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    International Greyhound Racing Landscape
International Greyhound Racing Landscape

International Greyhound Racing Landscape

Greyhound competitions in speed and endurance have long captured the interest of gambling enthusiasts. This tradition originated during hunts when a swift greyhound would enhance the owner's prestige, and their purebred offspring could command high prices. However, during the early days of hunting, the competition was not yet considered a genuine sporting activity.

The organised sport of greyhound racing made its debut in 1876 in Hendon, a northern suburb of London. This marked the birth of the greyhound racing industry, and the beginning of the 20th century witnessed its significant development.

In 1920, California saw the construction of the first circular track with stands for spectators, initiating greyhound racing with a mechanical hare. The concept of an oval track and an artificial hare reached the UK in 1926. This new form of entertainment quickly gained popular support, leading to the emergence of betting practices. Bookmakers set up shop on the highways, and a betting system was established.


Great Britain currently boasts 21 licensed and 1 independent stadium. Licensed racing is overseen by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), with approximately 800 trainers, 4,000 kennel staff, and numerous racecourse employees involved. About 15,000 greyhound owners enter their dogs into competitions each year. Independent racing is regulated by local authorities, and the total prize fund for competitions reaches £15,737,122.


In Ireland, racing has been managed by "Greyhound Racing Ireland" since 1958. This organization regulates betting operations, licenses stadiums and trackside bookmakers, handles advertising, and manages the prize fund. Ireland has 17 stadia, with nine operated by Greyhound Racing Ireland and the remaining six privately owned. The Irish Greyhound Derby, held at Shelbourne Park, is a premier competition alongside the English Greyhound Derby, offering a prize fund of €300,000, with €125,000 going to the winner.


Australia's official racing history began in 1927 at Epping Racecourse in New South Wales. Currently, the country has an extensive racing geography, with organizations governing greyhound racing in each of its six states and territories. Notable entities include Greyhound Racing New South Wales (GRNSW), operating 27 active tracks, and Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV), operating 13 tracks. Australia's main race is the Melbourne Cup, boasting a significant prize fund. There is also an active movement in the country to adopt retired greyhounds, highlighting their sensitivity and capacity to become cherished companions when treated with care.


The origins of greyhound racing in New Zealand trace back to 1868 when hares were introduced as hunting targets. The rapid multiplication of hares posed a significant challenge for local farmers, leading to the importation of greyhounds from Great Britain to aid in pest control. Official dog racing commenced in 1948 at Addington Park. New Zealand currently boasts 10 greyhound racing clubs, breeding around 700 greyhounds annually, some of which are imported. The governance of clubs and racecourses falls under the purview of "Greyhound Racing New Zealand" (GRNZ).


In the 1920s, the United States pioneered oval-track greyhound racing. Florida was the first state to embrace racing on a large scale, followed by Massachusetts, Oregon, and Arizona. By the 1970s, greyhound racing ranked sixth in popularity among sports, with competitions spanning 19 states, each managing its tracks. However, recent years have seen a decline in the sport's popularity. The burgeoning gambling industry has overshadowed racing, leading to dwindling betting revenues, track closures, and opposition from animal protection societies advocating against cruelty to dogs. Presently, only two greyhound tracks operate in the State of West Virginia, while competitions in seven other states are neither prohibited nor conducted.


Mexico has a solitary active greyhound racing track, the Caliente Racetrack in Tijuana. Functioning as a resort and casino, it serves as a recreational and entertainment hub for the public.

In various countries across Europe, Asia, and South America, amateur greyhound racing events take place, albeit on a smaller scale. However, the sport has faced increasing criticism in recent times, with documented instances of cruelty to animals leading to the closure of some tracks.

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