Previous Index Next


THE Greyhound is the oldest and most conservative of all dogs, and his type has altered singularly little during the seven thousand years in which he is known to have been cherished for his speed, and kept by men for running down the gazelle or coursing the hare. The earliest references to him are far back in the primitive ages, long before he was beautifully depicted by Assyrian artists, straining at the leash or racing after his prey across the desert sands. The Egyptians loved him and appreciated him centuries before the pyramids were built. In those days he wore a feathered tail, and his ears were heavy with a silken fringe of hair. His type was that of the modern Arabian Slughi, who is the direct and unaltered descendant of the ancient hound. The glorious King Solomon referred to him (Proverbs xxx. 31) as being one of the four things which " go well and are comely in going-a lion, which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away from any ; a Greyhound ; an he goat also ; and a king against whom there is no rising up."

That the Greyhound is " comely in going," as well as in repose, was recognised very early by the Greeks, whose artists were fond of introducing this graceful animal as an ornament in their decorative workmanship. In their metal work, their carvings in ivory and stone, and more particularly as parts in the designs on their terra-cotta oil bottles, wine coolers, and other vases, the Greyhound is frequently to be seen, sometimes following the hare, and always in remarkably characteristic attitudes. Usually these Greek Greyhounds are repre



sented with prick ears, but occasionally the true rose ear is shown.

All writings in connection with Greyhounds point to the high estimation in which the dog has always been held. Dr. Caius, when referring to the name, says " The Greyhound hath his name of this word gre ; which word soundeth gradus in Latin, in Englishe degree, because among all dogges these are the most principall, occupying the chiefest place, and being simply and absolutely the best of the gentle kinde of Houndes."

It was not until the reign of Queen Elizabeth that coursing in England was conducted under established rules. These were drawn up by the then Duke of Norfolk. The sport quickly grew in favour, and continued to increase in popularity until the first coursing club was established at Swaffham in 1776. Then in 178o the Ashdown Park Meeting came into existence. The Newmarket Meeting in 1805 was the next fixture that was inaugurated, and this now remains with the champion stakes as its most important event. Afterwards came the Amesbury Meeting in 1822, but Amesbury, like Ashdown, although for many years one of the most celebrated institutions of the description, has fallen from its high estate. Three years later came the Altcar Club. But it was not until eleven years after this period that the Waterloo Cup was instituted (in 1836), to win which is the highest ambition of followers of the leash.

At the present time the run for the Waterloo Cup, which at the commencement was an eight dog stake, is composed of sixty-four nominations, the entry fee for which is £25. The winner takes £500, and the cup, value £Ioo, presented by the Earl of Sefton, the runner up £200, the third and fourth £50 each, four dogs £36 each, eight dogs £2o each, and sixteen dogs £1o each: The thirty-two dogs beaten in the first round of the Cup compete for the Waterloo Purse, value £215, and the sixteen dogs run out in the second round for the Waterloo Plate, value £145. The winner in each case taking £75, and the runner up £30, the remainder being divided amongst the

Previous Index Next