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Coursing isn't only about the speed, but also about the dog’s desire to hunt

author Lucy Byrne | Sport and travel

Hunting and exercise. If the dog loves both these activities, then coursing is the perfect activity for it. This cross-country race is based exactly on the desire of the dog to catch its prey.

Coursing, such as typical oval racing, is mostly associated with greyhounds. Cross-country races are becoming an increasingly more popular sport even for other active dog breeds. Of course, also for their masters. This way, the ancestors of the dog don't matter. The important thing is the desire to hunt.

Hare coursing, that is, running after a live hare, rat or cat, is prohibited in the Czech Republic. You can only try Lure coursing, when the dogs hunt for an artificial substitute or some tassel.

Dogs run the races preferably on a slightly sloping surface and empty meadow. The bait is dragged by a winch across the meadow zig-zag, so that it simulates a running hare. The route of the race should consist of natural obstacles, so that the dogs could also show their intelligence. The goal is to catch the bait.

The race has two parts, in each of which the dogs run a different route. There are always two dogs of the same breed and sex against each other, distinguished by colour cloths. Their performance is evaluated according to speed, effort to catch the bait, dexterity, endurance and intelligence. The maximum amount of points to be earned in one round is 100. If the dog gets 50 points, then it can advance to the second round. The winner is, naturally, the one with more points.

So, in coursing, it's not only about time in which the dog is able to catch the bait. Overall, its hunting instincts, that will show during the race, are important. Therefore, it's not good to force your dogs into racing if they're not into hunting. You will not get a good performance from them without the desire to hunt.

The best way to find out is to visit a coursing training. You don't need any special equipment for that. But if you decide to race, you must get a coursing licence. It is limited only by the age of the racer, that is, your dog, and its fitness. For racing, you must get a muzzle and a coursing cloth or a collar.