The concept of greyhound racing is as simple as it is brilliant: a group of greyhounds is released from 'traps' onto a racetrack, chasing a 'lure' an artificial hare mounted on a rail running along the greyhound track and moving rapidly towards the finish line. Motivated by the thrill of the hunt which greyhounds instinctively love, the racing dogs deliver some of the fastest and most relentless racing experiences possible.
Greyhound racing is one of the most popular spectator sports of today, particularly in the United Kingdom, the United States, Ireland and Australia; it also is an integral part of the gambling industry. Betting on greyhound races is a much-loved past time, although the money involved does not quite touch the sums spent on horse betting. Still, according to the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, about £2.5 billion are bet on UK greyhound races annually, and live greyhound racing attracts up to 3 million spectators every year.
As greyhound races are fast and furious events - the distance can vary from 415 metres to 800 metres - a day at the greyhound race track is a truly action packed affair. Races start every ten to fifteen minutes, making a day of watching and betting on greyhound races an entertaining and breathtaking spectacle.
A greyhound race is limited to six dogs. The greyhounds were colour-coded vests, which determine the trap from which they will start as well as making it easy to follow your selection in the flurry of the race. The colour code for the vests is very much standardised:
- Trap 1 = Red vest with a white 1
- Trap 2 = Blue vest with a white 2
- Trap 3 = White vest with a black 3
- Trap 4 = Black vest with a white 4
- Trap 5 = Yellow vest with a black 5
- Trap 6 = Black and white striped vest with a red 6
Greyhound racing has gone through phases of popularity but is currently one of the best-attended and most bet on racing sports in the world. To learn more about the history of greyhound racing and greyhound race betting, check out our dedicated pages on these topics.