Lure Coursing in Canada
What is lure coursing?
Lure coursing simulates a rabbit (the lure) in flight from predators (the hounds) who chase after it. Since we can't use live rabbits, they've been replaced by white plastic bags which are moved through the field by means of a special string on the ground with pulleys controlling the direction. The lure zips through the field, and veers off in various directions, just like a rabbit would. That's why we tell our hounds to go "get the bunny!"
The dogs are coursed in groups of three, in a random draw from the entries.
Each dog wears a racing jacket without numbers on them to keep them anonymous but easy for the judge to score them. The jackets are always bright yellow, bright pink and bright blue, and the colour worn also determines the dogs starting position.
The dogs are coursed in a preliminary round in the morning and then again in the afternoon with the lure moving in the opposite direction. Two judges who are positioned for optimum view, score each dog to determine the first through fourth placing dogs as well as the next best qualifying in each breed.
That's lure coursing. Clubs can then run the best of each breed against each other to determine the Best in Field, but this doesn't always occur, especially with smaller dogs running against larger hounds.
Who is eligible?
All dogs must be registered or listed with the Canadian Kennel Club, and spayed or neutered dogs are eligible. Dogs must be at least one year of age to be entered in a trial and it is mandatory that they be proven clean runners, having successfully been tested with another dog (certified).
Bitches in heat and lame dogs are not allowed to run on that day.
How are they scored?
The dogs are evaluated on Enthusiasm, Follow, Speed, Agility, and Endurance on the basis of a perfect score being 100. Any penalties which the handler may have incurred through pre-slips, undue course delays, etc. are deducted from the final score.
The judges also have the authority to disqualify, dismiss or excuse your dog for interfering, showing aggression, playing or coursing another dog rather than the lure. A disqualification prohibits your dog from competing in any trials unless he has been successfully re-tested under the Canadian Kennel Club rules. Two dismissals in a calendar year is the equivalent of a disqualification and the same procedure applies. However, if your dog is excused, he is only ineligible from competing at that particular trial.
Here are the complete rules & regulations from the Canadian Kennel Club:
CKC Lure Coursing Rules & Regulations (pdf) and Amendments (pdf)
The Canadian Sighthound Field Association has a very good and thorough description of lure coursing and how a trial is run. The information presented above is condensed from the CSFA website.