Coursing is a hunting sport in which pairs of dogs are used in the pursuit of game. Coursing, an ancient pastime, is today most commonly practiced with fast-running dogs, such as greyhounds, which hunt by sight, rather than scent. In India and other countries the cheetah is used for coursing gazelles and other antelope. Dogs have been used to course a great variety of animals, but the most popular game is the rabbit or hare. Although coursing hares is still practiced as a form of hunting, it has largely become a formalized contest won by the scoring of points.
The contest may be held in open countryside or in a fenced enclosure 450 yards long and 150 yards wide, with escape ports for the hares. Dogs are matched against each other in the pursuit of a hare, which is given a lead of at least 60 yards. Points are scored for causing the hare to turn, for speed, and for other maneuvers. Protests against the killing of animals for sport led to development of the mechanical hare as object of pursuit.