Lure Coursing is a humane sport which attempts to simulate the
chasing of a rabbit (hare, jack-rabbit) by sighthounds but without
the live prey. In lure coursing, the hounds
chase an artificial lure which consists of 3 plastic bags tied to a
continuous-loop line that is moved through a series of pulleys by a
small motor across a very large field. A typical lure course is
between 600 and 1000 yards long and must have a minimum number of
turns in order to simulate the rabbit zigzagging in the chase.
The purpose of non-competitive lure
coursing tests is to offer sighthound breed owners a standardized
gauge to measure their hounds' coursing instinct. The purpose of the
competitive lure coursing trial programs are 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. All hounds must be a minimum of 1 year of age to be
entered in a test or trial.
Bitches in heat and lame dogs are prohibited from running.
At a trial competition, hounds of the same breed run
in braces (2) or trios (3) wearing one of three colored blankets
(yellow, pink or blue). Hounds may run alone if they are the only
hound of that breed. The hounds are judged and given points
based on several criteria like speed, endurance, enthusiasm,
agility, and follow. "Follow"
means the ability to follow the lure, not the other dogs. Judges can
deduct points for the early release of a hound in a course or for a
course delay. Judges may excuse a hound from competition for failing
to run, being unfit, coursing another hound instead of the lure,
hound or handler interference or excessive course delay. Hounds may
be dismissed for interfering with another hound. Hounds may be
disqualified for being the aggressor in a fight on the field.
All hounds who
run cleanly, run a minimum of twice at trial. The first run
is called the "preliminary" run and the second run is called the
"final" run. The hounds initially run only against hounds of
the same breed. Within each breed the hounds may be divided
into 3 groups (or 3 stakes). The Open stake is composed of
hounds that have not earned their Field Championship title.
The Field Champion stake has only those hounds that have earned
their Field Championship title. The Veteran stake is for those
hounds greater than
(except Irish Wolfhounds (5 years) and Whippets (7 years))
and these can be either non-field champions or field champions.
The running order within each stake is determined by
a random draw, and is not based on size or comparable ability of the
The hounds first compete within their stake (open,
FCh or veteran) running the preliminary course and then the final
course. Placements within each stake are determined by the
hounds total score (preliminary + final run score). The hound with
the highest score from each stake then runs the course against the
winners of the other stakes within its breed. The hound who
earns the highest score in this course is deemed the Best of Breed
(BOB) winner. At some trials a Best in Field (BIF) may be
offered. This is where the BOB winners may choose to run
against the other BOB winners. This is the only course where
hounds of different sighthound breeds may run against each other.
Points toward Field Champion titles (or beyond) maybe earned by
stake winners, BOB winners and sometimes BIF winners.
American Kennel Club (AKC) Lure
the preliminary and final run each hound is judged for overall
ability (10), follow (10), speed (10), agility (10), and endurance
(10) for a maximum score of 50 points for each run/course.
The purpose of the test is to evaluate whether the hound has the
coursing instinct. In
the Junior Courser (JC) test the dog runs by itself and is
required to run at least a 600 yard course with four turns.
The hound must run twice under two different judges in order to
earn this certification. Passing this test does not show
how this hound compares with any other hound of its breed, only
that it has the instinct. All dogs must pass this JC
test in order to be able to run with other hounds under this
the lure coursing trials the hounds can earn a Field
Championship (FC) title by accumulating 15 AKC competition
which must include two majors (3 to 5 point at
and at least one point earned
in competition with at least one hound of the same breed.
The number of points depends on the quantity of competition.
Schedule of Points
First Place Points
Dogs in Competition
Borzois or Rhodesian Ridgebacks
When 1st place hound earns
The 2nd place hound earns
The 3rd place hound earns
Once a dog has earned an FC title, they may continue to
compete in order to earn a Lure Courser Excellent title (LCX).
The hound must accumulate an additional 45 Championship points
at which time they receive the LCX title. If they wish to
continue to compete, they can continue to accumulate
Championship points in increments of 45 and earn additional LCX
levels, i.e. LCX II, LCX III, LCX IV, etc.
In addition to earning Championship points, dogs may earn
additional certifications based on the number of times the dog
competes with other hounds. These certifications are
NOT based on ability, but rather on the hounds ability to
compete cleanly at trials. The Senior Courser (SC)
Certification is earned with the hound competing at 4 trials.
The Master Courser (MC) Certification is earned after the SC is
earned and the hound has competed in an additional 25 trials.
To earn these legs for the various certifications, the hound
must run with at least one other hound at the trial and the
hound must earn a score in both the preliminary and final runs
of a trial.
A Dual Champion (DC) title is awarded to a sighthound that has
earned both an AKC Field Champion title and an AKC Conformation
Championship title. This title also precedes the hound's name
and replaces either Ch or FC.
American Sighthound Field
Association (ASFA) Lure Coursing
During the preliminary and final run each hound receives a
numerical score based on speed (25), agility (25), endurance
(20), enthusiasm (15), and follow (15) for a maximum score of
100 points for each course.
order to run at an ASFA trial, a hound must be "Certified" in
order to compete in the open stake. To certify, a hound must run
with another hound of the same breed or similar running style
and be judged by an ASFA judge. The hound being certified
must pursue the lure and run clean (not interfere with
the other hound).
Championship points are earned in all regular stakes - Open, Field
Champion and Veteran and are awarded by ASFA based on the
placement within each stake.
First place hounds in each stake earns four times the number of hounds competing
in that stake (max = 40 points/trial).
Second place hounds earn three times the number of hounds
competing in the stake (max=30 points/trial).
Third place hounds earn two times the number of
hounds competing in the stake (max = 20 points).
Fourth place hounds
earn points equal to the number of hounds competing in the stake
(max = 10 points).
No hound shall receive a placement or be awarded points if it does
not score at least 50 percent of the total possible combined
scores. Hounds which do not receive placements under this
provision will nevertheless be considered as in competition for
the purpose of awarding points to hounds which do place.
non-Field Champion hound receives 100 points plus either two
first placements or one first and two second placements, they
earn a Field Champion title (FCh). A hound earns a Lure Courser
of Merit title (LCM) each time it earns 300 points and four
AKC registered hounds may be entered without having CKC
registration provided that an additional "listing" fee is paid.
The titles will not be awarded until the CKC registration is
obtained on the hounds.
There is no separate Field Champion stake at CKC Lure Coursing
Trials. All hounds are entered in the Open stake.
The scoring system, categories and points earned towards titles
are similar to the 100 point ASFA model. Canadian
Field Trial secretaries usually
require some proof that the hound will run "clean" in
competition prior to accepting an entry.
To earn a Canadian FCh the hound earns 100 points with two
firsts over competition. The competition includes existing
Canadian Field Champions. To earn a FChx the hound earns a TOTAL
of 300 points and 6 firsts. It is not eligible to earn the FChX
until after the FCh requirements are met but first placements
earned prior to the FCh carry over towards the FChX. If a hound
finishes its FCh with 6 firsts then it only needs to earn an
additional 200 points to earn the FChX. The Canadian FCh is more
difficult to earn than the ASFA FCh but the FChX is a slightly
easier to earn than the ASFA LCM.
Training for coursing
RECALL, RECALL, RECALL. This is the
most important thing your hound must have BEFORE you attend your
first event, NO EXCEPTIONS!!!! This is an issue of
your hounds safety. Most coursing fields are not fenced
and therefore a hound who does not return to its owner runs the
risk of becoming injured if it were to wander from the general
vicinity of the field.
Socialization: As with
any activity you plan to do with your hound, proper
socialization as a puppy is necessary. The hound must be
comfortable with being with other hounds without showing any
Conditioning: Just like humans, couch
potato hounds are more likely to hurt themselves by going out
and vigorously exercising than one that gets regular exercise.
If possible, let your hound have regular free running (in a safe
fenced area, of course) as well as on-leash workouts to build up
endurance and stamina. It's also a good idea to get him used to
running on a variety of surfaces to prepare his pads for
different conditions in lure coursing fields. If your hound has
any health conditions, consult with your veterinarian before
running him in a lure course.
You can test and develop your hound's chase instinct at home,
even with a puppy. Take a white rag, plastic bag, or piece of
rabbit fur, and tease them with it. As they start to show some
interest in it, you may put it on a string or a lunge whip and
drag it in front of them, encouraging them to follow it. Let
them catch the lure as their reward for chasing, and always quit
before your hound loses interest. It is also important to work
with one dog at a time so that they can focus on the lure. If
they doesn't show interest, you might add a 'squawker'
(noisemaker used in racing) or some stinky treats to your lure
to make it more enticing.
More to come.....