A sighthound is a breed developed to hunt prey, primarily by sight, and then catch them with a swift pursuit. They are typically long legged with a long sleek physique, carrying little to no body fat. Eyes usually face forward but they have an excellent field of view and a driving instinct to chase moving objects. Breeds include: Greyhounds, Whippets, Saluki, Afghan Hounds, Basenji, Pharaoh Hounds, Deerhounds, Irish Wolfhounds, Borzoi and Ibizian Hounds. There are many other lesser known breeds such as the Sloughi and Azawahk, it seems most countries have at least one native version.
By "registered sighthound", we mean one which is registered with the UK Kennel Club. A foreign born dog registered with the official body in it's own country will also count.
You can read a good description of a meeting here What Happens At A BSFA Lure Coursing Event.
Pretty much. Mostly it is surrounded by hedgerows and stock fencing. There are two exit points at the top which we block off with fencing and one at the bottom of the field which is also blocked off. There is also a fence between the parking area and the coursing field. In ten years we have only had two dogs leave the coursing field (both Afghans). They came into the car parking area and were quickly caught. Generally the lure keeps the dogs happy.
Sighthounds don't usually need much guidance but letting them watch the coursing helps (hang onto the lead!) and sometimes they need a few tries to build up the confidence to run out into the field on their own. If they are youngsters they may benefit from joining the lunch time puppy school.
They will probably not suddenly start chasing. Sighthounds have the instinct to chase anything that moves though so that impulse may already be there. You may find that no carrier bag is safe once they have been lure coursing.
Trials are not scored by the judges although they will generally watch them. To trial a dog you can just turn up on the day. To enter your dog for competition you must first join the BSFA as a member and send your entry and payment in at least 7 days before the meeting.
To some extent, but no more so than letting your dogs run off lead and, depending on where you let them off lead, lure coursing can be safer. However, the dogs will run flat out after the lure and so injuries do occur from time to time. We do as much as we can to minimise them. Making sure your dog is fit to lure course and free of injury beforehand can go a long way to helping avoid injuries. We have two articles for you to read:
A quick guide to fitness to lure course
Muscle Injury Prevention, by Jen Walker (PDF, opens in new window.).>
Yes, if they are from a Kennel Club Breed Rescue. You will find quite a few rescue dogs running with us. We will also allow a sighthound of unknown origin to run with us if two people, considered knowledgeable in the relevant breed, examine the dog and agree that it is a purebred sighthound.
Tell a Committee member that you are interested in training to be a judge. You will need to complete some training sessions with established judges but we have a great training manual which is still developing and also hold judging seminars from time to time.
They vary according to ground conditions and a few other factors but on average around 500 yards. A dog between 12 and 18 months old will only run half of the adult course.
Yes, spectators are welcome.
Everyone will help. We have developed a few tactics over the years and are quite used to this. If you have reason to think this will be a problem, let the Field Team know in advance and we can have extra people on the field. Walking over to the finish point as soon as you have slipped your dog gives you the chance to catch them while they are still interested in the lure.
Is your dog an Afghan Hound by any chance? :-) We don't mind as long as they are enjoying themselves.
Muzzles are not compulsory but some wear them for a variety of reasons. There is an article on this here: To Muzzle, Or not to Muzzle?
No, we have some you can borrow at first. You may want to buy your own eventually though. We have links to online retailers which sell jackets here: Shopping Links
Stopper pads stop dogs from damaging their dew claws. This is only an issue on some dogs or breeds of dog and usually it is just the front dew claws that are an issue. You can buy stopper pads but most people just use vet wrap. We advise you to keep your dogs dew claws to a sensible length.
They are the free spirits of the dog world.
Silken Windhounds are an emergent breed from the USA. They are bred inline with the requirements for a new breed. At present they are waiting for recognition by the American Kennel Club at which point they will be eligible to be accepted by the British Kennel Club. Silken Windhounds have been accepted in Solvenia since 2004.
Lakota takes being lurewise to a new level!
Sighthounds carry little to no body fat which helps with cooling. A healthy sighthound should have at least 2 ribs showing.
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