57829277-122814_pupparazzi_145Sighthounds are dogs that traditionally hunt by sight rather than tracking game by scent and are specialized for rapid running. Sighthounds have an overwhelming instinct to ‘chase’. Lure coursing presents an opportunity for them to chase a lure for pleasure and is meant to simulate the pursuit of prey in the open field. Sighthounds generally have no need to be trained or enticed to chase the lure since the desire to chase is instinctual. However some breeds may require lure play at a very early age to encourage them to follow an artificial object with enthusiasm.

Lure courses are usually between 500 and 1000 yards in length and are created by placing small pulleys around a field in a pattern designed to resemble the rout prey might take when pursued by hounds. A loop of braided string is pulled around the pulleys by a wheel attached to a motor. The lure itself is usually a series of white plastic bags. An experienced lure operator can control the lure so as to simulate escaping game.

The hounds run the course twice, usually in groups of three. The hounds are judged on a variety of parameters by experienced judges. Scores from both runs are added for a combined total score. Hounds are awarded placements and points based on where they finished and the number of hounds they competed against. The hounds are running not only for fun and to keep their natural abilities alive, but also for titles.

In the US there are two organizations that coordinate the hosting of sighthound lure coursing trials and certify judges. In order of years of experience in the sport they are the American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Each organization has slightly different running rules and criteria for granting titles. Competitive points earned in one organization do not carry over to the other group’s trials. The ASFA confers the titles of Field Champion (FCh.) and Lure Courser of Merit (LCM).

The AKC awards the titles of Junior Courser (JC), Senior Courser (SC), Master Courser (MC), Field Champion (FC) and lure Courser Excellent (LCX).

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