Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lure coursing

Saturday some friends and I decided to drive
up to Yellow Springs, Ohio, just south of Dayton, where they were holding a lure coursing trial. Lure coursing is a sport done by sighthounds; sighthounds are dogs in the hound group which were traditionally used for hunting using their eyes rather than their noses. One example is the dog pictured to the right, the basenji (known for being the "barkless" dog). Basenjis are one of the smaller dogs in the group.

Now, none of us actually owned a sighthound, but after the trial is over they offer " fun runs" for any breed to try out chasing the lure. My friend Kathy's poodles have done it before and LOVE it. Cory has been brimming with energy lately and I figured it would be a good way to burn some off; plus we thought we could probably find a place in the park to do some tracking while we were there as well. And it was a beautiful spring day, so what did we have to lose?

The lure coursing itself was fun to watch. There was quite a variety of breeds, including these Salukis to the right. They were fun to watch-so elegant!

The "lure" is actually three plastic bags attached to an electric pulley system. The pulleys run up and around the field- a different pattern for each class. When it is running, the lures zip around the field with a snaking motion and rustling noise that makes the dogs absolutely nuts to catch it. To be honest, I'm not quite sure just how the runs are scored...but they are fun to watch!

The dogs above and to either side are Pharoah Hounds, a very old Egyptian sighthound breed.

To the right and below are Rhodesian Ridgebacks...see the ridge of fur they are named for? They were originally bred to hunt lions in Africa...big, tough dogs! They're a bit heavier bodied than most of your sighthounds.

The dog above is an Afghan Hound, the only one there that day. It's one of the more recognizable sighthounds...quite impressive with that amazing coat!

And of course, to the right and below are the most well known of the sighthounds, the greyhound. They are truly something to watch in action.

To the left is an Ibezan hound; this one is wire haired, which is not as common as the smooth coated variety.

Below left is a basenji in action; and to the right is another saluki- they are my favorites to watch with the grace of a greyhound, but with the flowing coat.

Below is my friend Kathy's poodle Winter; Winter LOVES lure coursing and could hardly contain herself until her turn to run. She gave those sighthounds a run for their money and ended up winning her division in the "other breed" runs.

To the left was another one of the "other" breeds, a basset hound. Yes, a hound....but a SCENT hound, not a sight hound! Rain and her two basset friends did quite a good job and "killed" the lure enthusiastically.
As for Cory, he did pretty well for a first timer; he started out well and chased the lure with great enthusiasm, but about halfway through the course got hung up in the pulley string and decided to come back and pee on the fencing instead. Nevertheless, it was good for second place! He was a little unsure about the sound of the pulleys zipping the string; I think he would do better running with a group rather than solo. When we were done we ran the same track my friend Sharon and her dog Baylin had done, looking for a missing article that she didn't find; we couldn't find it either, even when Sharon and I walked the first leg of the track a third time. Maybe one of the sighthounds stole it while we weren't looking- it was a cosmetic pouch full of chicken! The dogs were happy to crash in their crates in the cars while the humans enjoyed dinner at Olive Garden before heading home- all in all a great way to spend a lovely spring day!


  1. sounds like a fun day. I have only seen lure coursing on TV. And what fun to let your own dog try it. I'm sure my fat slow show labs would be a hoot to watch out there.

  2. Lovely pictures :o) This is one thing I would love to try with my dogs :o)


  3. Lure coursing is so much fun, it seems like most dogs love it. Watching always makes me kind of want a sight hound. It's been many years since we had lure coursing around, thanks for sharing!