Pack coursing

Two years ago the pack coursing became an official lure coursing trial here in Finland. This year marks the first pack coursing championship trial in here, with the crowning of first working class champion in pack coursing! Which means that this dog, Sharraque Asvinn, has competed in five pack coursing events since the ‘birth’ of this trial. Not a small feat, as it means that the dog has been part of a pack getting a certificate in almost – if not – all pack coursing trials held so far!


Finnish Champions in Pack Coursing 2016. photo by Berit Fagerström-Heinonen

First Finnish Champion pack in pack coursing consisted of Rhodesian Ridgebacks TARUJEN YATZYOZRHODE TRY AND STOP METARUJEN XANDRA. Congratulations to the pack and their owners!

Photo totally ripped off from the event’s Facebook page.

Some explanation may be in place about pack coursing.

The basic idea of pack coursing is to simulate ‘typical sighthound hunting event’ as performed in Russia, for example. It is not one dog, which is hunting, but a pack of three to five dogs hunting simultaneously. They try to circle, steer and capture the prey working together.

In the pack coursing trial the pack consists of three dogs, which have to come from the breeds entitled to compete in lure coursing. The dogs themselves are not evaluated as individuals; instead, the pack is evaluated as one. There are no disqualifications: if the dogs attack each other or otherwise ‘ruin’ the trial, the pack’s result is voided.

In pack coursing the dogs are evaluated by three judges and the criteria are:

  • Behavior on leash
  • Speed
  • Co-operation
  • Enthusiasm and following
  • Agility
  • Capture
  • Behavior off leash

The points are biased so that behavior on and off leash is only 5 points maximum, while co-operation is worth 30 points at most. Speed and capture are worth 20 and agility and enthusiasm/following worth 10. Maximum points for one start is 100 per judge, making total for two starts 600.

The biggest responsibility for a good to excellent pack performance is actually on the dog owners: to find the pack which actually works together during the chase. There have been quite a good selection of different sighthound breeds attending to the trials so far, ranging from whippets and medium sized Podenco Portuguese up to deerhounds and Irish Wolfhounds. Lately Saluki’s have been dominant breed in the events, but Rhodesian Ridgebacks have always been good performing breed.

And this time they really took it all. Congratulations once again!

Edit: Forgot about this wonderful video a pack coursing judge Jyrki Siivola made a while back. It explains the whole pack coursing thing in full. There have been some changes to the rules, so it is not quite up to date, but the basics and judging are correct!



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