Greyhounds are the fastest dogs in the world. The man understood that. He made a show of greyhounds. An international competition took place this weekend in Awns in the Liège region. A good-natured competition, but that’s not always the case. In Spain, the hunt with galgos, the Spanish greyhound, is a business in which each year, 60,000 of these dogs are abandoned, mistreated, even killed.
We went this weekend to Awns. Gone at full speed, the Greyhounds are chasing the world title. On the track, six borzois, Greyhounds up to 50 km / h. The race is fast, just 40 seconds. But on arrival, the joy of the masters is enormous. Tony Vandenbrule’s dog, the Belgian of the group, took second place and a little present: “it’s not much, a meat puddle and a tiny cup for a World Championship. But we don’t come for the Cup, we don’t come for the puddle, we come to watch our dogs run, and we go thousands of kilometers the year with the dogs without realizing it. It is our passion that suppresses reality a little bit”.
In Awns, over the last three days, 400 greyhounds from all over the world have competed, but never for money because betting on dogs is strictly prohibited in Belgium, mainly to avoid certain excesses. “For us, animal welfare is the priority,” said Willem Vermouth, president of the international cytological Federation. We have countries in the south of Europe that have run errands that are mainly for money, and we see that when the dog does not make money, they are ‘thrown out’ as they say”.
Not always the same respect
Our dogs are real athletes and are trained throughout the year so that they keep fit, of course, but especially the joy of running in packs. It usually starts in September when the dogs are trained on an ATV they shoot, the aim being to develop the muscles. As the season progresses and the temperature decreases, we increase the distances up to 30 km per workout. The goal is to have 1000 km of racing in early December. In winter, 5 or 6 dogs can run, without difficulty and with pleasure, up to 60 km a day by pulling a sled and its two passengers.
Training for races is a little different. The fastest dogs are selected from September and are part of the ” A ” team. They will be trained a little faster, a little longer. While the walking dogs run at an average speed of 16 km / h, the running dogs gallop and trot at about 20 km / h and can keep this pace over very long distances (the goal being to cover 80 km in less than 4 hours). These dogs are integrated into the Walking teams during the winter, but two weeks before the races, David removes them for long-distance training with a sleigh without load.
Spring is always too fast for us!! So we have to do a little training, where we alternate mountain biking and free-range racing. During these races, David precedes the dogs in VT and plays the rabbit with them!! Some of the race dogs go more than 40 km / h, which makes these rides a real rally!
Finally, in the summer, the dogs only do free shopping, until a small stream where everyone has fun and wading happily. It will be necessary to wait for the colder temperatures of the mornings of August before getting the dogs pulled again.