Lure Coursing has a long history, traditionally a sport for Sighthounds, it is a competition designed to simulate a hare hunt. Nowadays though, it is a sport for any dog, purebred or otherwise. Sighthound owners and breeders often still use Lure Coursing as a test of function for their specific breed.
Lure Coursing is a great way to keep your dog physically and mentally fit. Many dogs put 110% into lure coursing. As a result, a dog should be fit when starting to lure course, so regular exercise needs become a part of your routine if you think this is something for you and your dog.
All dogs must be at least one year of age to compete and any breed can compete within the two streams available. Firstly, to qualify for titles in lure coursing, all dogs from both streams, must first pass 2 qualifying events to gain their Junior Courser title.
The 2 streams for dogs are one for ANKC registered Sighthounds and another for any other purebred or non-purebred dogs, called Coursing Ability Test. In the CAT dog stream (derived from Coursing Ability Test), the dogs run in a singles competition only. Sighthounds can compete in Open Stakes for Field Champion titles (up to 3 dogs running together of same or similar breed) and also their separate Singles competition.
The lure, which is what the dogs chase, is typically 3 plastic bags tied to a nylon cord, which is pulled around a system of pulleys. A normal course is between 650 to 1000 metres long, ground size and condition can often determine the length of the course where the event is being held.
The lure machine that is used is specifically built for the sport, coming in petrol or battery and 240V operated machines.
The lure machines have the capability to run the cord around a course of up to 1000m, with a speed that will easily keep the lure in front of a greyhound. Special pulleys are used that hold the string out to make up the course pattern, with new designs seen at every event.
Judges will score your dog on the following: Enthusiasm, Follow, Speed, Agility and Endurance. All dogs are required to complete the course twice at the one event, with the points from both runs combined for the final score. As well as the Judge and various other officials at each event, there is also a Lure driver that drives the lure that your dog follows and a Huntsmaster who signals the release of your dog with the words 'TALLY – HO'.
Now with trials being held in Victoria many of the clubs involved will be more than willing to lend some advice and tell you about future training days and trials.
Clubs currently involved are:-