dog racing, trials of speed between dogs. Now contested on oval tracks, the sport developed from the ancient practice of coursing, in which specially trained dogs chase game animals in the open field. Whippets chased live rabbits until the protests of humane groups had the practice outlawed. Artificial hares, first tried in 1876 in England, eventually became standard and greyhounds, accustomed to hunting by sight and sound rather than by smell, replaced whippets. The sport became popular in the United States in the 1930s when some states permitted wagering. Dog tracks are popular in Florida, Massachusetts, and some western states as well as in England, Ireland, Australia, Spain, and Indonesia.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.