History of Greyhound Racing
in the United Kingdom

Greyhounds arrived in Europe more than 3,500 years ago. In 1014, King Canute of England enacted the Forest Laws, which stated that only noblemen could own and hunt with greyhounds.

In the 1500s, Queen Elizabeth I abolished this law and later initiated the first formal rules of greyhound coursing. Thus, greyhound racing became known as the "Sport of Queens."

In the early 1900s, huge crowds would gather to watch greyhound coursing. In the interest of safety, enclosed courses were introduced. These enclosed courses were much smaller than the open courses and speed over agility was of utmost importance.

It was just a matter of time before racing would take over from the well established coursing.

In 1925, Charles A. Munn, an American businessman, made a deal with Owen Patrick Smith and George Sawyer to exclusively use the artificial lure in Great Britain. Munn, with several English backers, formed the Greyhound Racing Association in 1926. Sawyer, a wealthy greyhound owner, was the financier of Smith who created the first artificial lure in the United States.

On July 24, 1926, in front of 1,700 spectators, seven Greyhounds leapt out of the traps at Belle Vue Stadium and raced to catch an electric hare. This marked the first ever modern greyhound race in Great Britain.

Within two years, there were 68 dog tracks operating or under construction in the British Isles and greyhound racing was firmly established in the sporting scene.

List of UK Greyhound Tracks