Coursing is the oldest of all field sports, with records going back to 4000BC. It was, until the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the sport of royalty and high ranking nobility, and illegal for anyone below a Duke to own a greyhound.
Queen Elizabeth I was passionate about coursing and ordered the drawing up of rules, which, amended as required, are basically the rules under which we course today. Prior to the Hunting Act of 2004 in which coursing is prohibited.
The Greyhound is the second fastest animal alive today, and coursing under National Coursing Club rules is a test of the greyhound’s speed and agility and a joy to watch.
Salukis are probably the oldest and most romantic of the gazehounds. Bred to hunt in the desert, the Bedouins used to, and still do, hunt on horseback with a hawk on the wrist and a Saluki at heel. They are varied and pretty hounds with great stamina.
Deerhounds as the name implies, originally bred to chase deer, but, before the ban, coursed the mountain hare. They have amazing strength and stamina, and to watch them ‘flowing’ across the heather in Scotland was a great sight. They are gentle giants and make wonderful companions- if you have the space!
Don’t be fooled by these little hounds! They are loyal, feisty, determined and great hunters, also they are remarkably fast. They will chase anything and now the ban is in place they have great fun chasing a lure (something the other three breeds are not keen on). The whippet makes an outstanding pet, and are renowned as ‘pet dogs’, used to give comfort to patients in hospitals.