A medieval illustration of a sighthound coursing a hare

Introduction to Sight Hounds: HDC Episode #14

Discover the history of the fastest canine athletes from Greyhounds to Salukis to the Indian Ghost Dog

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In this episode, we look at the group of hounds known as sight hounds or gaze hounds. These dogs are known for using their eyesight to find and track prey, but more importantly, these dogs use their incredible speed to pursue and overtake their quarry. Having been developed almost exclusively for speed, sight hounds even have larger hearts and different blood chemistry from other breeds of dogs.

Sight hounds are commonly thought of as originating from the desert regions of the Middle East and the Arabian peninsula, but in fact, sight hounds were developed in many different regions around the world. What these places have in common are large, open spaces where prey animals can be seen from great distances. Commonly known breeds include the Greyhound, the Saluki, the Afghan Hound, the Irish Wolfhound, the Scottish Deerhound, the Whippet, and many, many more.

Hare coursing was—and in some places, continues to be—a popular means of competing with sight hounds. Dogs are released to chase a hare; while the hare is not commonly caught, it provides a conclusive method of determining which dogs are the fastest and most agile. Lure coursing is a modern day replica of this event whereby a “lure” (sometimes even just a plastic bag) is pulled at high speed via a cord and pulleys to mimic fleeing prey.

Tune in to learn more about the common and obscure breeds of sight hounds as well as how they are hunted and competed today. In the next episode, we’ll get into more detail about modern hunting methods using sight hounds developed for more versatile uses.

As always, we thank you for listening and hope you’ll continue to reach out with your comments, questions, and ideas. We can be reached at HDC@northwoodscollective.com.

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Hunting Dog Confidential is presented by Eukanuba Premium Performance Dog Food and supported by Dakota 283.

Last modified: October 30, 2020

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