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Lure Coursing

If you are interested in Lure coursing your hound in Utah, check out our local sighthound club web site for events and information.-www.utahsighthounds.org

If you are new to Lure Coursing, I suggest that you pick up this book. It explains all the rules & training information involved with Sighthound sports.
What is Lure Coursing?
Lure coursing has been around for many, many years.  In the 1970's Lyle Gillette and other sighthound enthusiasts invented a new form of lure coursing using an artificial lure instead of live prey used previously. This allowed owners to continue coursing hounds in a safe environment, away from the barbed wire fencing where prey could easily slip through, but where hounds could get injured.

Utah Lure Coursing

Lure coursing is run on a large field - usually 5 or more acres in size. A series of ground pulleys are placed randomly in the field, and then a line is strung around them making a continuous loop. Attached to the line are three white plastic garbage bags, which represent  'the bunny'. A lure machine (motor) powers the line around the pulleys. The course can be anywhere from 600 yards to 1200 yards in length

Can My Whippet Participate In Lure Coursing?
Most clubs will hold practices and any whippet can run for fun. Lure coursing is a great way to burn off extra energy that whippets get. Clubs love to see new faces at their events and are willing to help train new people..

In order to compete in ASFA or AKC trials, they have to pass an inspection process to be sure that they fit the whippet standard.

Start line

Teeth- Whippets will be disqualified if there is more then ¼” overbite

Eyes- Blue eyes, any portion of the eye blue or eyes not the same color are disqualifications.

Coat- any coat other then short, close smooth or firm in texture. Long hair and wirehair are both disqualifications.

Height- At the withers Males should measure in between 18 ½ and 22 ½. Females should measure between 17 ½ and 21 ½. All other heights will be disqualified.

Other- Cryptorchid or Monorchid dogs are not permitted to run unless they are neutered (Cryptorchid rule is AKC only). Female dogs are not allowed to run while in heat. An inspection committee will check for these details during the inspections before the trial.

Whippet coursing
Most whippets will pick up lure coursing naturally because of their high prey drive. There are some games you can play with your Whippet to prepare them. The first game is to buy a horse lunge whip and tie plastic bags to the end. Drag the whip around and let your whippet chase the bags. Always praise when they catch it and encourage them rip and shred the bag. You can also put treat inside the bag to entice them to rip the bag open. Only play this game for a few minutes 1-2 times a week. You always want to stop before your whippet looses interest or becomes tiered. Never use harsh words or training commands while your playing with this toy.

Strait racing is a great place to practice running before you attend Lure coursing trials. Strait racing teaches them good follow and lure enthusiasm. You generally don’t want to practice lure coursing too much. Smart whippets will start to figure out how to cheat and cut across the field on a lure course if the run too many trials. Strait racing will help teach them to stay right behind the lure and provides them with good exercise.

plastic bunnies

Certifying A Whippet
When you are ready enter your first Lure Coursing trial, you will need to certify your dog with another whippet. This certification run will show that your whippet can run clean without interfering with other whippets while competing. These are typically done before or after a lure coursing trial. There will be forms that you need to fill out so look for the premium paperwork (A premium is a packet of trial information and entry forms). It is your responsibility as the owner to find a dog to certify with. This is done easiest by asking someone a few weeks before a trial. Generally if someone has a whippet entered in a trial, they don’t want to use that same hound to certify a dog. It means they have to run an extra time if they do. If there are no whippets available to certify with, you must find a dog with a similar running style and speed like a Greyhound. If you decide to use a different breed, this needs to be approved by the judge giving the test. Only use dogs that you know will for sure run a clean course. Using 2 novice dogs can be disastrous if they play or become aggressive. If your whippet makes it around the field with no interference with the other hound and finishes the course, it will receive a qualifying run. The judge will sign a form that you will need to turn in with your paperwork at it's first trial. Make sure to make extra copies of the judges signed form to keep on hand in case of mistakes.

Whippet Coursing

Once a dog is ready to run, you need to pick which trials to attend. If you are interested in earning the Field Champion titles, it’s recommended that you focus on AKC or ASFA one at a time. Running under both clubs can be a lot of work and your dog’s best runs will be it’s first runs.

Also remember that when you start competing, your whippet will not know if it wins or looses. Always be excited and enthusiastic when the dog finishes a course. Have good sportsmanship and never throw a fit if your dog does not win. There are going to be judges that you like and hate.  This is a judged event and you cannot win every time! Put on a smile and have fun even if your dog comes in last place.

Lure Coursing Clubs- American Kennel Club (AKC)
Utah has 3 trials for AKC a year. There is 2 in the spring over Memorial weekend and one in the fall over Labor Day weekend. It requires an AKC or Pal number in order to compete.

To receive an AKC Field Champion title (FC), a whippet has to earn 15 points. They need 2 of the wins to be Major Pointed. A Major is a first place win over eight or more whippets in the open or veteran’s class. The more whippets that enter a trial, the more points they will earn if they place. The maximum points that can be earned at one AKC lure trial is five. You can also get a major win if a whippet takes Best In Field over another breed that has a major win in its stake. We rarely have enough whippets for Major wins in Utah. If you want to complete this title, you will need to do some traveling out of state to larger whippet events. Or remember that you can always just enter for fun if your not interested in the title. It’s Highly recommended that you read all AKC lure coursing rules before you enter a trial. This information is just skimming the surface. Here are the full rules for the AKC Lure coursing trial- AKC Lure Coursing rules

Best In Field whippet
Lure Coursing Clubs- American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA)
Utah has 3 trials for ASFA a year. There is one in the spring over Memorial weekend and two in the fall over Labor Day weekend. It requires an AKC or Pal number in order to compete

To receive an ASFA Field Champion title (FCH), a whippet must earn 100 points and two first placements or one-first and two second placements. The more whippets entered, the more points a whippet can win. The maximum points available, in one trial is 40. It’s Highly recommended that you read all ASFA lure coursing rules before you enter a trial. This information is just skimming the surface. Here are the full rules for a ASFA Lure coursing trial- ASFA Lure Coursing rule.

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