Organized greyhound racing originated in England and this is also the country where the greyhound dog breed was developed. Greyhound racing takes place on a special racecourse and an artificial hare is used to trigger the dog´s hunting instinct.
From England, greyhound racing spread to other parts of the world. Today, greyhound racing is especially popular on the British Isles and in certain former British colonies, including USA, Australia and New Zealand. In these locations, greyhound racing is strongly associated with betting and a lot of people are involved in the greyhound industry in a professional capacity. Greyhound racing exists in other parts of the world as well, but tend to be limited to smaller events organized by enthusiasts.
The modern English greyhound was developed from fast and agile sighthounds used for hunting. As firearms became more common among hunters in England, using sighthounds for hunting decreased, but sighthounds were still used for lure coursing and similar events. Eventually, organized dog racing on special racecourses developed and the artificial hare was invented.
The oldest known rules for dog racing in England are from the 16th century, but organized greyhound racing with an artificial hare didn´t become widely popular in England until the 1920s. One early example of an organized dog race for sighthounds in England is the one that took place in Swaffham in 1776. In 1876, a greyhound race on a straight track was held in Hendon, next to the Brent Reservoir.
Today, the standard racetrack for greyhound racing is oval and an artificial hare is always utilized. The first artificial hare for dog racing was created by Owen Patrick Smith in 1912, and seven years later he opened the world´s first professional dog-racing track with an artificial hare. This racetrack was located in Emeryville, California, USA. Emeryville was a popular leisure destination and the Oakland Trotting Park had already been established here for horse racing. Emeryville also had plenty of gambling dens, so Smith knew that there were lots of punters around who might be interested in betting on dog races.
I England, professional dog racing tracks with an artificial hare didn´t become a thing until the second half of the 1920s. Interestingly, two of the main driving forces came from abroad: Charles Munn from the United States and Alfred Critchley from Canada. Together, they formed the Greyhound Racing Association and started arranging races in Manchester, England.
By the end of 1927, 40 dog racing tracks were active throughout Great Britain.
Betting on dog races
Below, we have gathered some basic information and a few tips that can come in handy if you want to get into greyhound race betting.
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In most countries, a maximum of eight dogs are allowed to participate in a race. If you are used to horse racing, you are probably used to having a significantly larger amount of participants to take into account when trying to predict the race.
Having eight or even fewer participants in a race increases your statistical chance of betting on the winner, compared to races with more participants. It will of course simultaneously increase every other punter´s statistical chance of betting on the winner too. With totalisator-betting, this means that winner prize pots tend to be shared among a large number of individuals.
Since there are only eight possible winners in a race with eight participants, many greyhound punters do more complex bets than simply betting on the winner.
Just as for racehorses, a lot of data is released for greyhounds that participate in organized dog races. One piece of data that many punters pay special attention to is weight fluctuations. Has the dog lost weight or gained weight recently? It can have a major impact on the result.
Are some boxes better than others?
If we look at this from a statistical perspective, we can see than Box 1 and Box 2 are more likely to produce winners. Of course, this doesn´t say much about what will happen in an individual race.
Box 8 has also produced a statistically significant among of winners but is considered ”trickier” than Box 1 and Box 2 – especially at certain race tracks.
When trying to predict the outcome of a race, each dog´s individual preferences should be taken into account. Some dogs have a tendency to perform better when they start from one of the outside boxes, while others prefer inside boxes. It is unusual for a greyhound to not have any preference.
What are Scouters?
Greyhounds that perform better when starting in an outside box are known as ”Scouters”.
What are railers?
Greyhounds that perform better when starting in an inside box are known as ”railers”.
What is ”downgrade and dangerous”?
When punters talk about a certain dog being ”downgrade and dangerous”, they mean that the dog is starting in a race below the level on which this dog had its most recent success. When a dog has just been moved to a lower level, it can be more difficult to predict how it will perform in a race.
Here are some examples of the most famous greyhounds.
- Mick the Miller – One of the first superstars of greyhound racing, he won 51 of his 68 races in the late 1920s and early 1930s, including two Greyhound Derbies.
- Ballyregan Bob – This greyhound held the world record for consecutive wins (32) in the 1980s.
- Patricia’s Hope – A highly celebrated greyhound from the 1970s, known for winning the Greyhound Derby twice.
- Spanish Battleship – An Irish greyhound, he’s one of the only dogs to have won the Irish Greyhound Derby three times (1953, 1954, and 1955).
- Master McGrath – An Irish greyhound who won the Waterloo Cup three times in the 19th century.
- Scurlogue Champ – Known for his extraordinary stamina, he was a fan favorite in the 1980s.
- Westmead Hawk – Winner of the English Greyhound Derby in 2005 and 2006.
- Toms The Best – Irish Greyhound Derby winner in 1997.
- Rapid Ranger – This dog won the English Greyhound Derby in 2000 and 2001.
- Magical Bale – An Irish greyhound known for his impressive win in the 2019 English Greyhound Derby.
- Razor Ashmore – A leading greyhound in the late 1980s, known for his strength and determination.
- Yellow Printer – He was known for winning various prestigious races in the 1990s.
- Farloe Melody – An Irish champion from the mid-1990s.
- Linda’s Champion – One of the top Irish greyhounds in the late 1990s.
- Ballymac Eske – Known for his wins in 2013 including the Ladbrokes Golden Jacket.
- Frightful Flash – A popular greyhound in the 1950s, he had a long and successful career.
- Mile Bush Pride – An Irish legend from the 1960s.
- Monalee Champion – This greyhound had an impressive record during his racing career in the 1990s.
- Its A Penske – A relatively contemporary racer, notable for multiple race wins.
- Paradise Madison – Known for his sprinting prowess and track record-breaking performances in Ireland.
- Clonbrien Hero – Made headlines for both his victories and a controversial doping scandal.
- Braveheart Bobby – Winner of the 2018 Irish Greyhound Laurels.
- Killishin Masai – A prominent racer in the UK, famous during the early 2000s.
- Lenson Bocko – Winner of the 2019 Irish Greyhound Derby.
- Priceless Blake – Known for his remarkable performance in the 2019 English Greyhound Derby.