Greyhound Racing

Greyhound racing is popular all over the world. Australia, Ireland, United Kingdom, New Zealand and the United States have many greyhound racing tracks. Greyhound racing is also popular in Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Macau (China), Mexico, South Africa, Pakistan and Vietnam.

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Greyhound Racing History

The origin of the greyhound is deeply rooted in ancient history. Murals and paintings of dogs strikingly similar to today's greyhound existed over 4,000 years ago. From the beginning, the greyhound was held in high regard, as evidenced by pictures etched on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs. Pharaohs rated them first among all animals, both as pets and hunters.

The Arabs so admired the physical attributes and speed of the greyhound that it was the only dog permitted to share their tents and ride atop their camels. In early Arabian culture, the birth of a greyhound ranked second only in importance to the birth of a son. In Persia, Rome and Greece, the greyhound enjoyed similar stature and is the only canine mentioned in Holy Scripture (Proverbs 30:29-31).

It is documented that the greyhound arrived in England over 3,500 years ago. Their link with nobility was established in 1014 when King Canute enacted the Forest Laws, which stated that only noblemen could own and hunt with greyhounds. The Forest Laws were abolished in the 1500s by Queen Elizabeth I, who later initiated the first formal rules of greyhound coursing (the pursuit of hares), thus officially inaugurating the "Sport of Queens".

In the late 1800s, the greyhound was imported to America to help Midwestern farmers control the jackrabbit, a noted crop destroyer. With the advent of the greyhound in America, coursing events soon followed.

Greyhound track racing, as we know it today, began with Owen Patrick Smith's invention of a mechanical lure around 1912, which made racing around a circular track possible. The first circular track opened in 1919 in Emeryville, California. Although this track was not very successful, it paved the way for the development of the greyhound racing industry in America.

History has proven that the greyhound is an animal born to run. They were originally bred as hunting dogs because of their speed. To run is the fulfillment of a greyhound's basic instinct. Greyhounds by nature are gentle and have always had a strong relationship with humans. The breeding and training of greyhounds is an extension of the human/animal relationship established thousands of years ago.