Lure coursing is a performance sport developed in the early 1970s by sight hound fanciers who previously hunted jackrabbits in the open field. They invented lure coursing as a safer, more controlled sport for sighthounds that would recreate the physical requirements of open field coursing, allowing them to continue testing the functional abilities of their hounds.
Lure coursing aims to preserve and develop the coursing skills inherent in sighthounds and to demonstrate that they can perform the functions for which they were originally bred. The hounds chase plastic bags on a course laid out to simulate the movement of escaping game. The plastic bags are pulled around on a nylon string course, propelled by a hand controlled motor.
A coursing dog should have the ability to course without showing signs of undue stress or lack of fitness. Coursing tests many aspects of a dog’s physical structure and temperament. As a consequence, dogs who participate in lure coursing need to be both sound and fit.
Lure Coursing is open to all breeds and associate registered dogs over the age of 15 months. There are two streams with two separate sets of titles.
Open stakes requires the dog to prove that they are able to safely run with another dog of the same breed. They do this by first completing a Qualifying Course (QC). In open stakes they will be required to run with up to 2 other members of their breed and are awarded points towards their Field Champion (FCh) title, based on their placing against those dogs.
Single stakes allows those dogs who are not able to complete a QC, or those that may not enjoy running with other dogs to continue in the sport. Dogs running in single stakes are able to gain points towards a Singles Field Champion (sFCh) title. Dogs can run in Single Stakes and then later move into Open Stakes or Veteran Stakes if they achieve a QC.
Veteran stakes is for dogs over the age of 7, or Irish Wolfhounds over the age of 5, as an alternative to open or single stakes. Dogs running in veteran stakes are able to gain points towards a Veteran Field Champion (vFCh) title. Like Open Stakes, Veteran Stakes requires the dog to run with other dogs and so the dog much achieve a QC prior to entering.
The Coursing Ability stream is open to all other registered breeds and associate register dogs, including associate registered sighthounds.
Dogs first enter Junior Courser (JC) and once qualified, enter the coursing ability test (CAT). CAT dogs are eligible for Coursing Ability (CA), Coursing Ability Advanced (CAA) and Coursing Ability Excellent (CAX) titles.