Straight Racing generally is from 100 to 200 yards long. Dogs are released on a start line or from a box. Straight racing is intense and competitive between the dogs, so almost all of the racing groups require the dogs to wear racing muzzles. Dogs are released in groups up to 4 and run in three heats, so by the end of the racing program, the faster dogs are racing together. After a brief learning curve with the muzzle, most dogs enjoy racing.

The biggest racing group in the US is the Large Gazehound Racing Association (LGRA), which interestingly enough, was founded by Jack Lewis, who lives in Utah. All sighthound breeds except for whippets are allowed to run in LGRA, which offers the GRC (Gazehound Racing Champion) and SGRC (Superior Gazehound Racing Champion). There are many organizations for whippets, depending on what region the racer is from, with similar titles.

There are a few all-breed racing associations from region to region. In Idaho and Utah, the North American Straight Racing group provides titles for all breeds. It is an awesome sight to see dogs enjoying their day out racing. Don and Sandy Miller’s dachshunds are special favorites!

Competitive titles are the NARC (North American Racing Champion) and the NARCX (North American Racing Champion Excellent) and are currently for dachshunds and Jack Russell terriers. ALL breeds and mixes can run for the non-competitive SRC (Single Racing Champion) or SRCX (single Racing Champion Excellent).

Lure Coursing is somewhat more complicated. It involves an intricate track of nylon string, pullies, a plastic bag, and a lure machine. Dogs chase the bag around a series of turns for at least 600 yards and usually more.

Two main groups provide titles for dogs. The American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) is the original club associated with lure coursing, and, as can be guessed from their name, are sighthound exclusive. ASFA has done a lot in promoting lure coursing in the US since 1975. Titles are Field Champion and Lure Courser of Merit (LCM), plus some titles for Veteran coursers. Dogs are not generally muzzled (unless the owner wishes) and are ran in two heats of three dogs. Dogs are scored on follow, agility, enthusiasm, speed and endurance. Unlike racing, coursing is somewhat of a objective sport.

The American Kennel Club also offers coursing, which until 2011, was also exclusively a sighthound affair. The AKC patterned their program after the ASFA one so the titles are very similar to earn. Sighthounds an earn the AKC FC (Field Champion) title or the LCX (Lure Courser Excellent) titles, which are comparable to the ASFA Field Champion and LCM titles. There are also three non-competitive sighthound titles: JC (Junior Courser), SC (Senior Courser), and MC (Master Courser). Non-sighthounds do not run competitively in the AKC but can pass the CAT three times will earn a Coursing Ability (CA) title. Ten passes and a dog earns a Coursing Ability Advanced (CAA) title, and 25 passes results in a Coursing Ability Excellent (CAX) title. All non-sighthounds run alone.

The United Kennel Club offers competitive lure coursing amongst all breeds including mixes but it has really not taken off for obvious reasons – it is very hard to run mixed breed dogs together in a fair manner.


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©Idaho Capital City Kennel Club ~ 2012