Dog Sports 101: Lure Coursing

shutterstock_54384475Dogs like to chase things, so why not make a sport out of it? Dedicated to the sighthounds, lure coursing is a sport that let’s these breeds do what they do best. Run after prey! Since we don’t all have acres of property with small vermin to hunt with our pets, we can let them vent their instinctual steam through a fun sport.

Lure coursing uses man-operated “prey” to lure dogs around a course that reflects the direction an actual prey animal would run. Since a rabbit isn’t likely to run in a straight line or in a giant circle around a track, the lure coursing prey moves quickly and makes sharp turns and sudden movements. This certainly keeps your dogs on their toes, and you too! Lure coursing is exciting to watch, and the dogs love it! Even if you aren’t competitive, you can have fun watching your dog doing what he was originally bred to do…except without the actual hunting.

The sport is based on a course that is 600-1000 yards and run against one or two dogs of the same breed. If there are no other entrants for your breed, your dog can run alone. To qualify for a title, a dog that runs alone must beat the dog in the Best of Breed run at the end of the trial. Each dog will run twice with his breed during the trial. The first run is the preliminary run, followed by the second final run. These are followed by the Best of Breed run, which is comprised of the top scoring dogs from each breed’s preliminary and final runs. There are three organizations that offer lure coursing titles around the world, and they are our own AKC, the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale), and AFSA (American Sighthound Field Association).shutterstock_33395965

While lure coursing is currently only available to the sight hounds (Greyhounds, Salukis, Borzois, etc.) and a few other breeds, any dog can achieve a Lure Coursing Ability Test certificate offered by AKC. This is either allows dogs to continue moving forward in the sport, or is just a fun little certificate that your dog can get if he happens to enjoy coursing. Whether you have an eligible breed to get titles or not, coursing is still a fun sport to train and teach. In fact, there really isn’t much teaching that needs to be done. All your dog needs to do is love to run and chase! It’s a great way for your pups to burn some energy in a little more exciting way than your every day walk.



About the Author

Katie is a professional dog trainer located in Southern California, with a background of experience as a veterinary assistant as well. She has trained and competed with multiple breeds in AKC Obedience and Rally, agility, herding, Schutzhund/IPO, French Ring and conformation. She has been involved in dogs since she was a child, and specializes in protection dogs, working dogs, and aggression issues. You can visit her website, Katie’s Dog Training, to find out more information about her training and accomplishments. When she’s not helping others and writing, she’s out on the field with her Belgian Malinois and Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

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