The ‘Sport of Queens’, as it has been named by Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century, after the first greyhound arrived over 3.500 years ago on the British Island. She was the first who established the initial rules of greyhound coursing and laid out the foundations for today’s racing sport. With over 26 licensed greyhound stadiums in Britain and an estimated wager of £ 2.5 bn, greyhound coursing has become one of the most attended spectator sports besides horse racing and other popular betting sports. The popularity and success can be traced back to the American businessman Owen Patrick Smith, who has originally introduced greyhound coursing in Britain. Later on, he and his business partners managed to fruitfully promote greyhound coursing, which eventually led to the huge success in the following years. Among his business partners were Charles Munn, the politician Brigardier –General Alfred Critchley and Sir William Gentle. Upon the great success, they founded the ‘Greyhound Racing Association’. This in turn led to the establishment of the first greyhound racing stadium in the Gorten area of Manchester in 1926, known as Belle Vue Stadium. On 24th July 1926 an estimate of 1700 people rushed into the new stadium to view the first official greyhound race. Since then, greyhound coursing has picked up greatly and with it the need for a governing authority, which was thereupon established as the National Greyhound Racing Club in 1928, setting all necessary rules for greyhound coursing. As the sport continued to flourish, the British Greyhound Racing Board has taken over all functions in 2009 in order to continuously invest and support the sport.
Greyhound pups weigh from three quarters to 1 8/4 pounds at birth. Within a year, they can put on up to 75 pounds. At the age of three months, greyhound pups are given an identification tattoo and are registered with the National Greyhound Association in Abilene, Kansas. Upon registration the owner has to submit three name suggestions which cannot be longer than 16 characters. Once greyhound pups have reached their first year, they begin their training on small schooling tracks until their abilities improve. From the training track, they are upgraded to a starting box, longer racing distances, and larger fields of competition. During the training period, a greyhound develops a particular running style,which once established may not change any more during its entire racing career.
After the training period, the greyhound is sent to a ‘racing kennel’ to start off his racing career.