Ever wonder how the Sighthound got its name? Just as the label suggests, many years ago they were bred to pursue their prey by sight rather than scent, which requires a display of fantastic athleticism and keen eyesight to stay in hot pursuit. Today’s Sighthounds demonstrate their coursing skills by chasing after a plastic bag attached to a lure that whizzes by on a specially designed course.
AKC Lure Coursing is a sport which tests the inherent coursing characteristics of sighthound breeds. During a lure coursing trial, sighthounds do what comes naturally in a safe, controlled environment. Hounds run in packs of three and must wear a light, soft blanket in pink, yellow, or blue to help differentiate each dog.
Lure Coursing trials are competitive where their ability to follow the lure over a course is scored according to a structured point system. They are judged on categories such as follow, speed, agility, and endurance. A mechanical lure which consists of a white plastic bag attached to a movable line positioned slightly above the ground is controlled by a lure operator who moves the white bag in a quick manner across a field according to the course layout, simulating the unpredictability of a real chase.
Most sighthound breeds love lure coursing events. It provides them a great outlet to use their natural ability to run fast and visually focus on something in motion.
What Dogs Can Compete?
The following breeds are eligible to compete in AKC Lure Coursing after reaching their first birthday and being AKC, FSS, or PAL registered;
- Afghan Hound
- Cirneco Dell’Etna
- Ibizan Hound
- Irish Wolfhound
- Italian Greyhound
- Pharaoh Hound
- Portuguese Podengo Pequeno
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Scottish Deerhound
- Peruvian Inca Orchid
- Portuguese Podengos (Medio & Grande)
- Thai Ridgeback
Coursing Events for Any Dog
Coursing Ability Tests are pass or fail and dogs must run alone on a course rather than in a trio. To pass, a dog must complete a 300-yard course if under 12” at the withers or brachycephalic (flat-faced) in less than 1.5 minutes. Dogs over 12” at the withers must run a 600-yard course in less than 2 minutes. Passing dogs receive the following titles upon the number of passes: 3 passes = (CA), 10 passes = (CAA), 25 passes = (CAX), 50 passes = (CAX2). All additional passes at 25 increments will earn a higher numbered title ie CAX3, CAX4, etc.)
Test or Trial?
Lure Coursing events take place as tests or trials. Tests are non-competitive and meant to test the instincts of a dog with a pass/fail outcome.
Trials are competitive and have three stakes a dog can enter and earn points — Open (for non-titled dogs), Specials (for dogs that earned their Field Champion (FC) Title), and Veteran (dogs over a certain age as required by their breed’s Parent Club).
How are Points Scored?
In Lure Coursing Trials, judges score hounds for a maximum score of 50 points based on overall ability (10), follow (10), speed (10), agility (10), and endurance (10).
What Titles Can Dogs Earn?
All Lure Coursing Titles are added to the dogs’ official registered name according to the title’s acronym. All lure coursing titles are added after a dog’s name except a field champion title or a dual champion title which is added before.
(JC) Junior Courser — the dog must complete this lure coursing test twice and in each instance must run alone and receive a qualification after showing enthusiasm and no interruptions in each run from two different AKC judges.
(QC) Qualified Courser — a certificate is issued by an AKC judge once a dog shows he/she can run with another hound of the same breed or similar running style and can complete the course cleanly with no interference with the other hound, with no interruption and enthusiasm.
(SC) Senior Courser — the dog must earn qualifying scores (with competition) at four AKC lure coursing trials under three different judges.
(MC) Master Courser — the dog must have earned a SC and have earned an additional 25 qualifying scores (with competition) in either the Open, Veteran or Specials stakes.
(FC) Field Champion — the dog must earn 15 championship points including two majors (majors = 1st place earning a value of 3, 4, or 5 points according to the Schedule of Points by Breed) under two different judges and at least 1 point must be earned in competition with a hound of the same breed.
(DC) Dual Champion, — the dog must earn an FC title in Lure Coursing and a CH title in conformation dog shows.
How Can Dogs Prepare?
Sighthounds typically don’t require much training to chase a lure, since the action is instinctual. As with any puppy, early socialization with other dogs and basic obedience is highly recommended. Foundational test levels such as Junior Courser is a great place to introduce a hound to coursing and serves as a pre-requisite to the Qualified Courser test level where a dog must prove they can run cleanly with another hound.
Watch The Action
The 2018 AKC National Lure Coursing Championship will premiere on AKC.tv at 12:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, January 12, with replays all weekend long. It will also be available on-demand to enjoy anytime on AKC.TV.
You can always enjoy AKC.TV on your mobile device or computers by going to www.akc.tv.