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    Non-Commercial Greyhound Racing in European Countries
Non-Commercial Greyhound Racing in European Countries

Non-Commercial Greyhound Racing in European Countries

Greyhound racing is a prominent aspect of the gambling industry in countries like Great Britain, Ireland, and Australia, where both racing and gambling are legally sanctioned. These countries have regulatory authorities overseeing the industry, constructing large sports complexes, accepting bets on races year-round, and conducting extensive advertising campaigns. Professionals such as nursery workers, hippodrome staff, and trainers contribute to the efficient functioning of this industry.

While similar elements can be observed in amateur racing, its share in the gambling business is relatively small compared to the UK, where greyhound racing betting ranks third after football and horse racing in terms of volume.

Research by the greyhound charity GREY2K USA Worldwide in 2013 compiled a register of countries around the world conducting amateur greyhound racing. In European countries, excluding Great Britain and Ireland, racing has not yet reached the commercial stage, but enthusiasts continue to organise races, place bets with friends, celebrate victories, and relish their favourite pastime.


Grounds of the Tyrolean Greyhound Club, photo from the website of the Austrian Greyhound Club ÖKWZR

The Austrian Greyhound Club (ÖKWZR) organises competitions across the country, with clubs in Vienna, Austria, and Tyrol. The clubs adhere to the Rules of the International Federation of Canine Breeding and the Rules of the Austrian Kennel Club, with their own Code of Honour and Charter. Various dog breeds can participate in the races, divided by breed. Training takes place on weekends throughout the year, and the country has three greyhound breeding kennels. Betting on racing is not accepted.


The Belgian Greyhound Racing Federation conducts races in the Netherlands, primarily at Oaklane Greyhound Racecourse from March to November. Two societies, KVW Beringen and the Belgian National Greyhound Racing Club, oversee greyhound racing in Belgium. The trails are grass-covered, and owners bring their greyhounds to the racetrack on race day. Belgium has eight greyhound breeding kennels, and betting on greyhound racing is not accepted.


Greyhound racing in the Netherlands is regulated by the Greyhound Racing Commission. The racing season runs from March to November, featuring various dog breeds with races separated accordingly. Competitions also take place at the Ouklein track in Geldrop, where the Belgian Racing Federation hosts events, bringing greyhounds from Hungary and Ireland. There are 23 greyhound breeding kennels in the country, and the Greyhound Racing Commission follows Racing Rules, conditions for racing in bad weather, and an anti-doping policy. Betting on greyhound racing is not accepted.

Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, several greyhound clubs and five racecourses contribute to the greyhound racing scene. The Czech Greyhound Racing Federation (CGRF) organises tournaments on two sand tracks - Praskačka greyhound track and Greyhound Park Motol. Amateur clubs use grass-covered tracks for their activities. The Czech Racing Federation (CDF), established in 2000, organises greyhound and whippet racing, including events in Isaszeg, Hungary. The CDF, part of the Continental Greyhound Racing Confederation (CGRC), enables international participation in prestigious races. The Czech Republic hosts nine racing dog kennels, and official greyhound race betting is not accepted.


Racing track in Isašeg Park, photo from the official website of the Czech Horse Racing Federation

Hungary boasts three greyhound racing tracks: Alsonemedi Greyhound Park, Isasheg, and Rabapatona racetracks. Races have taken place at Kincsem Park in Budapest since 2015, featuring the Hungarian Greyhound Derby and other competitions. Adhering to the Rules of the International Canine Federation and the Hungarian Kennel Club, the industry does not allow betting on greyhound racing.


As a member of the CGRC, Denmark follows the organisation's racing rules. Danish Greyhounds (DHV) regulates greyhound racing clubs in Denmark, ensuring compliance with licensing requirements and anti-doping policies. The country hosts two racing tracks, Kalerupbanen in Kallerup and the Midtjusk greyhound racing stadium in Central Jutland, Randers. Betting on greyhound racing is legally permitted under gambling law in Denmark.


Greyhound racing commenced in Finland in 1951 and is now regulated by the Greyhound Racing Association (GRL). The GRL, comprising four clubs, establishes rules and requirements for racing participation, enforces an anti-doping policy, and ensures strict adherence to veterinary controls. Races typically occur in the summer and autumn, with 14 greyhound breeding kennels in the country. Finland allows betting on greyhound races, with instructions available on the Finnish Greyhound Derby page.


The French Greyhound Racing Federation, sanctioned by the government and approved by the Ministry of Agriculture in 1978, oversees greyhound racing in France. The Federation has rules regarding track sizes, licenses, and anti-doping policies. With at least 18 tracks hosting 11 clubs, most events involve whippet racing. The country has 14 greyhound breeding kennels, and legal betting on greyhound racing is permitted.


Germany boasts approximately 42 greyhound clubs, all members of the nation's oldest Greyhound Breeding and Racing Association. The organization has its rule set while also adhering to the Racing Rules of the German Kennel Club and the International Kennel Federation for greyhound racing. Another organizing body, the German Greyhound Club, follows CGRC Rules during competitions. Races occur multiple times a year, and greyhounds, not kept at racetracks, are brought in just before races. There are around 19 nurseries in the country, and bets on greyhound racing are not accepted.


In Italy, three competition circuits - Palladio, GPL (Gruppo Padano Levrieristi), and Farneta - contribute to greyhound racing. In addition to official races, frequent training sessions are held on the tracks. However, betting on greyhound racing is not accepted.


Portugal boasts at least six greyhound racing tracks, with competitions held from February to November, excluding July and August due to heat. There are 23 greyhound breeding kennels in the country, but bets on greyhound racing are not accepted.


Since 1998, the Slovak Greyhound Racing Union has overseen greyhound races in Slovakia. The races, held in the village of Ivanka pri Nitra, include different breeds of dogs, each participating in separate races. Training sessions also occur on the same track. The union follows Fédération Cynologique Internationale rules, and betting on greyhound racing is not accepted in Slovakia.


Greyhound racing in Spain operates under the Spanish Greyhound Federation, established in 1939. Six regional federations oversee the sport, with races taking place on straight tracks. The federation's rules cover greyhound registration, racing conditions, and anti-doping policies. Bets are not accepted on greyhound racing in Spain.


Sweden's first greyhound racing club opened in Stockholm in 1951. The Swedish Dog Sports Federation (SCHF) manages races on 11 tracks. SCHF adheres to strict racing rules, licensing, registration, and veterinary control requirements, being a member of the CGRC. With over 30 kennels for breeding greyhounds and whippets, licensed betting on greyhound racing is legal in Sweden.


Switzerland hosts five societies and three greyhound racing clubs, with races occurring from March to November. Different dog breeds participate, adhering to a set of rules that includes licensing requirements and anti-doping policies. The societies also follow the rules of the International Canine Federation. While greyhound racing seems rare in Switzerland, the specifics on betting acceptance are not mentioned.

General Observations

In many countries, the popularity of greyhound racing has dwindled, with fewer competitions and track closures. The past years' coronavirus epidemic has further impacted the industry. Animal protection societies worldwide criticize the industry for using live animals, often resulting in injuries to greyhounds and their subsequent mistreatment. Proper regulation, humane treatment of animals, and adherence to formal rules could contribute to the positive perception of dog racing worldwide.


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