Sighthound Racing

sighthound racing

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What is Sighthound racing?
Sighthounds are enthusiastic hounds that essentially hunt by speed and sight instead of by endurance and scent. Sighthounds were developed to hunt gazelle, hares, wolves, and other fast animal game that have to be run down at high speeds and killed quickly. Sighthounds hunt by sight as opposed to other breeds that use their noses first and foremost. Their instinct to chase is very powerful. This ability is utilized during training to get them to run after the radio-controlled artificial hare on a course.

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What is the role of the handler?
Tracking a hare, whether fake or real, is a natural instinct for a Sighthound. The trainer's role is to direct that innate capacity to ensure that the dog is happy, fit, mentally stimulated, and healthy.

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Is racing safe?
Sighthound racing is extremely regulated to assure that the dogs and spectators can enjoy the race safely. Racing at tracks is directed under the guidance of a skilled veterinary surgeon who checks every dog before it races.

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Do Sighthounds enjoy racing?
The vast majority of Sighthounds have an inherent capacity to chase. They are built for athleticism and speed, and love to run and race. Sighthounds are one of a relatively small number of breeds that enjoy what their breed has emerged to do. Frequently you will see a Sighthound start wagging its tail furiously and get very excited when it steps onto the track to race.

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How old does my Sighthound need to be before it can race?
Your dog needs to be nine months old before it can step onto the track and chase after a lure. All dogs must be one-year-old before they can officially qualify and join ranked races. You can bring your dog to the racetrack to help him familiarize with the sounds, smells, and sights of the track and socializing with people and other dogs. This will ensure your Sighthound will be a little more prepared when he is ready to run a race.

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What do Sighthounds chase in a race?
Because Sighthounds chase by sight and by sound, a mechanical lure travels on a ground rail around the outside of the track. The decoy is usually a small plastic windsock in a variety of colors or stuffed toy.

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How do I get involved?
Start by finding a club or organization in your area:

Utah Sighthounds Racing and Coursing Club (USRCC)
National Oval Track Racing Association (NOTRA)
American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA)
Sighthound Organization of Tidewater (SHOT)
Heartland Coursing Association (HCA)
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