, although complexly, inherited and that two keen lure coursing parents will produce a much higher percentage of keen lure coursing pups than will breeding in which one or more of the parents has been demonstrated to have no lure interest.

    5.3 How Do I Get A Lure Coursing Hound?

    Go to lure coursing events and help out. Observe for several months. If you have a sighthound take it to practices - which often follow trials.

    One way is to adopt or purchase an healthy, UNINJURED retired racing greyhound that was NOT dismissed for "fighting" or dropped from a racing program for failure to run. However racing greyhounds are so fast that they are more easily injured than the less extremely evolved running breeds. It is very important that the owner of a racing greyhound used in lure coursing learn to keep the hound in top physical shape and avoid over running it. They need time to recover between coursing dates, they are quite prone to injury and overheating if overweight. Successfully lure coursing a racing greyhound requires self control because the hound loves to run so much that it will not quit or refuse to run simply because it has a minor injury -- or even a broken bone!

    A high percentage of Whippets, Pharaoh Hounds and Ibizan Hounds have the inate desire to chase well developed. Salukis seem to have the highest percentage of hounds with no artificial lure desire. In most breeds, success at getting a hound that will lure course is dependent upon a combination of genetic interest and a successful program of puppy lure interest training. Look for a set of parents with the LCM title.

    5.4 Where Do I Obtain Lure Coursing Equipment?

    One source for lure machines, pulleys and trolling line is:

    Once you locate a local lure coursing club you may encounter local craftsmen who are making lure coursing equipment.

    Lure coursing blankets and slip leads are often made by local coursing fans. A source for blankets and slip leads by mail is:

    5.5 There Must Be A Better Way To Make A Lure Coursing Machine - Have You Tried....?

    In the history of lure coursing a number of configurations have been tried. Things that definitely don't work include - AC powered lure machines made from washing machine motors - these lack the power to accelerate the lure fast enough to keep the lure safely in front of the hounds. Corner pulleys made out of bicycle hubs. These are too narrow and present a danger to the hounds. Experimentation is welcome. Remember the system needs to have enough speed and acceleration to keep the lure safely ahead of the hounds. It needs to be portable. It needs to be inexpensive.

    5.6 What Are the Differences Between ASFA and AKC Coursing Titles?

    They are issued by different organizations. AKC titles are recorded by the American Kennel Club and are printed out on official AKC documents such as official pedigrees and on championship certificates and are published in the AKC Awards publication. ASFA titles are issued by the American Sighthound Field Association and are published in FAN (Field Advisor News). They will not appear on official AKC issued pedigrees. This does not mean that the ASFA titles are in anyway inferior. In fact in my opinion and experience the LCM is the most difficult lure coursing title to earn. The AKC JC is the easiest, the SC next, the ASFA FCh next and the AKC FC is next.

    5.7 Should I Participate Only In ASFA Or Only In AKC Coursing?

    Don't limit yourself and your hound's chances to run. There are few enough lure coursing field trials as it is. The AKC titles go on your hound's permanent AKC records but once you have the FC there is not much incentive to continue. Obtaining an ASFA LCM is the supreme test of both coursing interest and long term vigor in a lure coursing hound.

    6. Personalities in coursing

    Short biographies of personalities in coursing - alphabetically by last name:

    About Denise Como

    Denise Como has raised, owned, bred and competed with Borzoi since 1978 (other breeds since 1966), and shares space with several adopted, retired track Greyhounds (and one Whippet). Currently (1995) President of Garden State Sighthound Association (founded in 1976), she is involved with several committees within the American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Lure Coursing program . She is a member of the Borzoi Club of America (BCOA), Charter/ Past President (and current member) of the Borzoi Club of Central New Jersey (BCCNJ). She is a delegate to the New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs (NJFDC). She oversees GSSA's efforts to promote the various Sighthound activities, most recently amateur oval track racing (under the auspices of NOTRA - National Oval Track Racing Association).

    About Bonnie Dalzell

    Bonnie Dalzell is an all breed ASFA and AKC Lure Coursing Judge, a long time (since 1977) activist in Lure Coursing and the breeder/owner of more Lure Coursing titled sighthounds than any one else in the world (over 80 titled hounds to date). She has had hounds in the ASFA Top Ten since 1977.

    Bonnie Dalzell's kennel name is Silkenswift and she bred, trained and campaigned the Borzoi bitch, Silkenswift Pye's Dark Design LCM6 CanFCh (Darkness). Darkness was the #1 ASFA sighthound in 1981 and 1982. Bonnie Dalzell is also the breeder of Treybeau's Fantasy LCM6 a greyhound belonging to Dean Wright. Fantasy is the all time top lure coursing greyhound.

    Currently Bonnie Dalzell's brindle male Borzoi Aatis:

    is the #1 ASFA lure coursing Borzoi for 1994.

    In real life Bonnie Dalzell:

    7. Information about ASFA (American Sighthound Field Association) Lure Coursing

    7.1 What are ASFA Coursing Trials?

    These are lure coursing trials sponsored by the American Sighthound Field Association and held in accordance with ASFA rules and regulations.

    The hounds are run in competition under ASFA running rules and regulations.

    7.2 What hounds can participate in ASFA trials?

    The oldest lure coursing organization's (ASFA's) trials are open to purebred:

    The hounds must be at least one year old or older on the day of the trial, and be individually registered with:

    In the near future ASFA is going to require one-time proof of registry/ownership according to new directives.

    An exciting change being pioneered by ASFA is the future formation of a "Miscellaneou"' class or stake, for other Sighthound breeds recognized by the FCI [Federation Cynologique Internationale), a world-wide registry organization. This would allow breeds such as the Azawak, Chart Polski, Sloughi and others to compete. While titles would not be gained directly from ASFA, American parent clubs of these breeds may wish to recognize the accomplishments of these hounds within their registry body.

    7.3 What are the ASFA stakes?

    Note: Not all trials will offer all of these stakes. Optional stakes are designated with an *.

    If there are 20 or more hounds in a given stake in a given breed, that stake will be split and multiple placements will be awarded in that stake. Stakes are split so as to produce as many sets of 10 as possible. For example an entry of 30 open whippets would be split into 3 sets of Open whippets with 10 hounds per stake rather than two Open whippet stakes of 15 hounds.

    Best of Breed must always be determined by a single run consisting of a brace or trio, however, so if there were 4 stakes of Open whippets BOB would be determined by running the best of those 4 winners against the top winner from the Field Champion stake.

    7.4 What are the ASFA titles?

    Field Champion (FCh)
    Competes against other hounds of the same breed in the "Open stake". To earn the title the hound must accumulate 100 breed points and earn 2 first placements or 1 first and 2 second placements over competition that receives qualifying scores or that is dismissed. A first over a non-qualifying scoring hound doesn't count but if he attacks your hound and is dismissed then the hound counts. The maximum score is 100 points per judge. To achieve a qualifying score the hound must receive at least half this total. These judges-score points are different from the breed points mentioned above. Best In Field (BIF) determined by running against the winner of another breed will count as a first if the hound winning BIF was the only entry in its breed. (For example, if a single Saluki is entered, but wins BIF by defeating the best of 17 Whippets, it is credited with a "first over competition".)
    Lure Courser of Merit (LCM)
    Competes against other hounds of the same breed in the "Field Champion stake". To earn the title the hound must accumulate 300 breed points and earn 4 first placements. Each first placement must be over at least one competitor earning a qualify score.The hound may earn multiple LCM's. Each requires 4 firsts out of the Field Champion stake and an additional 300 points. At this time the LCM is the most difficult lure coursing title to earn.

    7.5 How are the ASFA hounds scored?

    There are 5 categories:

    The judge(s) score the hound in each category producing a score between 0 and 100. Qualifying scores are 50% or above. Most judges score qualifying runs somewhere between 60 and 80 points. On a given day the exact numeric score is less important than the hound's score relative to the other hounds. Notice that in ASFA coursing Speed and Agility are considered the most important categories. This reflects the importance of open field (i.e. live game) coursing experience in the minds of the founders of ASFA - if the hound is after a hare exactness of follow is worthless if the quarry outruns the hound. Live quarry does not slow down so that the slow hounds can stay sighted. Only lures adjust themselves to the speed of the slower coursers.

    7.6 What are the ASFA awards?

    In each stake within a breed (Open, Field Champion and Veteran) 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and NBQ (Next Best Qualifying) placements are awarded. The scores from the judge(s) are added up for both the preliminary and final runs. The hounds are awarded placements within their stake based on the summed scores. Points towards the titles (ASFA championship points) are awarded as follows:

    The winners of these stakes will then compete in a runoff for Best of Breed (BOB). The BOB winner will receive points equivalent to the greatest number earned by any hound in the breed. For example if there were 5 hounds in the Open stake and 3 hounds in the Field Champion stake and the Field Champion won the BOB run off it would receive 4X5 = 20 points rather than 4X3 = 12 points towards its Lure Courser of Merit title. The winner of the Open stake would still receive 20 points towards its ASFA Field Champion title.

    The additional points that may be awarded in BOB are only awarded if the BOB is earned by a run off. A hound earning BOB over the winner of a larger stake by forfeit would not earn additional championship points.

    7.7 What is the ASFA Top Ten and How is It Determined?

    The Top Ten is a list published by ASFA in FAN that ranks the top coursers for each year. It is based upon a system called The Bowen System, first developed by Michael John Bowen. This system assigns the hound points each time it receives a placement (1st through NBQ) at an ASFA trial. The hound earning a placement receives a point for itself and a point for each hound it defeats within its breed. For example if the hound was the only hound of its breed and it received a qualifying score it would also receive one Bowen point. If it was a first place hound in a stake of 12 it would receive 12 Bowen points. Unlike like ASFA championship points (which are used to earn the titles) Bowen points do not maximize out at 10 hounds in a stake. If the hound was second in a stake of 13 it would get 12 Bowen points. A simple formula is:

    If the hound is awarded the Best of Breed over the winner of the other stake in its breed - whether it defeated that other hound in a run off or won the Best of Breed by forfeit - then it also earns Bowen points based on the number of hounds in the other stake. For example a hound wins first in a stake of 8 Open hounds, then it is awarded Best of Breed with an entry of 5 in the Field Champion stake. It will earn 8 + 5 = 13 Bowen points. Many beginners find this state in which there are two different point system: the Bowen system and the ASFA title awards system quite confusing and often err in their calculations of their hound's ASFA championship points.


    8. Information About AKC (American Kennel Club) Lure Coursing

    8.1 What Are AKC Lure Coursing Trials?

    These are lure coursing trials sponsored by the American Kennel Club and held in accordance with AKC Lure Coursing rules and regulations.

    In September of 1991 the AKC began its own program of Lure Coursing as a sport under the guidance of Dean Wright, a long time promoter of ASFA lure coursing events.

    8.2 What hounds can participate?

    As of 1994 The AKC breeds that can participate in AKC Lure Coursing included 11 recognized sighthound breeds: Afghans, Basenjis, Borzoi, Ibizan Hounds, Irish Wolfhounds, Greyhounds, Pharaoh Hounds, Salukis, Scottish Deerhounds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Whippets.

    The AKC's policy is that a sighthound breed is a sighthound breed if the breed's parent club considers the breed to be a sighthound. This has, as you can imagine, led to some really intense rhetoric on the definition of a sighthound. We will wisely avoid this controversial matter of definition in this FAQ.

    8.3 What are the AKC stakes?

    Regular stakes are Open and Specials. Open is open to all hounds who have earned an AKC Junior Courser or other qualifying performance titles.

    8.4 What are the AKC titles?

    Junior Courser (JC)
    The hound must run in 2 events under 2 different judges or judging panels. The hound will run alone on a course of at least 600 yards that has at least 4 turns. The hound must run the full course with enthusiasm, not stopping to visit with spectators or take a potty break during its run. The judges award a "pass" or "fail" not a numeric score.
    Senior Courser (SC)
    After January 1, 1994 the SC title is awarded based upon the hound's performance in 4 AKC field trials. Prior to that date the title was awarded based upon performance in 2 AKC field trials. To earn an SC the hound must receive a qualifying score in 4 AKC field trials under different judging panels.
    Field Champion (FC)
    This title proceeds the hound's name. This title is awarded once the hound has accumulated 15 AKC Lure Coursing Points. There must be at least 2 firsts valued at 3 points or more issued by two different judges or judging panels.
    As of Jan 1, 1994 the AKC point scale is as follows:
                              Points for first place
                           5         4         3        2       1
                       number of hounds in competition
     Whippets              15        11        8        5       2
     Borzoi, Rhodesians    10         8        5        3       2
     Balance of sighthound
     breeds                 6         5         4       3       2
    This will certainly be revised in the future, but not in 1995.

    8.5 How are the hounds scored?

    The hounds are scored on a scale of 0 to 50. There are 5 categories each of equal value: The judge(s) score the hound in each category producing a score between 0 and 50. Qualifying is 25 or above. Most judges score qualifying runs somewhere between 30 and 40 points. On a given day the exact numeric score is less important than the hound's score relative to the other hounds.

    8.6 What are the AKC awards?

    Dual Champion (DC) is awarded to a sighthound that has earned both an AKC Field Champion title and an AKC conformation Championship title. This title also proceeds the hound's name and replaces either Ch or FC.

    8.7 What do you mean by different AKC judging panels?

    If Fred judges on Saturday and Joan judges on Sunday that is obviously two different judges. However if Joan judges alone on Saturday and Joan and Fred judge together on Sunday that is two different judging panels.

    9. Information About CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) Lure Coursing
    9.1 What Are CKC Coursing Trials?

    9.2 What hounds can participate?

    AKC registered hounds may be entered without having CKC registration provided that an additional "listing" fee is paid. The titles will not be awarded until the CKC registration is obtained on the hounds.

    9.3 What are the CKC stakes?

    There is no separate Field Champion stake at CKC Lure Coursing Trials. All hounds are entered in the Open stake.

    9.4 What are the CKC titles?

    To earn a Canadian FCh the hound earns 100 points with two firsts over competition. The competition includes existing Canadian Field Champions. To earn a FChx the hound earns a TOTAL of 300 points and 6 firsts. It is not eligible to earn the FChX until after the FCh requirements are met but first placements earned prior to the FCh carry over towards the FChX. If a hound finishes its FCh with 6 firsts then it only needs to earn an additional 200 points to earn the FChX. The Canadian FCh is more difficult to earn than the ASFA FCh but the FChX is a slightly easier to earn than the ASFA LCM.

    9.5 How are the CKC hounds scored?

    The scoring system, categories and points earned towards titles are similar to the 100 point ASFA model. Canadian Field Trial secretaries usually require some proof that the hound will run "clean" in competition prior to accepting an entry.

    9.6 What are the CKC awards?

    First place through 4th earn championship points as with ASFA. No points are awarded for 5th (NBQ).

    10. Glossary and abbreviations

    Best in Field (both): not the villian in "Back to the Future".

    The award given to the hound winning the stake that is composed of the winners of all of the breed stakes. It may also be won by forfeit. In ASFA it carries no additional points but if it is awarded as the result of a run off, it does give a hound that was a singleton in its breed a first over competition. In AKC lure coursing the BIF award (by competition or by forfeit) gives the BIF hound points equivalent to the maximum earned by any BOB winner on that day.

    Best of Breed, not Robert.

    In ASFA the award given to the hound winning the run off between the winners of the open, field champion, and (if present) veteran stakes. The BOB may also be awarded by forfeit if all but one eligible hound declines to run. In the case of a trial where only one stake has an entry the BOB is automatically awarded to the winner of that stake.

    In AKC trials BOB goes to the hound winning the run off between the winners of the Open and Specials (Field Champions of Record) stakes.

    Bowen points
    Total hounds defeated points (one foreach hound defeated plus one for your own hound) used to calculate the ASFA Top Ten. Named for Michael John Bowen, an Irish Wolfhound fancier.

    Field Trial Secretary - the official at both ASFA and AKC trial who is responsible for seeing that the paper work is done correctly. Technically on the day of the trial the actual work may be done by the Field Clerk and the FTS does not have be at the trial site. Most experienced coursing clubs find that it is best for the FTS to be present at the trial.

    11. Lure Coursing information and publications

    11.1 What are the lure coursing magazines and where do I get them?

    11.1.1 Field Advisory News (FAN)

    Field Advisory News (FAN) the oldest and first Lure Coursing Magazine. Lists addresses of ASFA Lure Coursing Field Trail Secretaries, Trial Dates and many useful articles. Contains official ASFA news including rule changes and the annual ASFA convention.

    Subscriptions, letters and articles:

    11.1.2 AKC Coursing News

    AKC Coursing News - The official AKC Lure Coursing publication. Contains information on rule changes, events and useful articles. Articles tend to emphasize information for beginning coursers.


    11.2 Where Do I Write To Get ASFA Lure Coursing Information?

    ASFA as of Jan 1995:

    ASFA Regional Directors

    Contact the nearest for current ASFA info

    This list is taken from the Jan/Feb, 1995 issue of FAN (Field Advisory News)

    Region 1 AK, WA, OR, ID, MT
    Greg Ward, 9 W Salmon Avenue, Spokane, WA 99218

    Region 2 HI, CA NV, AZ
    Al Crume, 27452 S. Corral Hollow Road, Tracy, CA 95378

    Region 3 CO WY, UT, NM
    Daphane Lowe, 13775 Vollmer Road, Colorado Springs, CO

    Region 4 TX, OK, AR, LA
    Judith Newton, 4318 Oakside, Houston TX, 77053

    Region 5 ND, SD, IA, NB, MN, KS, MO
    Frank Zaworski, 745 E Country Trail, Jordan, MN 55352

    Region 6 WI, IL, MI, IN, OH, KY
    Jack Helder, 2975 Zimmer Rd, Williamston, MI 48895

    Region 7 TN, NC, SC, MS, AL, GA, FL
    Sherrie Ecksmith, 7009 Ravenglass Lane, Charlotte, NC 28227

    Region 8 ME, NH, VT, MA, RD, CT, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, VA, WV
    Jane Schreiber, 916 Rocky Ford Road, Powatan, VA 23139

    Note the ASFA annual convention is in April each year and since some officers change at each convention these addresses can become stale in a year's time.

    Where Do I Write To Get Canadian Lure Coursing Information?

    Barb Barclay
    2116 Windsor St
    Abbotsford, British Columbia
    V2T 6L9
    Phone or Fax 604 855 7427

    Where Do I Write To Get AKC Lure Coursing Information?

    General Information on AKC Lure Coursing-informational pamphlets etc.
    Dean Wright
    1235 Pine Grove Road
    Hanover, PA 17331
    phone (days) (717) 637-3011
    (this is Dean's business - so they will answer "Hanover Lube and Brake". You must ask for Dean Wright)
    AKC Coursing (in the New York Office) (212) 696-8276

    Where do I get information on Lure Coursing in Maryland?

    District Area SightHound Association (DASH))
    DASH participates in ASFA & AKC Lure Coursing and NOTRA oval track racing
    DASH President Robert Jordan
    1818 Price Lane
    Bowie, MD 20716
    DC Area:
    DASH Coursing Coordinator W. E. Shainline "WES"
    Baltimore Area:
    DASH VP Bonnie Dalzell
    5100 Hydes Rd
    Hydes, MD 21082

    Where do I get information on Lure Coursing in New Jersey?

    Garden State Sighthound Association (GSSA)
    GSSA participates in ASFA & AKC Lure Coursing and NOTRA oval track racing
    635 Monmouth Rd
    Cream Ridge, NJ 08514
    ATT PHONEMAIL - 908-928-9271, PRESS #4 FOR GSSA
    FAX - 908-928-0903

    Are Additional Contributions Solicited?

    Yes, please.

    I have some very well written and researched material on hand from Denise Como on "what to take to the event", planning for the weather, and diet and the coursing hound. I should have this edited into the FAQ soon. This version being a minor update to correct some spelling (never my strong point) errors.

    I would like to have a "personalities in lure coursing section" initially limited to people who have been in lure coursing at least 15 years or who hold a national office in ASFA or the AKC. If you are one of those or know one of those people and would like to write up some bibliographical notes I will be happy to edit them and then return them to you for approval prior to including them in the FAQ. If you are writing notes about another person be sure to give me a contact address for that person (internet or snail mail) so that I can make sure they know what is being posted about them and they can check facts for accuracy.

    The "personalities section" is not intended for "flames" so, no matter what you think, positive and historical material only, please. I am currently assembling a biographical note on Lyle Gillette.

    12. Annotated Bibliography of Published Sighthound Performance Materials Other Than Rule Books

    13. Index

    [Under construction]

    14. Appendices

    14.1 Are There Other Performance Sports Specific To Sighthounds?

    Yes! - the ones I know about are:

    14.1.1 Is There a General Source for Information on Amateur Racing?

    Amateur racing is sponsored by a number of different organizations which differ as to which breeds of sighthounds are admitted to the events. The races are of two sorts, straight races which are generally whippet only (NPR and NAWRA) and oval and u-val races which are open to many sighthound breeds and are sponsored by (NOTRA) and a past Secretary-Treasurer of NAWRA. He is also the editor of the Whippet Wrunner, the newsletter which publishes the results of both straight and oval racing.
    Jack Lewis
    13765 South 1300 West
    Riverton, UT 84065


    The National Oval Track Racing Association (NOTRA) was started to"encourage competition within each breed of sighthound under a highly uniform standard." Under NOTRA rules, there is standardization of track shape and sizes, placement of pulleys, track railings, judging, scoring, and starting. It is a very fair system of competition for registered sighthound breeds of Afghan Hounds, Borzoi, Greyhounds, Ibizan Hounds, Irish Wolfhounds, Pharaoh Hounds, Salukis, Scottish Deerhounds, and Whippets. Whippets are considered the "Major" breed, while the other breeds are called minor breeds.

    Oval or U-val shaped tracks are used for competitions. The minor breeds must run at least 300 yards. The tracks can either have permanent fences which meet NOTRA approval, or temporary tracks built of stakes and surveyors tape. The track surfaces can be dirt or grass, and are usually very level and close mowed, such as parks. Continuous loop or drag type equipment is used. The pulleys are set at the recommended distance away from the inner rail to reduce the likelihood of a dog running over the pulleys. The lure is kept far enough out ahead of the lead dog to make it always appear to be heading for the rail, encouraging the dogs to run close to the rail, again keeping the dog away from the pulleys and the string. There are several factors which make this a safe style of racing. First, the field is smoother than most lure coursing fields and the path that the dogs run has no surprising sharp turns. Second, all dogs are running in the same direction, therefore collisions are less likely. Lastly, the path that the dogs should run has no pulleys or strings. All these things tend to reduce the number of serious injuries.

    A starting box is required for Whippet oval racing, and encouraged for the other breeds. Synchronized slip mechanisms are allowed for the other breeds, as is hand slipping with starting judges who penalize any pre-slipped hound into last place for that race. The dogs are graded according to past performances, so that they run with other dogs of the same caliber. The box they start in is based purely on the luck of the draw, the inside box being advantageous. Either 3 or 4 heats, or "programs," are run depending on the length of the track. The judging is objective, for they only judge the order of finish. The dogs earn points according to their finish. As they win heats, and more points, they move up the ladder at that meet, the winner is the hound with the highest total at the end of the day. Points toward your dog's Oval Racing Championship title (ORC) are given to the the top one or two non-titled dogs. The number of points earned depend on how many starters there were that day. ORC champions do not earn any more ORC points, but can earn National ORC points (NORC).

    Agility and intelligence, as well as speed, are important in oval racing. The fastest dog does not always win. Agility is important in getting out of the starting box quickly, as well as being able to hug the rail at top speed. Dogs must learn to get to the rail quickly to have the shortest possible distance to run. Experience in several race meets is needed for the dogs to learn to run the oval efficiently. NOTRA rules require that the dogs run muzzled and be box trained prior to racing. To participate in NOTRA competitions, a dog should first be trained to chase a plastic lure and run muzzled. Box breaking is the next step, and this can take one to several practice sessions to accomplish depending on the dog. Most of the Borzoi at the first East Coast Minor Breed race meet held by Hampton Roads Whippet Club in 1990 were titled lure coursers and were box broken in one practice session.


    The American Whippet Club (AWC) sponsors the National Point Racing (NPR) NPR. The straight racing clubs, AWC & NAWRA have similar rules and will accept race scores from the other group for the initial seating of racers. The biggest difference between these groups is that the AWC controls the NPR program.

    NPR straight racing is open only to whippets. All dogs start from a starting box and must run muzzled. Dogs 8 to 14 months old can race as a puppy. Puppies race 150 yards. The adults, 10 months old and up, run four heats of 200 yards. The only thing these dogs are judged on, is who crosses the finish line first. This is a speed event. Although a quick start is a benefit, top end speed is much more important. The dogs can be barred from racing if they intentionally foul another dog. Incidental contact is not a foul. Generally speaking if a dog turns it's head and then moves into another dog it is a foul.

    The NPR clubs are located in Texas, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, and Washington.


    NARWA straight racing is open only to whippets. All dogs start from a starting box and must run muzzled. Dogs 8 to 14 months old can race as a puppy. Puppies race 150 yards. The adults, 10 months old and up, run four heats of 200 yards. The only thing these dogs are judged on, is who crosses the finish line first. This is a speed event. Although a quick start is a benefit, top end speed is much more important. The dogs can be barred from racing if they intentionally foul another dog. Incidental contact is not a foul. Generally speaking if a dog turns it's head and then moves into another dog it is a foul.

    NAWRA is run by it's member clubs. The NAWRA clubs are located mostly in the west, California, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, Canada.


    The National Greyhound Association serves as the registration body for racing greyhouds. Unlike the AKC, which has member clubs but not member individuals, individual breeders and fanciers are members of the NGA. In this way it is similar to the Canadian Kennel Club. The NGA predates mechanical-lure track racing and began life as the National Coursing Association, a body modeled on the English coursing association.

    Although the NGA registers the racing greyhounds the actual racing is controlled by legislation in the individual states that allow pari-mutual betting on greyhound races. Even in states without legalized professional greyhound racing all that is forbidden by law is betting on races. Amateur racing itself is legal as long as animals are not abused under state anti-cruelty laws.

    The NGA is a body separate from the track owner's professional group the NGTOA (National Greyhound Track Owner's Association).

    In professional greyhound races the hounds are raced 8 at a time from starting boxes wearing colored blankets for identification. The distances vary but the commonest is 3/16 mile. The dogs are raced muzzled because the intense excitement of having 8 fanatical racers on the course at the same time can lead to casual biting and the thin skin of greyhounds easily tears. The muzzles are NOT and indication of viciousness on the part of the hounds nor of mistreatment by the owners or handlers.

    Greyhounds are naturally lean and a conditioned dog shows ribs and hip bones. Dogs that are so fat that these structures become invisible may be subject to heat exhaustion should NOT be allowed to race.

    The scars one sees on many retired greyhounds are generally due to the thin skin and the ease with which it tears in even the slightest altercation with another hound. They are not an indication of human mistreatment.

    The NGA supports a fascinating museum with a gift shop that has many greyhound items, write for their gift catalogue:

    The NGA has a magazine, The Greyhound Review.

    The NGA has a greyhound computer BBS:

    14.2 What Was The First Version of the Lure Coursing FAQ?

    A "lure" coursing course consists of a line strung through a series of wooden pulley set within a large field (many acres) with a "lure" (usually a white kitchen garbage bag!) attached at some point on the line. This line is also strung through a wheel that is attached to a power source usually a car starter motor as the lure needs to have enough power to be kept safely ahead of the fastest of the hounds. The hounds run within their own breed up to 3 per "heat" with each hound running and being scored on 2 heats. Each hound wears a blanket (similar to at the Greyhound track) of either yellow, pink or blue with the scoring being assigned to the blanket color and the performance it gave. The dogs are scored on the categories of speed, agility, endurance, follow and enthusiasm with a "perfect" score being 100.

    Up until 1992 only the American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) held lure coursing field trials and awarded dogs titles. Dogs earn their F.Ch (Field Championship) running against other dogs of the same breed and receiving a certain number of 1st and 2nd placements AND a total of 100 points. The point scale is based on the number of dogs competing and on the placement the dog receives. Once they earn their ASFA F.Ch. they can then continue on to earn their LCM (Lure Courser of Merit) that requires four 1st placements over other Field Champions and a total of 300 points. There are then LCM II, III etc. titles.

    If there are enough dogs in a given breed, the stakes are split and multiple placements (two first places, etc) are awarded.

    In 1992 the AKC accepted Lure Coursing as a sport and their titles are JC (Junior Courser) that requires a dog run alone on a 600 or so yard course two different times under 2 different judges. With this they can then run in AKC trials with competition and can earn their SC (Senior Courser) in 2 trials by completing the courses. Dogs that have an ASFA FCH do not need the JC title to run for SC. The AKC F.CH (that is a prefix to the dog's name versus a suffix for ASFA titles) is earned like a conformation championship where the dog is required to win 2 majors (wins worth at least 3 points) and a total a 15 points. Dog that achieve both conformation and field titles are noted as a Dual Champion (DC).

    Both ASFA and AKC have approved 11 breeds: Afghan, Basenji, Borzoi, Greyhound, Ibizan Hound, Irish Wolfhound, Pharaoh Hound, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Saluki, Scottish Deerhound and Whippet.

    14.3 Notes

    Spelling, never my strong point

    BDz - a person with a "northern" accent- was taught "foe-net-ik spell'n" in the 5th grade in rural Florida. As a result she is permanently "spelling challenged", as they say. So when you spot spelling errors, please contact the FAQ's author, BDz, who will be very grateful. Matters may improve if I can find a html editor with spell checking built in but as things stand if I import the document into my word processor with the spelling checker I have trouble getting it back out as an ASCII file with all of the spacing got the html document intact.

    Lure Coursing FAQ (html version 2.24.95)
    Bonnie Dalzell,