Greyhound racing is a dog sport for greyhounds . There are two types of greyhound races, on the one hand the race on a fixed racetrack , in which it is all about the speed of the participating dogs, and coursing, in which the hunting behavior of the dogs is assessed.
On the racetrack, the dogs start out of boxes on a solid track with a grass or sand surface. They run after the artificial rabbit, a dummy dragged by a technical device that stimulates the dogs' chase. Since greyhounds - unlike most other dog breeds - primarily hunt by sight, the movement of the object is crucial, not its smell or appearance. Often times, the bunny simply consists of a bundle of flutter tape . The usual track length for greyhound tracks on the European continent is 480 m; smaller greyhound breeds such as the whippet and the Italian greyhound sometimes run shorter distances.
Coursing (of English . Lure Coursing , "bait baiting" ) take place in an open field on which the circuit is created. For this purpose, pulleys are attached irregularly at different points , over which the pull rope is laid out. At the end of the pulling rope, like on the racetrack, there is a dummy rabbit, usually in the form of pieces of plastic or fur. The aim here is to simulate a real rabbit baiting in which the prey can also hit hooks and the dogs therefore not only follow it directly, but also have to think along with it.
There are always two dogs starting, and each dog runs two laps in coursing. The behavior of the dogs is assessed by several coursing judges. The FCI's international coursing regulations stipulate that the judges evaluate the dogs on the basis of the following criteria: dexterity, speed, stamina, consequences and eagerness. The judges can award a maximum of 20 points per criterion. For national coursings, however, different rating systems can also be used.
The Certificat d'aptitude au Championnat International des Courses de Lévriers ( CACIL ) is awarded at international courses within the FCI .
Breeds, eligibility requirements
In track races and coursings organized by the FCI or one of its member associations, all greyhound breeds of FCI group 10 can take part: These are Afghan , Azawakh , Borzoi , Chart Polski , Deerhound , Galgo Español , Greyhound , Irish Wolfhound , Magyar Agár , Saluki , Sloughi , Whippet and the Italian Greyhound . In addition, the greyhound-like Mediterranean hunting dogs from FCI group 5 are eligible to start, namely Cirneco dell'Etna , Pharaoh Hound , Podenco Canario , Podenco Ibicenco , Podengo Português and Basenji. However, no CACIL can be awarded to these breeds. Under AKC rules, Rhodesian Ridgebacks , Basenjis and Thai Ridgebacks are also eligible to start.
The minimum age for the participating dogs is 18 months, for the small breeds 15 months. The dogs are allowed to take part in races and coursings until the end of the year in which they reach the age of 8. During the runs they wear colored racing rugs to distinguish them and also wear a special racing muzzle. This serves to prevent injuries if the dogs wrestle around the artificial rabbit after the target, as well as to protect the hunting object itself. Before the dogs can officially take part in races or coursings, they must have completed several license runs and have one be a valid racing or coursing license.
Greyhound races and coursings are organized by local greyhound racing clubs that are either, as in Germany (DWZRV) or Austria (ÖKWZR), a special breed association for greyhounds, or (as in Switzerland) directly affiliated to the national association of the FCI. In addition to the official events, the greyhound racing clubs usually also offer regular training courses in which greyhounds without a racing or coursing license can also take part.
Professional greyhound racing
Professional greyhound races are prohibited in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In Germany and Austria, betting on dog races is also prohibited, among other things for reasons of animal welfare . In some betting shops, however, you can bet on races abroad.
At times there were more than 30 racetracks in London that attracted up to 60,000 spectators. One lane after another has closed since the 1990s, the last being the Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium in March 2017.
Greyhound racing was popular in the United States until the 1990s. Greyhound races are currently (as of 2017) held in seven states: Florida, where by far the largest number of racetracks are located, as well as Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Iowa, Texas and West Virginia. Greyhound racing is now banned in 39 of the 50 US states. The betting turnover of commercial racetracks in the US was around $ 3 billion a year in 1990, fell to less than $ 2 billion by 2000 and less than $ 700 million by 2011.
Greyhounds are used almost exclusively in these races . These are not kept as domestic dogs, but live in commercially operated racing stables. Every year around 50,000 dogs no longer fit for racing are sold or killed by their owners due to unsuccessfulness. Private takeovers of decommissioned greyhounds from Ireland and Britain that would otherwise be killed are possible as animal welfare organizations are buying up some of the dogs.
- German Greyhound Breeding and Racing Association (DWZRV)
- Austrian Club for Greyhound Breeding and Racing (ÖKWZR)
- Greyhound racing clubs in Switzerland
- coursing.eu European database of coursender greyhounds
- FCI regulations for international greyhound races and coursings p. 7 and p. 28 (pdf; 892 kB)
- Breeds Eligible for AKC Lure Coursing
- Nicola Förg: The fastest are the poorest. In: Münchner Merkur No. 92, 19./20. April 2008, MerkurJournal, p. 3.
- David Klaubert: The last one turns off the light. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of March 27, 2017, p. 7.
- American Greyhound Council: Greyhound Racing States , accessed April 26, 2017.
- Association of State Racing Commissioners: Pari-mutuel racing. A statistical summary . Lexington 2012.