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Greyhound racing

The fastest dogs in the world

With the various greyhounds we encounter a group of dogs that are very different from all other breeds both in their appearance and in their characteristics. Among the greyhound breeds looked after by the DWZRV you will find the fastest dog in the world – the English greyhound; the largest dog in the world – the Irish Wolfhound; the probably oldest dog breed – the Persian Saluki; the legendary greyhound from the Afghan rocky landscapes – the Afghans; the companion of the Arab princes and sheikhs – the Sloughi; the dainty greyhound of the ladies of the medieval royal houses – the Italian greyhound; the wolf hunter of the Russian grand dukes – the borzoi; the greyhound of the Tuareg nomads – the Azawakh and the Spanish Galgo-Espagnol, the Polish Chart Polski, the Scottish Deerhound, the Hungarian Magyar Agar and the Pharaoh Hound.

Greyhounds are different

The greyhound’s elixir of life is running. Now and then he would like to set off with all his soul and with all his might and put all his energy into speed to the limit of the possible. If he has his exercise or his sporting activity, he can on the other hand be the calm, serene, calm family and apartment dog, for which he is also very much appreciated by his owners. Discover a whole new sport for you and your family … greyhound racing. The greyhound sport takes advantage of the greyhound’s original ability to follow a moving object. Where else should you have your “total” running and hunting experience under today’s environmental conditions than on specially designed greyhound racing tracks or coursing grounds. Greyhound sport also gives you plenty of exercise in the fresh air, keeps you in good health and introduces you to many people who are nature and animal lovers and who share their lives with extraordinary dogs. Greyhound sport in Germany is organized by the “German Greyhound Breeding and Racing Association” (DWZRV), which looks after all greyhound breeds known to us and around 50 local greyhound sports clubs that are scattered all over the country. Approx. 80 greyhound sporting events, be it track races or coursings, take place every year. In addition, there are weekly training events almost everywhere on all racecourses from spring to autumn for everyone whose dog is in the mood. The racing season lasts a good seven to eight months a year.

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What greyhound races are there?

In greyhound races, a distinction is made between track races and coursings. The former usually take place on grass lanes over distances of approx. 300 m to a maximum of 900 m, with the usual lane length being 450 m or 480 m. If at least three dogs per gender are registered for one breed, males and females run separately. Up to six dogs are used in the start boxes at the same time. Then they are left on the track behind an “artificial rabbit” (made of fur or plastic), which moves about 20 m in front of the first dog. The “rabbit” is pulled on a string over rollers by a rabbit machine, whereby there is at least one curve (U-shaped track) or two curves (double U). The times are stopped at the finish and the order of the incoming dogs is recorded. The winners will be determined in preliminary, intermediate and final runs. They do not receive any cash prizes, and no bets are placed on them in this country. Nevertheless, a fast greyhound can bring home all kinds of trophies and earn coveted titles during his active time. The greyhound races, which are common in Germany and most of the neighboring European countries, are “amateur races”, which are primarily organized for the sake of the dogs and their movement, whereby of course the owners also enjoy their sporting experience should.

What is coursing?

Two greyhounds have to prove their speed and skill at the same time in the hunt for an imitation rabbit. A field judge assesses the work of each pair and awards points. Depending on the number of points, the dogs progress or drop out of the competition. Our coursings are also held outdoors. In contrast to Great Britain, however, the hunt for live game is prohibited in our country. The zigzag course of the rabbit train imitates the escape path of a hare in the wild. The route is about 450 m long and is redesigned after each round in order to present the participating greyhounds with a new task.

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What does a racing dog need?

The equipment for a racing dog consists of a set of different colored racing rugs, which are marked with the numbers 1 to 6 and which are pulled over the back. For safety reasons, a light muzzle made of wide-meshed wire or plastic mesh is put on. And of course a well-fitting collar and a firm leash are necessary to keep the dogs well under control before and after the race. The racing dogs must be in possession of a racing license that they have acquired through perfect training runs. “Impeccable” running means that the racing dog starts from the starting box and pursues the attractant drawn in advance without disrupting the course of the race.

Contact and further information

Interested parties can contact the German Greyhound Breeding and Racing Association, www.dwzrv.com, email: [email protected] The authors: INGEBORG AND ECKHARD E. SCHRITT have been dealing with greyhounds, their breeding and their sporting use since 1971. You are the author of various publications and books on the subject of greyhounds and have received several awards. Further information: www.sloughi.de

Photo: © Viktor Petrow / www.pixelio.de