Dutch Lure Coursing Guidelines
National Lure Coursing Guidelines of the Netherlands
1. Declaration of Intent.
The following is supplemental to the existing national lure coursing regulations, and should be considered as advice and/or guidelines on the carrying out, and supervision of national lure coursing competitions.
2. Statement of Purpose.
Lure coursing is the competition sport of the lure chase for all sighthounds in the open field. Lure coursing is based on one of the oldest hunting techniques of man and dog, and is essentially a different discipline than the sport of dog racing on the track.
The aim of the sport is to compare lure-fast, well trained hounds of the same breed between themselves by allowing them to follow a course, two at a time line a manner that simulates the historical live chase but does so without danger.
Lure coursing is an amateur dog sport. The enthusiasm and pleasure of the dogs are paramount. It is, in addition a pleasure to evaluate their performance, and to recognize and reward excellent sighthounds. Furthermore, the design of challenging yet safe courses, and the lure operation itself will give considerable enjoyment.
3. Eligible hounds.
All sighthounds and the so called half-sighthounds (as so determined by the Kennel Club of The Netherlands: RvB) that are in ownership of members of the official sighthound racing clubs may participate in this sport.
For national competitions: dogs of 15 months of age and up to that year in which they reach the age of eight years.
The hounds must be in possession of a Coursing License. To achieve this they must earn a "lure-fast certificate". For this purpose the well trained dog in good physical condition, and steadfast on the lure, will follow a whole (training)course in company with another hound of the same breed. In the case of rare breeds, in the absence of a hound of the same breed, this test can be carried out in the company of a hound of another, comparable breed. In case of the lack of a practical possibility for a club member to let his dog run for a coursing license at his own club, this can be done at any other club, i.e. on a competition day in the test runs (a maximum of three) previous to the trail or after the trial ends. This to be decided on at the discretion of the authorized officials who may sign the certificate.
The following are required for the application for a Coursing License (in addition to the "lure-fast certificate")- a photocopy of the dog's Dutch pedigree (NHSB: registered at the Netherlands Kennel Club,RvB.).- a vaccination certificate for distemper, hepatitis and leptospirosis.- a valid vaccination certificate for rabies.- a photo of the whole dog, from the side, head to the right,4x6cm.These records are to be given to the club secretary of an official sighthound racing club, who will then complete the application.
Hounds in possession of a Racing Certificate are eligible, albeit with the advice that they first experience some lure training in the open field.
4. The terrain, ground
condition, course distance and obstacles.
It is the duty of the organizing club to supervise the terrain to be used, and to care for the ground in the best possible manner. That is to say: on the day of the competition the ground must not be too hard or too slippery, the grass must be at the correct height, there should preferably be an enclosure round the entire terrain, to protect loose hounds against any danger. Furthermore, a thorough inspection of the ground must be carried out to ensure removal of dangerous objects, and to correct or improve any hazardous area.
The terrain must be large enough to offer enough space for a course length of 600 to 1000 meters. For the smallest breeds (Italian Greyhound and Whippet) the distance can be shortened to between 400 and 600 meters, for the larger breeds if possible measuring up to 1000 meters. The hounds must be allowed to develop considerable speed, be able to run off the course and also be able to cut the course without coming in to danger from, or being trapped by fencing or any other obstacles. Sandy ground, open natural areas, grass fields and suchlike are suitable, preferably with an undulating surface, or with a slight inclination.
Shrub and tree growth on the course area is acceptable as a natural obstacle, except if it causes any danger to the hounds or the lure line, or obstructs the sight of the operator over any part of the entire course. The use of artificial obstacles is allowed, if their height is no higher than the average shoulder height of the large sighthound breeds (approx.70 - 75 cm.).Straw bales and freshly cut branches from shrubbery can be used, only if there are no hard, sharp or protruding parts that could injure the hounds. The hounds must be given enough time to be able to see all obstacles, viewed from the perspective of the hound running on the course. Furthermore they must be given room to avoid the obstacles, especially in the case of the smaller breeds.
5.The pulleys, line, lure, lure
machine and Lure Operator.
The pulleys must be clearly marked and pose as little danger as possible to the hounds. They can be marked with greenery, a flag or anything similar, so that the hounds will avoid them instinctively, and so that the operator has a clear view of each turn of the lure. In practice 10 to 12 smooth running pulleys should be sufficient for an average course plan of 600 meters. Some of the pulleys can be placed so as to draw the attention of the hounds, and others to slow their speed down. The distance from the start to the first pulley must be between 60 to 90 meters. After a turn at a pulley the hounds must be given enough space to run off the line, to return to the line and continue their pursuit once more before the lure turns again.
The line must be made of good quality synthetic fiber that has minimum of elasticity, and that will give the least chance of lacerations (the last 5 - 8 meters can be made of a heavier quality fiber to prevent leg constrictions and injuries at the end of the course).At no place on the course may the lure line cross itself, either by an open drag-line system, or by a closed continual-line system.
The lure must be clearly visible at all times during the competition, for both the hounds and Operator. It is preferable to make the lure as light as possible both in weight and colour, and ensure it has a minimum length of 50 cm. A spare lure machine with extra line, lures and pulleys are necessary for the proper running of a competition.
The lure machine must be placed on the field so that the hounds cannot run into it, and yet so that the operator has a clear view of the whole course. The machine (and operator) must have enough power to be able to run the lure at the highest speed of the hounds for the duration of a whole competition day over a course of 600 to 1000 meters, and keep it in front of the leading hound even in the wettest or heaviest conditions. Whichever drive system is used (hand-wheel, electric motor or otherwise) the organization must be sure that the machine (and the spare machine) can run properly for the 60 or more courses of a competition day.
The Lure Operator must be able to react to, and learn from hounds that anticipate, cut turns and display different pursuit behaviour due to their experience. He must be able to judge the speed and agility correctly of the different breeds, and to anticipate and interact with them. If hounds cut turns excessively, it may be necessary to bring the lure (almost) to a standstill. The Lure Operator must prevent hounds from attempting a take whilst they are running because of the high risk of injuries, especially as all hounds shall run with a muzzle on. The lure will be run close enough to the hounds to encourage them to follow the course plan as well as possible, but not so close as to incite reckless behaviour of the hounds, i.e. at the obstacles. In principle, one Operator will be appointed for the whole competition day. Only sufficiently experienced persons will be considered suitable for this function.
6. The Course.
The course design and construction must take into account the differences in speed, agility, size and weight of all the sighthounds that will be taking part in the competition on the same course plan. For the smallest breeds, reducing the distance (to between 400 - 600 meters),and avoiding any of the obstacles (such as straw bales) is allowable.
When designing a course plan certain matters should be kept in mind, such as:the condition of the ground (wet = heavy going, dry = light going),the available surface and space that is free of hard and/or dangerous objects. Furthermore, the presence of any unevenness in the ground, and the length of the course in combination with the number of courses (i.e. the number of times a drag lure has to be re-strung over the pulleys during the competition day) are of importance. A course "chase" consists of straight runs of considerable length (50 - 100 meters),turns to the left and right (preferably no sharper than 90 degrees!),including the possibility of artificial obstacles (i.e. a shallow water jump).The path of the course must continually be envisioned from the perspective of a sighthound at (full) speed. The hounds must at all times be able to avoid all obstacles and jumps quite safely. Care should also be taken to find a suitable and safe position for the lure machine, the Judges and/or Field Jury, a clearly marked start and end to the course, as well as the line handlers must take to walk from the start to the end to retrieve their hounds.
The course must be inspected, before the competition starts, on its safety and practicability by the Judges in company with the Operator and Field Steward. If necessary, changes or improvements can be made after due consultation. The test runs, both before the first as well as the second series, must be critically observed by the aforementioned officials to determine the visibility, practicability and difficulty of the course. Those hounds that perform the test runs do not take part in the competition.
7. The Start and End of the Course.
The hounds will be divided into couples, which will be made known to the handlers by the Field Secretary before the trial begins. The hounds, having been warmed up, will go to the start on time at the request of the Speaker or Field Steward so that the trial can be run punctually.
Hounds will be slipped by their handler at the command of the Starter, when the course has been given free. When the hounds are ready the Starter will signal the Operator for the start, and when the lure has reached enough speed and distance the Starter will signal the slip.
Hounds will run with muzzles, and either a red or a white coursing collar, or race blankets. To avoid any discussion at the start, red will be slipped to the left of the slipper and white to the right. In case of a false start, the Judges will decide on the possible penalty, or advise a re-start. In the case of a line break, the Judges must decide whether to re-start immediately (i.e. in the case of a line break in the first half of the course) or to advise a re-run for the same hounds after a rest period.
Handlers must retrieve their hounds calmly and quickly, without obstructing the progress of the competition. They will cool their hounds off outside the course area.
8. Disqualification and other penalties.
Those hounds that obstruct the course, or whose handlers do so, can be penalized by the Judges with a forfeit of a number of points for their course. A false start can also be so penalised, depending on the degree of the fault.
The hound that stays with its handler or walks off the field, the hound that courses the other hound instead of the lure, and the hound that delays the course can be penalized by the judges with a dismissal for the day of the trial. Hounds that are not fit to run, as well as hounds whose owners/handlers obstruct other participants, Judges or Officials, can also be dismissed. Duration of the dismissal:the day of the competition.
The hound that interferes with another hound on the course can be disqualified by the Judges. "Interference" during a course means the obstruction of the other hound in such a way that it cannot continue its course or can only do so with a delay. The path of the victim must be clearly obstructed. Only looking at, growling or barking at the other hound do not justify a disqualification.
At the first repetition of this misconduct in the same season, the License or Certificate will be forfeited. The hound must once again earn itself a "lure-fast certificate". It may not take part in competitions for the following 4 week-ends, including the week-end of the second disqualification. For a third disqualification, this penalty will be for 8 week-ends. Any repetition after this will cause exclusion for the season.
Judging of the courses will be carried out by a competent group of Judges or "Field-judges". There are different judging systems for this purpose. One of them is the: The Coursing System Leek (CSL).
An other one is The American Sighthound Field Association system (Also known as ASFA-system - see below).
10. The Officials.
The coursing organization exists of a number of officials, being persons that have a particular duty and function on the day of the competition, and are authorized to give instructions to participants and handlers.
The Field Secretary is the person responsible for the publication of the competition, receipt and registration of the entries. Furthermore, responsible for the sale of the competition program, registration and administration of the entered licenses, receipt of payments, registration and publication of the competition results.
The Field Steward is the person responsible for supervision of the technical conduct of the trial, all the apparatus and the condition of the course. The Field Steward shall consult with the Field Secretary, the Lure Operator, the Starter and any other officials i.e. those persons responsible for First Aid, the re-stringing of the lure etc., so that all of them are well instructed and able to function properly. The Field Steward is responsible, together with the Field Secretary for the draw of the hounds for both series whereby they must take into account: the age, experience, and known speed or performance of the individual hounds. The Field Steward shall be the only official to have contact with the participants in the case of protest. Protest will be discussed with the Judges, and the Field Steward will deliver the Judge's decision to those involved.(There will be no direct contact between participants and Jury during the course).
Lure Operator. see 5
Starter. see 7
The speaker can accompany the event with a public commentary, but must above all provide general information, and shall pass on the official results, and instructions, to both officials and participants.
The Judges will evaluate the
performance of each hound, and if necessary may penalize the hounds. The
decision of the Jury is binding. The constitution of the Jury depends on
the judging system that is being used on the day of the competition.
The following is an explanation of the Netherlands application of the ASFA judging system(as included in the program on the day of the competition).
Judging shall be carried out by 3 judges. The names of officially recognized and/or very experienced judges will be registered at the Commission for Sighthound Racing and Coursing (with the exception of foreign judges).The lure-coursing organization must give the judges the opportunity to be able to judge the following capacities of the hounds: steadfastness on the lure, follow, speed, agility and endurance, without ever having to cause any danger to the hounds.
Hounds will be judged on the following principles:
enthusiasm,desire 0 - 15 points
follow,intelligence 0 - 15 points
speed,reaction 0 - 25 points
agility,skill 0 - 25 points
endurance,stamina 0 - 20 points
giving a possible maximum of: 100 points.
The winner is that hound which has earned the highest score after two courses. In the case of equal scores, the hound with the highest score in the second course will be winner. If this score is equal too, then a coin will be tossed.
The maximum score possible is 100 points per judge, per course; at the end of the day:600.
A hound that courses well,
without earning extremely high or low scores, will earn on average 360
points in a day.
When walking to the retrieval
area, take care not to obstruct the hounds in the course!
2. Information on the judging criteria
Enthusiasm hound can show this in different ways: impatience at the start, a keen and unwavering sight on the lure, a clearly visible desire to take the lure, the manner in which a hound recovers ,for example from a fall, during the course.
FOLLOW: important indications of follow are, the (determined) way the hound pursues the lure and attempts to take it, as well as the insight the hound demonstrates with any new development, for example when the next pulley has already been cleared by its opponent in the lead, an obvious attempt to search for the lure if the hound has become unsighted. A reasonable and consistent follow of the path of the lure should be shown (neither extreme cutting of the turns, nor running on to the pulley if the lure is past and some way ahead).
SPEED: this can be judged
on long straight runs; a Go-bye (the overtaking of an opponent over a considerable
distance) is a good indication. The running style of some hounds/breeds
can be deceptive, but the way a hound will really "give itself" is important.
AGILITY: the ease with which a hound turns, the way in which obstacles are taken, skill, balance (for example does the hound fall without clear cause ?
ENDURANCE: stamina, the hound must not slacken at any point in the course, its running style must not deteriorate.
The prey in lure coursing will at a given time cease to move, it is worthwhile here to clarify some of the behaviour of the hounds in order to reach a balanced decision on their performance. Whippets usually have a little difficulty in making a clean unassisted kill, it is quite usual that both hounds work on the kill together. With the larger breeds the prey is usually killed outright, assistance from the other hound is not usually necessary. For that reason the evaluation of the other hound, not on the "kill", should not be detrimentally influenced because it has not assisted at the kill. Quite often the other hound will remain by the "kill" ready to help if necessary.
The extra series: this is to prevent the solo coursing of hounds when an odd number of the same breed have been entered. In that case the last hound of that breed yet to course, will be chosen under the colour red and will course in the extra series against the hound from the same breed with the lowest score of the first series, which will course under the colour white. This (white) hound will then have coursed twice, and will then rest at the end of its competition day. The red hound will be drawn for the second series.