What is Lure Coursing?

Sighthounds are dogs that traditionally hunt by sight rather than tracking game by scent and are specialized for rapid running. Sighthounds have an overwhelming instinct to ‘chase. ’Lure coursing is a performance event developed in the early 70’s by Lyle Gillette and other California Sighthound fanciers as a safer, more controlled sport for Sighthounds that simulates the pursuit of prey in the open field. Lure coursing presents an opportunity for sighthounds to chase a lure for pleasure. In lure coursing, hounds chase plastic bags on a course laid out to simulate escaping game.
This sport is usually limited to dogs in the Sighthound breeds such as Afghan Hounds, Greyhounds, Ibizan Hounds, Salukis, Whippets, etc. The Sighthound breeds have a long history of being bred primarily to detect movement, chase and capture prey. Sighthounds generally have no need to be trained or enticed to chase the lure since the desire to chase is instinctual. However some breeds may require lure play at a very early age to encourage them to follow an artificial object with enthusiasm. (Recently the American Kennel Club has introduced the Coursing Ability Test available to all breeds, mixed breeds and pure bred dogs with breed disqualifications.   CATS
Lure courses are usually between 500 and 1000 yards in length and are created by placing small pulleys around a field in a pattern designed to resemble the rout prey might take when pursued by hounds. A loop of braided string is pulled around the pulleys by a wheel attached to a motor. The lure itself is usually a series of white plastic bags. An experienced lure operator can control the lure so as to simulate escaping game.
The hounds run the course twice, usually in groups of three. They are judged on a variety of parameters by experienced judges. Scores from both runs are added for a combined total score. Hounds are awarded placements and earn points based on where they finished and the number of hounds they competed against. The hounds are running not only for fun and to keep their natural abilities alive, but also for titles.
In the US there are two organizations that coordinate the hosting of sighthound lure coursing trials and certify judges. In order of years of experience in the sport they are the American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) www.asfa.org and the American Kennel Club (AKC) www.akc.org
Each organization has slightly different running rules, scoring and criteria for granting titles. Competitive points earned in one organization do not carry over to the other group’s trials. The ASFA confers the titles of Field Champion (FCh.) and Lure Courser of Merit (LCM).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *