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Intro to Lure Coursing

If you’ve been following along our adventures on YouTube or Instagram, you might’ve seen we’ve been having a lot of fun taking the pups lure coursing. Today we’re sharing a high level overview on the dog sport so you can find out more (and maybe even take your dog to an event, too)!

So what is lure coursing?

Basically this sport simulates your dog’s “prey” instinct — that urge they have to chase every bird or squirrel they see in the backyard.

The American Kennel Club hosts varying events in which there is a course that the dog is supposed to run. A lure, usually a white plastic bag, is tied to a string and a machine quickly pulls the string through the grass, making the lure kind of look like a running bunny or small animal. The test is to see whether your dog has the instinct to chase the lure and completes the full course.

Your dog just needs to be at least 1 year old and have an AKC Registration, AKC Canine Partner, PAL, or FSS registration. Females in season, injured, or blind dogs cannot participate.

What types of coursing ability tests are there?

We’ve attended two types of events so far. The FAST CAT events consist of 100 yard courses. All dogs regardless of height run the same distance, but shorter dogs will receive a handicap when calculating their total points. The run is timed and your dog is given a certain number of points at the end of each run to account for how fast they run (mph).

The first title you can receive in this event is called a BCAT, which requires 150 points. For context, Kokoro received 33 points during her first run and completed the 100 yards in just under 10 seconds. Most dogs can achieve the BCAT title in just 4 to 5 runs!

Watch our vlog on the FAST CAT:

The second type of event is the regular Coursing Ability Test (CAT) for all breeds. This is the one Kokoro ran yesterday. For dogs 12″ and under (their height measured at the shoulder), they run only half of the course, 300 yards, and must complete the full course in under 1.5 minutes.

Taller dogs run the full 600 yards and must complete the course under 2 minutes to qualify. Once you complete 3 qualifying runs, you receive the first title: CA (Coursing Ability). Complete 10 courses and you get the CAA (Coursing Ability Advanced) title! And you can keep doing more and more runs to continue to increase the level of your title.

For both events, you are required to do a gait check as soon as you arrive. This means the event staff will evaluate your dog as they walk and make sure there is no limping or any injury that would prevent them from running.

Watch our most recent YouTube video to see Kokoro get her first CA Title!

The AKC also has a lure coursing competition for certain breeds of dogs, such as Basenjis, Greyhounds, Whippets, Borzois… pretty much all the sighthound breeds! But not all breeds can participate in this sport. We’re thankful they have the CAT and FAST CAT events so all dogs can experience the joy of running their hearts out! Just look at the joy on Kokoro’s face:

If your pup loves “the chase” or just has a ton of energy to run out, we highly recommend checking out a local lure coursing event near you. If you’re in SoCal, we usually stay up to date on events with Diamond Dogs K9 Events or the Southern California Lure Coursing page on Facebook. Let us know how your pup likes the sport if you have a chance to try it out!

Emily is a Los Angeles based content creator with a passion for photography, videography, and storytelling. Through @emwng, you'll find photos and videos of people, places, delicious food, and of course, her two fluffy sidekicks Kokoro and Chibi.

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