The information provided here is for those who are interested in learning more about the sport of Greyhound racing. While there are those who believe that the sport is what Greyhounds were born to do, others believe that it should be banned entirely. Within this section, you will find links to various organizations, both for and against. This article is not intended to form an opinion of the sport but rather to help educate.
It is a myth that Greyhound Racing is illegal in Canada, it is simply unlegislated. In Canada, pari-mutal betting is not allowed on anything other than horse racing — you can race Greyhounds, but you cannot bet on them. Greyhound racing is practiced in many venues in Canada as amateur racing rather than as a professional sport. Oval, straight, and track racing as well as NOTRA and LRGA racing is well established in Canada, particularly in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. NOTRA and LRGA race all Sighthound breeds, not just Greyhounds. For additional information, see the Lure Coursing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dgos website. While the sport of Greyhound racing is not legislated in Canada, there are rules in place to protect the welfare of the dogs and all events are run according to the organizations rules. At this time, there is one Greyhound racing track in Alberta: The Calida Greyhound Racing Track.
In the United States:
In the United States, there are approximately 1,500 breeding farms in 43 states that produce the dogs that have made Greyhound racing a very popular spectator sport. There are 46 racing tracks in 15 states with the state of Florida having the highest number of tracks at 14. In the early days of Greyhound racing, farmers used the natural speed and hunting instinct of the Greyhound to control jackrabbits that threatened their crops. During the 1800’s, informal races between dogs became popular and, in 1919, the first circular track opened in Emeryville, California.
The economic impact of Greyhound racing in America is significant at approximately 192 million U.S. dollars in tax revenues for the states where they operate. They employ more than 100,000 people. In addition, breeding farms and racing kennels represent an annual payroll of approximately $37 million U.S. dollars and generate another $67 million U.S. into their local economies through the purchase of goods and services.
There are three organizations responsible for the management of Greyhound racing in America:
- The American Greyhound Track Operators Association (AGTOA) which represents the Greyhound race tracks in the U.S.
- The National Greyhound Association (NGA) which represents Greyhound owners in North America and serves as the official registry for racing Greyhounds.
- The American Greyhound Council (AGC) which is a joint effort of the AGTOA and the NGA and is responsible for managing animal welfare programs which includes farm inspections, industry education and adoption.
A Few Facts:
- 26,464 pups were registered with the NGA in 2000. (Greyhounds must be registered with the NGA to race at any U.S. track.)
- The NGA is officially recognized by the entire Greyhound racing industry as the sole registry for racing Greyhounds on the North American continent.
- No live lures are used in training and/or racing in the United States. In all states, state laws and/or racing rules prohibit the use of live lures.
- Greyhounds begin training at about the age of one year and begin racing at about one and a half years of age. Generally, racing will continue to four years of age; however, some Greyhounds race beyond their fifth birthdays and a select few past their sixth.
- At retirement, approximately 90 percent of registered Greyhounds are adopted or returned to the farm as pets or for breeding purposes. Those that are deemed unsuitable for adoption or breeding are euthanized under American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines. (According to the AGC)
- Dog racing is illegal in 34 states but continues in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. States that have banned live dog racing may still permit off-track or satellite wagering and the breeding of racing dogs.
- American Greyhound Council
- Greyhound Racing Association of America (GRA)
- Greyhound Racing: Death in the Fast Lane
In the United Kingdom:
There are 31 racecourses operating under the National Greyhound Racing Club umbrella and more than 9,000 Greyhounds registered annually with the BGRB.
There are a total of 17 racing tracks licensed under the Irish Greyhound Board of which nine are owned and controlled by the Board. The remainder are owned and operated by private enterprise and there are an additional three privately owned in Northern Ireland.
- The British Greyhound Racing Board — The representative body for Greyhound racing in the United Kingdom. All rule changes, licence and registration issues must be discussed with the Board. The Board also has overall responsibility for the Retired Greyhound Trust.
- The Irish Greyhound Board — The organisation responsible for the regulation and development of the Greyhound racing industry in Ireland.
- The British Greyhound Racing Fund — The official funding body for the NGRC licensed Greyhound racing in Britain covering all aspects of integrity, welfare and development of the sport.
A Few Facts:
- In the UK, tote betting alone amounts to more than £80 million.
In Other Countries Worldwide:
Links of Interest:
Here you will find links to various articles and organizations who either support or are opposed to the sport of Greyhound racing. Several organizations worldwide have been founded with the main goal being to raise awareness of Greyhound Racing and ultimately have the sport banned. Some of these are listed here.
- Greyhound Racing — From the Humane Society of the United States
- American-European Greyhound Alliance (Facebook group) — Dedicated solely to the welfare of greyhounds in the United States and abroad. The American-European Greyhound Alliance, Inc. accomplishes its mission through active and on-going monitoring of existing and proposed racing venues; liaising with racing industry and adoption groups; providing an effective source of collection and dissemination of accurate information; education of the public as to the suitability of the greyhound as an adopted companion animal.
- Greyhound Racing Association of America — Founded to promote, protect and enhance the sport of Greyhound racing and the Greyhound industry.
- Racing Animals — League Against Cruel Sports
As a final note — If you are interested in adopting a retired racing Greyhound, there are several organizations in Canada and around the world who are dedicated to finding loving retirement homes for these dogs. Please see the Greyhound Rescue Organizations section for a listing and visit the Greyhound breed pages for additional information about this wonderful breed.