The roots of lure coursing go back over 4,000 years, to images immortalized on Egyptian tombs. Dogs with pricked ears, dropped ears, long-legged and -short, racing with speed and grace. Coursing is the modernized — and humane — version of the ancient sport of live game coursing. Traditional coursing breeds include the Italian Greyhound to the Saluki, Basenjis to the Scottish Deerhound. Coursing differs from other hunting sports in that dogs track by sight, not scent.
Depending upon various breed characteristics, some dogs are hard-wired to herd, others are all about the hunt, some are just plain nosy, and still others are toys. Wait! That is, they belong to the “toy” group. All joking aside, dogs and their people have many opportunities these days to jump in and get busy engaging a dog’s passions — whatever they may be. In fact, there has been a growth surge in recent months in canine activities you might find of interest. While not all may be of interest, or suited to you and your pup, there are so many choices you’re sure to find something you’d love to try. That’s the other good news: classes, weekend events and workshops have sprung up at doggy daycares, indoor parks and even boutiques, so the opportunities to give something a try abound.
Coming from a guy who grew up with Husky and Shepherd mixes — or what I would have referred to as real dogs — it surprises me that I have become fond of the lowly Basset Hound. When I was a kid my neighbors had a Basset and I observed that while my dogs chased sticks and accompanied me in various forms of play and adventure, their dog was either sleeping or mindlessly barking at things real or imagined.
These memories came back recently while surrounded by 200 of what is arguably the funniest looking of all dogs — a breed whose origins seem more likely linked to a cartoon studio than actual lineage.
Q: What is: Boerboel, Cane Corso, Fila Brasileiro?
A: Canine breeds found amongst “working class” dogs
Q: What are: ATTS, CGC, IABCA, PDI?
A: Tests and games in which “working dogs” compete
If you answered the above quickly and easily, you’re likely among those who live and work with canines who love their work and are serious about having fun.
If you didn’t recognize these terms, you’ve got plenty of company — including many of the Spot crew. Please join us in getting better acquainted with the goings on “in the field” of canine competition.
The growing sport of canine disc — everyone can play
Perhaps you’ve seen it on TV — a dog races out, makes a dazzling leap, and snaps a flying disc from midair. Then ecstatically races back for the next throw.
Or maybe you’ve seen it at the dog park — no less enthusiastic but with varying degrees of finesse. If ever there was a portrait of jumping for joy, this is it . . . Canine Disc.
Canine Disc. Disc Dogs. Frisbee Dogs. Flying Dogs. Aerial Dogs. Whatever you call them, these canine athletes are amazing! And the sport is growing by leaps and bounds.
“Canine disc is a great sport for dogs, particularly in urban settings,” says Adriana Ericson, a member of Washington Owners of Flying Disc Dogs (woofd2). “All you need is a bit of grass, a dog and a disc.”