THE SPORT OF GREYHOUND RACING
HISTORICAL FACTS AND INFORMATION ABOUT RACING GREYHOUNDS
The origin of the greyhound goes back a long way; paintings and murals of dogs very much like today’s greyhound existed more than Four Thousand years ago. From the beginning, the greyhound has been held in high regard in Europe and throughout the Middle East.
Pictures of the early greyhound can be found etched on walls of ancient Egyptian tombs, and the Pharaohs ranked them 1st among all animals as both hunters and pets.
The Arabs so admired the physical attributes and speed of the greyhound that it was the only dog allowed to share their tents and ride with them on their camels. In early Arabian culture, the birth of a greyhound rated 2nd only in importance to the birth of a son.
In Persia, Greece and Rome, the greyhound enjoyed similar stature and is the only dog mentioned in the Holy Scripture (Proverbs 30:29-31.)
The Greyhound’s link with nobility was established in 1014 when King Canute of England enacted the Forest Laws, which stated that only noblemen could own and hunt with greyhounds. In fact, greyhound racing in England was 1st founded for the English nobility and could not be enjoyed by other citizens.
Greyhounds first came to America in the 1800’s to help farmers control the jackrabbit population. It was not long before competitions of greyhound racing was were by the surrounding farmers. This proved to be both an exciting event for the local population but also showed that the greyhound loved the chase and excitement of racing. From this humble beginning, we now have greyhound racing as we know it today.
To see a greyhound in action is like watching any elite athlete. The grace and beauty of this most noble animal is a sight to behold. At the end of the greyhound’s career they adapt to the life of a loving pet with ease and have become the pet of choice among an increasing number of people.
It is believed that the idea of track racing evolved from the desire to hold coursing events or races within smaller enclosures. Smaller that is than the original 3 miles of course which was used until then. The idea of coursing within enclosures had the added benefit that spectators could easily watch the proceedings. A course of fences, complete with holes through which the hare could run, was set up within the enclosure and the dogs were released (or “slipped”) in pairs. Greyhounds were awarded points for the way in which they pursued the quarry and not necessarily for being the dog that caught the hare.