Greyhound racing

Greyhound racing is the sport of racing greyhounds. In many countries, greyhound racing is chiefly a hobby pursuit for greyhound owners and their dogs. In a handful of countries greyhound racing is however carried out on a larger scale and involves professional breeders, trainers, kennels, etcetera. The chief examples of such countries are the UK, Ireland, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, China and Mexico. In these nations, greyhound racing is a part of the gambling business, similar to horse racing. Betting on greyhound racing is a highly popular pursuit among many punters in these countries.

History of greyhound racing

Modern greyhound racing is derived from coursing. During coursing, game (e.g rabbits, hare or deer) are chased by sighthounds, dogs that catch their prey by speed and run by sight instead of scent. Coursing was once a very common hunting technique in many different cultures. Modern greyhound racing do not use real game; a lure is used instead. The lure is usually an artificial hare or rabbit.

The first recorded attempt at straight-track greyhound racing dates back to 1876, when greyhounds were raced next to the Welsh Harp reservoir in Hendon near the British capital. In 1912 the mechanical hare was invented by Owen Patrick Smith who wanted to stop the killing of jack rabbits and make greyhound racing more similar to horse racing.

The certificates system linked to early greyhound racing in the United States eventually turned into parimutuel betting in the 1920s. In 1926, greyhound racing was reintroduced to the United Kingdom by Brigadier-General Critchley from Canada and  Charles Munn and Major Lyne-Dixon from the United States. Critchley and Munn founded the Greyhound Racing Association as a British counterpart to the American International Greyhound Association (In G.R.A.). The first meeting was held at Belle Vue Stadium in Manchester. By late 1927, there were forty operating tracks for greyhound racing in the UK.

In the UK, greyhound racing became especially popular among working-class men who would visit the evening races once the workday was over. Betting was an integral part of UK greyhound racing from the very start, with bookmakers present on-course to take bets. In 1930, the totalisator was introduced.
In the years following the end of World War II, greyhound racing became more popular than ever in the UK – just like many other types of sports and betting activities. The British loved their race tracks and in 1946 greyhound racing attracted 34 million spectators. 

Adopt a greyhound

When a greyhound is no longer used for greyhound racing, it has traditionally been euthanized or used for breeding. A greyhound's career will normally end when the dog is anything from two to six years of age, while the expected lifespan for greyhound is 10-14 years. Because of this discrepancy, there are today plenty of adoption and rescue groups that obtain retired greyhounds and place them in families wanting a pet dog. Still, only about 25% of the retired greyhounds in the UK finds a new home. In the United States, about 90% of greyhounds registered with the National Greyhound Associated are re-homed as pets or used for breeding after retirement.

If you wish to adopt a retired greyhound, you can contact one of the following organizations:
Greyhound Pets of America (greyhoundpets.org)
British Greyhounds Retired Database (bgrd.co.uk)
Greyhound Rescue West of England (grwe.com)
Give A Greyhound A Home (gagah.co.uk)
The Retired Greyhound Trust (retiredgreyhounds.co.uk )
Adopt-a-Greyhound (adopt-a-greyhound.org) international referral system for many countries

Many racetracks have also established their own adoption programs for greyhounds.