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Lure Coursing for Dogs

Is your pup bursting with energy? Lure coursing could be the perfect activity to keep them happy and healthy. Originally a hunting event with live game, lure coursing has evolved into an exciting sport for dogs, especially sighthounds, allowing them to exercise their natural hunting instincts in a safe environment.

What Is Lure Coursing for Dogs?

Lure coursing simulates a hunt using a "mock prey" system. In a typical lure coursing event, a white bag attached to a line moves across a field, mimicking the movements of prey. This bag is pulled through a series of pulleys over a distance of approximately 600 yards, sometimes reaching speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Dogs chase the lure in groups of three, each wearing a colored blanket for identification.

The sport leverages dogs' natural prey drive, requiring little formal training. Lure coursing events include both tests and trials. Tests are fun runs without scoring, while trials are competitive and score dogs on performance, speed, agility, and endurance. Only purebred sighthounds are typically allowed in competitive trials.

The History of Lure Coursing

Before modern lure coursing, sighthounds hunted live prey, such as hares, in fields, often encountering hazards like barbed wire. In the early 1970s, Lyle Gillette and other sighthound enthusiasts developed a safer alternative using a plastic bag on a pulley system. This innovation led to the formation of the American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) in 1972. Today, the sport enjoys widespread popularity with numerous ASFA member clubs across the country.

Lure Coursing Titles

In the United States, the ASFA and the American Kennel Club (AKC) are the primary organizations offering lure coursing titles. Each organization has its own titles and requirements. Both require dogs to be certified for competition through a test run with another dog of a similar breed.

For ASFA, titles like Field Champion (FCH) are earned by accumulating points and placements. For example, a dog must earn 100 points and place first at least twice to achieve an FCH title. The AKC has similar titles, starting with Qualified Courser (QC) and progressing to Master Courser (MC) or Field Champion (FC).

Is Lure Coursing Right for Your Dog?

Lure coursing is ideal for sighthounds, who hunt by sight rather than scent. It provides a structured outlet for their natural behavior, keeps them physically fit, and fosters a community among handlers.

To determine if lure coursing is right for your dog, consider the following:

  • Behavior: Dogs must be non-reactive and more interested in the visual hunt than other dogs.

  • Health: Dogs should be in excellent physical condition. A thorough vet check-up, preferably with a vet specializing in dog sports, is recommended.

While lure coursing can be highly beneficial, it comes with risks like any sport. Dogs may behave unpredictably or suffer injuries. Ensuring your dog is healthy and well-prepared can mitigate these risks.


What is the lure method for dog training? Lure coursing uses dogs' natural prey drive, requiring minimal formal training. Dogs are restrained at the start line to build anticipation and then released to chase the lure by instinct. Some dogs may need training to ignore other dogs during the race, and a recall command can be useful for safely retrieving your dog after the chase.

Is lure coursing good for dogs? Lure coursing is excellent for healthy sighthounds with a strong chase instinct and no aggressive behaviors. It provides a natural outlet for their energy, promotes physical fitness, and enriches their lives.

Are there dog lure-coursing machines? Yes, there are many lure coursing machines available, ranging from basic models for backyard use to competition-level equipment. Prices vary based on quality, speed, and durability. When setting up a backyard course, avoid sharp turns to prevent injuries. Research to find the best machine and course design for your dog’s needs.

For more information and resources, visit

lure courses for dogs
lure courses for dogs


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