Complete Guide to Understanding Greyhound Racing

Greyhound racing is a popular, professional sport. The dogs begin their racing journey when they are between 15 and 17 months old. In this guide, we are going to look at what greyhound racing is, where it is legal, the most popular racing events, and more in 2024.

Written by Bonnie Gjurovska 8 minute read
understanding greyhound racing

Top 10 Casinos Guide to Greyhound Racing in 2024

A great deal of training is involved when it comes to greyhound racing and the exact time a dog might start their training is often influenced by their size. Larger dogs usually start racing on the later end of the spectrum to avoid putting strain on delicate limbs. Training incorporates a lot of physical exercise, and behavioural norms that will help a dog to become a solid competitor.

Greyhound racing is also immensely popular among sports betting enthusiasts. You can bet on greyhound racing at some of the best international online casinos that offer a sportsbetting platform. However, before you start placing bets, you will need to understand how greyhounds are trained, the legalities involved when registering a dog to race, greyhound trails, the various types of greyhound races you can bet on, and more.

The Stages of Training

The first stage of training a greyhound involves observing the dog and how they behave when presented with chasing situations.

Dogs are taught essential skills, such as walking peacefully on the lead while introducing them to a solid fitness regimen. Fitness development usually runs over a six-week period, with it facilitated by sprinting, trotting and walking drills.

During the initial phase, dogs walk a mile every day, for ten days. During the intermediate phase, dogs increase the distance to two miles, and during the advanced phase, they trot for the equivalent distances.

When the final phase is reached, the dog will gallop when they can trot for a mile without panting. This is often done on a track, to accustom the dog to chasing. Lures used during training are made to encourage the dog's chasing instinct.

Legalities of Registering a Dog to Race

Trainers must complete several formal regulations when training their dogs to race. Like in horse racing, the greyhound often lives with the trainer, and only sees the owner sporadically.

The animal is also tattooed in both ears if in Ireland, and one ear if in England. It is also registered with the Greyhound Stud Book.

Racing greyhound owners in the UK will need to register as an owner. Proof of identity is supplied, and when this has been verified, the dog is then free to race at any GBGB-licensed track within Britain. Other countries have slightly different regulations and methods of registration, but ultimately, there are always guidelines to be followed.

Greyhound Trials

In some countries, every greyhound has to complete several trials. When qualified, the greyhound will then be able to run in a full race. The trials ensure that the dog is fit and healthy to compete and it also ensures that all legalities have been followed.

types of greyhound races

Types of Greyhound Races

There are numerous types of greyhound races, including graded events and open events. This is vital to understand if you want to bet real money on greyhound races. Below, we included some of the most popular greyhound races in 2024.

Graded Events

Graded events allow six dogs to race each other. The dogs are as equal as possible, to ensure a fair race. Numerous factors determine a dog's grade, including past race performances, injury history and trial times.

Open Events

Open events are suited to any dog, but they tend to be aimed at more professional races. At open events, you will find more experienced greyhounds and higher stakes. You can also expect greater competition.

Every racetrack will have a management team who are responsible for running the track. They will assess the dogs, using trial runs to determine each dog's ability while ensuring that they have been given the right grade. It is also their job to make sure that the starting position for each dog suits them, based on their previous race performances and trial runs.

Open Race Participants

Open race participants often consist of elite greyhounds. They are highly trained and chosen based on their track record. The process selection here is highly competitive, so dogs in this category tend to represent the pinnacle of athleticism.

Veteran Greyhounds

Veteran greyhounds are dogs who have a great deal of experience, and who have several solid races under their belt.

Rising Stars

Rising stars are young greyhounds who are showing a lot of potential, and who are poised to challenge some of the veteran dogs within the sector.

Champion Sprinters

Dogs like this tend to excel in short races, at exceptional speed.

Endurance Runners

Dogs who suit these races tend to be more suited to longer races, as they have impressive stamina when running long distances.

Regulatory Guidelines

Certain guidelines and rules govern how open races are run. A lot of this depends on the country but the rules in general help to ensure greyhound health as well as the integrity of the sport.

Some of the key guidelines include ensuring the well-being of the dogs. All participants, including owners and trainers, also have to adhere to the established rules of the sport. In some countries, doping tests are carried out to ensure that dogs are not being given performance-enhancing substances.

Countries where Greyhound Racing is Legal

Some of the countries that allow greyhound racing are as follows:

  • Ireland
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Canada
  • Australia
top greyhound racing events

Top Greyhound Racing Events Across the World

Many greyhound racing events take place across the world and those who enjoy sports betting will find excellent odds at some of the best online sportsbooks and casinos. Some of them can be found below.


The US has a very rich history when it comes to greyhound racing. As of 2023, there are only two racetracks within the US. Both of them can be found in West Virginia. The biggest event would be the Hollywood World Classic race.

  • Hollywood World Classic - The Hollywood World Classic is held at the Mardis Gras Casino in West Virginia. It's a competition that offers high-stakes bettors the chance to win big.


In the UK, greyhound racing is very popular. Landmark events are a staple in the nation's betting culture.

  • English Greyhound Derby - This classic race is one of the most prestigious events in the UK. It takes place at the Towcester Greyhound Stadium and the prize for the winner stands at £175,000. This is one of the richest greyhound races in the world.
  • Scottish Greyhound Derby - The Scottish Greyhound Derby is held at the Shawfield Stadium. It attracts a very high calibre of racing dogs every year.
  • Trainer's Championship - This event is held at numerous locations, and it features dogs from all across the country. It is a huge hit with the betting community, mainly because the setup is incredibly unique and you also have a highly competitive nature too.


Greyhound racing is deeply ingrained within Irish culture. Renowned races attract a number of punters. Some of the top races can be found below.

  • Irish Greyhound Derby - The Irish Greyhound Derby is an annual event which is held at Shelbourne Park. It's the most prestigious and anticipated race in Ireland. Competitors vie for the prize fund and the option of having their name put in racing history.
  • Irish Oaks - You also have the Irish Oaks. This is held at Shelbourne Park again, and it is a respected race for female competitors only.
  • Easter Cup - The Easter Cup is one of the oldest and most classic races in the country. It was established in 1928, and since then, has drawn competitors from all across the country.

New Zealand

New Zealand boasts a number of greyhound racing events, with some of the most significant ones being:

  • New Zealand Cup - The New Zealand Cup is held at the Addington Raceway, which can be found in Christchurch. Its reputation draws some of the first competitors, making it a haven for gamblers.
  • Auckland Cup - The Auckland Cup is held at the Manukau Stadium. The greyhound race embraces tradition and attracts top-tier talent.
  • Silver Collar - The Silver Collar race is gruelling, with the total distance equalling 779 meters. It's said to be one of the toughest, yet one of the most prestigious events in the country.


Spanish greyhound racing is mainly focused on hunting Leporids and does not have structured betting events that follow in the footsteps of other countries. The Copa de Espana de Galgos en Campo is a hare coursing event, where greyhounds compete within the countryside.


There is currently one greyhound track in Mexico that hosts small events. The Caliente Hippodrome in Tijuana opened in 1999 and has been operational ever since.


As greyhound racing is practiced as an amateur sport in Canada, you won't find many big events. A lot of people think that greyhound racing is illegal in Canada but this simply is not the case. Greyhound racing is not banned, but it is unlegislated. This means that you can race any greyhound, but you cannot bet on them.

famous greyhounds

Famous Greyhounds

Greyhound racing gives people the chance to participate in a thrilling sport, with numerous betting opportunities available. The races mentioned above in our Top 10 Casinos guide are some of the most esteemed events across the world, and they bring competitors together. They also captivate audiences as well as betting enthusiasts. If you want to know more about some of the dogs who have raced in the past, simply look below.

Mick the Miller

Mick the Miller was one of the first greyhounds to enter the history books. He won the Greyhound Derby more than once, and in 1929, he defended his crown as he emerged victorious at the White City in London. The dog, who was bred in Ireland, dominated the track but went on to retire in 1931.

Patricias Hope

Another dog, Patricias Hope, without an apostrophe, won Greyhound of the Year back in 1972. Not only did he win the famous Greyhound Derby, but he also managed to land the Triple Crown. His victories also came in the form of the Welsh Greyhound Derby and the Scottish Greyhound Derby. He was trained by Adam Jackson before swapping kennels. Even then, he was able to win the second Greyhound Derby at White City. Given how much he was able to achieve, it's no wonder he is one of the top-ranked greyhounds ever to race.

Rapid Ranger

As a puppy, Rapid Ranger was a superstar. Charlie Lister took the dog on and with a bit of luck was able to qualify for the finals at the Greyhound Derby. When he got there, he won the race by three lengths.

The owners were tempted to retire the dog so that he could stud at the end of the year, but they declined. They had hopes that he could go on to be the third greyhound in the history books to win the race multiple times. This was the right call, as the dog won the Derby at Wimbledon, in 2001.

Westmead Hawk

The final dog on this list is Westmead Hawk. It's fair to say that this dog has struck a real bond with spectators.

The popular runner has been able to overcome some of the biggest deficits in the history of the competition, winning the 2005 and the 2006 English Classic. He had an amazing run and showed speed and agility throughout. Punters would celebrate his success even when he had two bends to go.


So greyhound races have been popular for quite some time, and events are held throughout the year to celebrate the success of the sport. With new and avid runners emerging all the time, punters are always on the ball as to when the next big thing could be hitting the track.

 Bonnie Gjurovska
Written by
Bonnie Gjurovska - Lead Editor

Bonnie Gjurovska has been professionally involved in iGaming for over 5 years. She is passionate about online casinos, testing software and finding the best promotions. Her passion makes Bonnie the perfect candidate to help guide players from around the world and to oversee the content published on

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