In the Landes, greyhound enthusiasts bring the last cynodrome to life

“The new ones who discover the race, we test them over short distances. A hundred meters”, decrypts Martine Lavie. “See the decoy? To entice novices, we put on a real rabbit skin. And to prevent them from getting scared, the lure is pulled by an electric motor. It’s much less noisy than the gasoline engine that we use for experienced greyhounds,” continues the vice-president of the CLCL. Posted inside the dog track, behind the rail on which the lure is towed, Martine Lavie observes. Muzzle in place, “a habit to take in training because in the championship, it is compulsory, to prevent the dogs from biting each other on arrival”, another greyhound rushes. “It must be 65 km / h”, judges the Landaise at a glance. Greyhounds are capable of mind-blowing top speeds. “A greyhound can reach 90 km/h at the end of the line”, abounds Thierry Malavialle, the president of the CLCL.

Even during training, greyhounds accustomed to racing wear a muzzle, a precautionary measure during championships.


Even during training, greyhounds accustomed to racing wear a muzzle, a precautionary measure during championships.

Matthew Sartre

A hunter at heart

“Racing”, “coursing”, “Sloughi”, “PLI”, the world of greyhound racing has its own vocabulary and meets strict standards, under the aegis of the Société centrale canine. Since the ban in 2020 on mutual betting on greyhound races, masters and breeders have been working to improve the breed in the sole context of friendly races. There are two tests. “There are the ENCs, for national events on a dog track, also called racing. What you see there. And then there is the PVL, sight pursuit on decoy, also called coursing. It is a one kilometer course on an open space for the greyhounds to see the lure. It’s a hunting imitation, ”summarizes Martine Lavie.

“The dog, if we ask him too much and too often, we can disgust him! »

The hunting instinct, the greyhound has it in the blood. “All dogs need to run, the greyhound even more so. He loosens up physically and psychologically. » Until 1840, we hunted with greyhounds in France. Accustomed to competitions with Magistrate l’Apollon and Mégapole, her two small Italian greyhounds (PLI) already crowned champions of France, the vice-president of the CLCL warns against certain excesses. “The problem is that some masters are in a hurry. They want things to go fast, they push their dog to improve performance. But the dog, if we ask him too much and too often, we can disgust him! »

Reviews and animal welfare

The members of the CLCL are all the more concerned about enforcing the rules as they know they are the object of criticism, among the defenders of animal welfare. “Some say that greyhounds are bludgeoned to make them run faster, that’s nonsense! What is better? Leave your dog on the sofa? A master who does not take his dog out is mistreating”, argues Martine Lavie. Who will never let an impatient master make his unseasoned greyhound do two laps of the track. “They are told: ‘Be careful, you are going to kill him!’ They go to the end of their strength on a track. »

Marley, a six-month-old whippet, ran for the first time after a lure, under the watchful eye of his master, Cyril, and Thierry Malavialle (left), the president of the CLCL.


Marley, a six-month-old whippet, ran for the first time after a lure, under the watchful eye of his master, Cyril, and Thierry Malavialle (left), the president of the CLCL.

Matthew Sartre

Anti competition, Cyril, his wife Marine and their two daughters are delighted to have left their Gironde for a Sunday for the simple pleasure of Marley. “It’s nice to see him running! exclaims the family in chorus, totally won over by this breed of dog. “Marley is very calm, very gentle! And then, no drool, no hair, it’s happiness! », underlines Marine laughing. At the Campet-et-Lamolère cynodrome, the first two training sessions are free. Beyond that, owners are invited to join the CLCL, which is seeking to swell its ranks.

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