greyhound winner
greyhound winner

How is a Greyhound Race Winner Determined?

A greyhound race winner is determined based on which dog crosses the finish line first after completing a pre-set course on a race track.

Determining the Winner

The main factor in declaring the winner in a greyhound race is identifying which dog crosses the finish line first. This is assessed by a variety of mechanisms such as photo finish systems, cameras, and automated sensors on the finish line.

Photo Finish Systems

Photo finishes are a common mechanism used to determine the winner when a race is incredibly close. This high-speed camera captures images at the finish line to assist judges in making accurate assessments regarding which dog crossed the line first.

Cameras and Automated Sensors

In some racing tracks, cameras positioned at different angles and high-tech sensors placed on the finish line augment the judging process. These tools offer additional data to determine the exact order in which the greyhounds crossed the finish line.

While the methods and rules detailed above are predominantly what determine the winner of a greyhound race, other components might be factored into the determination of a ‘winning’ dog depending on the context of the race or specific betting rules. For instance, betting rules might account for a variety of outcomes or possibilities, providing opportunities for participants to ‘win’ even if their chosen dog does not necessarily finish the race first.

Overview of Greyhound Racing

Greyhound racing is a competitive sport where greyhounds, a breed of dogs known for their incredible speed and agility, race around a track. These races are often categorized as either sprint, which ranges from 300 to 550 yards, or distance, which are races of more than 550 yards. The track is oval-shaped and is usually made of sand or another synthetic material. Each greyhound is assigned to a specific track position, known as a ‘trap,’ marked by different colors.

The Nature of the Race

At the start of the race, a mechanical ‘hare’ or ‘rabbit’ is launched and goes ahead of the dogs. The greyhounds chase the mechanical lure once it starts moving, which signals the beginning of the race. Greyhounds are naturally enticed to chase and this keeps them focused on the race, with each dog doing its best to overtake the others and catch the decoy.

Rules and Regulations

The rules can vary depending on the country and specific track, but there are some general principles that are commonly observed:

  1. All greyhounds should be in good health and meet certain age and weight requirements.
  2. A certain color-coded vest or blanket, corresponding to the trap they start from, should be worn by the dogs.
  3. Any dog that interferes with another, either accidentally or not, can be disqualified.

The Dispute Process in Greyhound Racing

Controversy or dispute in greyhound racing typically occurs when the outcome of the race is too close to call, or if there’s an incident during the race, such as one dog obstructing another. In such situations, the race stewards will review the race and make a decision.

Review of the Race

In case of a dispute, the stewards – officials responsible for ensuring fair play – review footage to decide the winner. They analyze the race from different camera angles, and if the finishing is too close, a photo finish system may be employed. This high-speed camera takes numerous shots per second as the dogs cross the finish line, and this can help determine the order in which the dogs finished.

Determining Interference

In a case where it is alleged that one dog obstructed another during the race, the stewards will review the footage to determine if interference occurred. The rules of racing generally state that a dog is considered at fault if it changes its course or position in a way that impedes a contender that is clearly gaining ground.

Should any impediment be identified, the offending greyhound may be disqualified, regardless of whether it crossed the finish line first. In such cases, the subsequent dog to cross the finish line would be declared the winner.


Once the stewards have reviewed all the evidence, they will deliver the final decision, which will be based on the governing body’s regulations and guidelines. The decision of the stewards is generally considered final, and it officially declares the winner of the race.

It’s worth noting that, in professional greyhound racing, these rules and regulations are usually explicitly defined, and all participants are expected to respect the final decision made by the stewards. In order to ensure fairness and integrity in determining the winner, rigorous professionalism and adherence to established guidelines are maintained.