I have been very crossed about the recent rule change FCI approved for lure-coursing, that I haven’t been able to write anything about it. Some good points have been made (like approving the judging guidelines and the breed specific guidelines) but at the same time there have been changes which void the good ones.
FCI approved CdL changes, which included the change of one judging category to another. Namely INTELLIGENCE was changed to FOLLOWING. Under the new rule the dog which chases directly towards the lure all the time gets most points. Earlier it was possible to take into account the breed specific chasing pattern, like one chasing and the other trying to block the prey from escaping into a safe part of the field. Like some breeds do.
This makes the earlier approved addendum of breed specific judging guidelines obsolete! Now all the judge has to see is whether the dog is running directly towards the lure all the time, not taking into account any changes in the terrain or the course. Judging is more like judging sighthound racing: the one that runs fastest and all the time towards the lure is the winner.
Does this really measure the dog’s ability to hunt? My opinion is that it does so even less than with the earlier rules. It devalues the intelligence, the capability to take into account terrain, foothold and direction of the lure into account while chasing. It just brings the evaluation closer to mechanic of giving 17 points for all areas to a dog chasing the lure, devaluing the expertise of the judge. I know, there are currently a lot of judges guilty of that kind of judging, but is that judging the dog or just giving nice points to a friends dog?
We should remember the purpose of lure-coursing to begin with. Any judge not using the point scale to the max is guilty of not appreciating this purpose and is actually telling that they cannot evaluate individual dogs or their individual traits properly.
The purpose is to measure the capabilities of the participating sighthounds to hunt in their breed specific way in an artificial coursing track. Not to see which dog runs the track fastest. Racing is for that purpose.