Sighthounds are a special group of hounds that are bred to hunt by sight. The sighthound breeds include: Whippets, Basenjis, Greyhounds, Italian Greyhounds, Afghan Hounds, Borzois, Ibizan Hounds, Pharaoh Hounds, Irish Wolfhounds, Scottish Deerhounds, Salukis and Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Lure coursing tests and trials utilize a ‘lure’ (white plastic bag) strung around a course of 600 to 800 yards in an open field. The purpose of a competitive lure coursing trial program is to preserve and develop the coursing skills inherent in the sighthounds and to demonstrate that they can perform the functions for which they were originally bred. Hounds are brought by their owners to the starting line wearing coursing blankets (bright pink, yellow or blue) and slip leads (quick-release collars). The lure is started and, at the huntmaster’s cry of “Tally-Ho!,” the hounds are released and the chase begins. Hounds are normally run in trios as judges assess performance based on each hound’s abilities, identifying hounds by their blanket color. The hounds are scored by 5 different criteria- follow, enthusiasm, agility, speed, and endurance.
For more information on the sport of lure coursing, check out www.asfa.org and www.akc.org/events/lure_coursing/
Local lure coursing club information including nearby trials can be found at http://www.hanoverlurecoursingclubs.org/