Lure Coursing Competition

Only a few years ago, lure coursing was the exclusive domain of sight hounds. But the sport has recently opened its doors to all breeds. If your Irish terrier likes to run and has even a little prey drive, lure coursing can be a fun and rewarding event for both you and your dog.

At least two kinds of lure coursing events are open to all breeds. The AKC recently introduced the Coursing Ability Test performance event, where the dog chases a lure around a 600 yard loop course. If the dog chases the lure with enthusiasm and completes the course within two minutes, it is judged to have completed a qualifying run. Three qualifying runs earn an AKC Coursing Ability (CA) title. Ten completions gets an Advanced (CAA) title, and 25 completions gets an Excellent title (CAX). See the AKC coursing ability test web site for more information.

Irish Terrier in Coursing Ability Test
Eight-year-old Mocha chases the lure with enthusiasm at a Coursing Ability Test in Hollister, California
September 29, 2012.
Photo by Maderich

Irish Terrier in Coursing Ability Test
Daragan shows pure joy when she finally "catches" the lure at a Coursing Ability Test in Hollister, California
September 29, 2012.
Photo by Maderich


Sprint racing is another popular lure coursing event. These events are put on by non-AKC entities. Two organizations that hold sprint racing events near us (in NorthernCalifornia) are the All Breed Lure Sports Association (ABLSA) and the Racing and Coursing Enthusiasts (RACE). Up to four dogs of the same breed or of similar size pursue a lure down a 200 yard straight-line course. The dogs wear colored jackets ("blankets") to make it easier for the course judges to identify the dogs, and muzzles to prevent them from "killing" the lure when they catch it at the end of the run. To make a qualifying run, the dogs must concentrate only on the lure and not interfere with each other. Sideline and finish line judges watch to ensure each dog has made a clean run and to record the order in which the dogs cross the finish line. A complex set of rules based on the dog's placement and the number of dogs in the race determines the number of points each dog is awarded after the race. Points add up to earn "Sprint Racer" titles (SR1, SR2, etc.). See the ABLSA and RACE web sites for more information.

Note: ABLSA is no longer active. RACE is still active and puts on several events a year.

Irish Terriers in Sprint Race
Druid (Red), Mocha (Blue), and Ayfa (White) have their eyes on the lure at an ABLSA event in Livermore, California.
May 9, 2010.
Photo by Maderich.

Irish Terrier in Sprint Race
Druid shows complete concentration on the lure as he approaches the finish line at an ABLSA event in Sloughhouse, California.
May 3, 2011.
Photo by Maderich.

Irish Terrier in Sprint Race
False Start! Ayfa breaks loose and captures the lure before the start signal at an ABLSA event in Sloughhouse, California.
Irish terriers exhibit intense interest in catching the lure.
September 9, 2010.
Photo by Maderich.


Three generations of our Irish terriers have competed in lure coursing events. Mocha has a CAX title, Ayfa and Daragan have earned CAA titles, and Druid earned his SR2 along with the reputation of being "the fastest Irish terrier in Northern California". When on the course, they run with complete joy and abandon. And while waiting for their next turn to come up, they make it very clear that they would rather be chasing than watching.

Coursing Ability Test
Done for the day. We have our ribbons, it's time to go home. Mocha objects! The lure is still running! Dara and Ayfa agree.
Coursing Ability Test in Hollister, California. December 30, 2012.


Adapted from an article published in the May 2013 Irish Terrier Club of America newsletter.


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