Greyhound racing is especially popular in the Great Britain and in former parts of the British Empire, such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. Other examples of places where a lot of greyhound races take place are Spain, Mexico, China and Macau.
If you live outside any of these regions, there is no need to despair, because the internet has made greyhound racing accessible around the globe. Not only can you place your wagers online, there are also plenty of gambling sites that will live stream major races, making it possible for you to watch races in your computer as they take place. Bet365 will for instance live stream greyhound races from ten different racetracks in the United Kingdom, including famous race courses such as Wimbledon, Hall Green and Belle Vue.
Fixed odds are not commonly offered for greyhound racing. Just as for horse racing, parimutuel betting (toto) dominates the field.
The history of greyhound racing
The greyhounds is a sighthound originally used for coursing game. Sighthounds locate prey using their eyes rather than their nose or ears. In Europe, greyhounds were chiefly used to hunt deer and (in competitions) hares.
Today, greyhound racing is much more common than coursing, and coursing is even illegal in many parts of the world. Since the greyhound was bred to quickly track down and catch prey, greyhound races tend to be short and fast races rather than contests that favor endurance. This makes greyhound racing a popular spectator sport that is also ideal for people who like to bet on events that are resolved quickly.
The first organized straight greyhound race took place on September 11, near Welsh Harp in Hendon, in the year of 1876. (Hendon is a London suburb.) Six dogs participated in the race, chasing an artificial hare riding.
Another important milestone in the history of greyhound racing occurred on July 24, 1936, when seven greyhounds raced an oval circuit at Belle Vue Stadium in front of 1,700 spectators. An electrical artificial hare was used, and this is considered the first modern greyhound race in the United Kingdom. The mechanical hare had been invented by Owen Patrick in 1912, and today real hares are never used in greyhound racing.
Even though hunting with sighthounds was a hobby strongly associated with the British upper classes, the early greyhound races found their most adherent fans among working class men who would gather at the racetracks when the work day was over.
Greyhound racing in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, greyhound race competitions are divided into various categories. Below you will find a list of some of the most popular ones.
- Greyhound Derby
A Greyhound Derby consists of six rounds and the prize money must be at least £50,000. There are currently two Greyhound Derbys taking place in Britian each year; the English Greyhound Derby at Wimbledon and the Scottish Greyhound Derby at Shawfield Stadium. There used to be a Welsh Greyhound Derby, but it was discontinued in 1977 when the Arms Park in Cardiff closed down.
The Northern Irish Derby at Drumbo Park only carries £25,000 prize.
- Category One Race
A Category One Race may consist of anywhere from one to four rounds and the prize money must be at least £12,500.
- Category Two Race
A Category Two Race may consist of anywhere from one to three rounds and the prize money must be at least £5,000.
- Category Three Race
A Category Three Race may consist of anywhere from one or two rounds and the prize money must be at least £500.
- Graded Racing
There are no rules regarding the size of the prize money for Graded Racing, and this type of race is the core activity of most greyhounds stadiums in the United Kingdom. It is not uncommon for the races to be shown in betting shops throughout the UK.