Greater Valley Forge Rhodesian Ridgeback Club


What is Lure Coursing?


Table of Contents

Lure Coursing Titles     

Field Committee

AKC Lure Coursing Rules

More to come...



The following information was taken from " Dog World Magazine".


The sport of coursing-the pursuit of swift game by swift hounds- has been done sine the days of the ancient Egyptians.  Not just a pleasurable pastime of the Pharaohs and other royalty, coursing also provided food for the table and eliminated predators.

Although the need for it as a means of survival was eliminated with the advances of civilization, it continues to flourish as a modern-day sport because of its timeless appeal.  Coursing remains the same breathtaking spectacle it has been for thousands of years, and it is filled with the excitement of beautiful hounds exerting themselves to the limit.

In lure coursing, the lure is several white plastic bags tied to a line attached to a machine made from a starter motor. (see photo)  The lure is dragged at between 35 and 40 mph across a pre-arranged course or a continuous loop course.  The course is setup to simulate the way in which a rabbit would run.  There are 90 degree turns, long straight-aways and even crossovers in the course.  The course must be a minimum of 600 yds. for American Kennel Club (AKC) lure field trials and 500 yards for American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) events.  Thus, lure coursing must be done in a field with at least five acres in size.

Lure Coursing Titles

The object of lure coursing is to test the hunting instincts and abilities of the dogs.  It is done according to the rules set forth by the AKC and the ASFA.  The AKC awards qualify coursing
hounds with with the titles of Junior Courser (JC), Senior Courser (SC), Master Courser (MC), Field Champion (FC) and lure Courser Excellent (LCX).  The ASFA confers the titles of Field Champion (FCh.) and Lure Courser of Merit (LCM).  At AKC trials, hounds compete in the Open stake until they earn their AKC Field Championship.  Then they go on to compete in either the Open or Specials Stake.  At ASFA trials, dogs compete in the Open Stake until they earn enough points or placements for their Field Champion title.  Field Champions MUST run in the Field Champions stake.

Which hounds are eligible to lure course?

Only sighthound breeds are allowed to run in AKC and ASFA lure field trials.  These include the: Afghan hound, Basenji, Borzoi, Greyhound, Ibizan hound, Italian Greyhound, Irish Wolfhound, Pharaoh hound, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Saluki, Scottish Deerhound and Whippet.  In the case of the ASFA, the Italian Greyhound runs in the Miscellaneous class, which allows the rarer sighthound breeds to lure course, and also includes: Sloughi, Azawakh, Chart Polski, Cirnecho D'ell Etna, Galgo Espanol, Magyar Agar and the Peruvian Inca Orchid
Before a hound can run in an Open field trial they must either have an AKC Junior Courser Title or an ASFA Certification run.  Additionally, each hound must pass "roll call" the morning of the trial where there is a check for lameness and bitches in heat. 

How are the hounds judged?

The hounds are judged on such things as: speed, agility, follow, endurance, enthusiasm and overall ability.  In order for the judges to tell them apart when they are running, the hounds wear either a bright yellow, pink or blue coursing blanket (jersey).  Of the three dogs running in each course, the judges give a numerical score reflecting how each hound placed.  Then, the dogs must be cross-course judged.  That means if there are two courses of three dogs run, the judges must rank the scores as though all six ran in the same course.

The Field Committee

The Field Committee is comprised of the following: Field Chairman, Field Secretary, Field Clerk, Huntsmaster, Lure Operator, Inspection and Measuring Committee and the Paddock Master.  Although all of these functions are important in the overall success of a trial, I will only discuss the roles and responsibilities of the Judge(s), Lure Operator and Huntsmaster.  For a complete listing of the roles and responsibilities of each, please go to:  Although the Judge is not officially apart of the Field Committee, his/her responsibilities are included below.

Judge(s): Each stake is judged by one or two judges- one is the norm.  The Judge, before beginning his/her assignment, shall walk the course and verify with the FTC that an approved course is properly setup and free of hazards.   Without going into much detail the judge performs the following:

a.  Scores the course:  See Scoring
b.  Determines if any of the hounds are interfered with or any outside interference occurs
c.  Levies a pre-slip penalty (if required)
d.  Determines whether a hound shall be excused or disqualified
e.  Determines whether a re-run is in order

The judge can stand in the middle of the field, on the sidelines, in a bleacher (if provided) or in a chair depending on where they think they will have the best vantage point to score from.

Lure Operator:  I can not stress the importance of a good lure operator.  The lure operator not only controls the lure, but he/she is also responsible for your dogs safety out on the course.  A bad lure operator can not only ruin a run for your dog but can ruin your dogs lure coursing career or worse.  The following is a brief list of the Lure Operator's responsibilities:

a.  Makes a pilot run of the lure before the first course of the day
b.  Starts the lure at the signal from the Huntsmaster
c.  Attempts to keep the lure 10-30 yds. in front of the hounds at all times
d.  Stops the lure anytime the safety of the hounds are in jeopardy

The lure operator usually stands atop a ladder or in a bleacher (if available) for maximum visibility.

Huntsmaster- Just like the lure operator the Huntsmaster has a very BIG responsibility when it comes to the scoring and safety of your hound.  The lure operator probably has more responsibilities than any of the other Field Committee positions.  The following is just a brief list of their responsibilities:

a.  Shall call up a new course when the previous is completed
b.  Responsible for checking that blankets and slip leads are secure and attached properly
c.  Ensures the hounds are in the correct starting order/position
d.  Explains the release and retrieval process to the handlers
e.  Responsible for starting the course with the signal, "Tallyho"
f.  Will stop the lure if a pre-slip occurs prior to the "Tallyho" signal
g.  Will stop the lure if the dogs safety is jeopardized
h.  Will notify the Judge of a pre-slip penalty if one occurs
i.  Will inspect the lure prior to each course and replace if needed
j.  Shall inform the judge of any interference or aggressive behavior of any hound on the course
k.  Shall assist in stopping the lure and protecting the dogs from injury during the retrieval

The Lure Operator shall stand in close proximity to, but not in front of, the handlers and hounds.

See other Lure Coursing Questions ...

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