The Countryman's Weekly


December 19
08:10 2018

Winter foot care for lurchers

By Penny Taylor.

WET weather and mud bring their own share of problems for working lurchers. Those of us who can run our dogs solely on grassland are fortunate indeed for no matter how soggy the land it is unlikely we’ll have many issues with sore nail beds or pads gashed by flints.

Those of us who work our lurchers on arable land, which necessarily includes drilling, plough and set aside, know all too well the hazards wet earth can bring. When I used to course out in East Anglia pre-ban (otherwise known as the land of flint) it was all too common for lurchers to slice open their pads during a hard run. If the ground had previously frozen then thawed sufficiently to allow us to run our dogs, those flints seemed to rise to the surface, albeit still fixed to the frozen subsoil.

Even silt or clay land can be awkward to run on but it does depend on the individual dog. I have owned several coursing lurchers over the years and most of them ran easily and without damage on the silt fens of Lincolnshire and even the more heavy clay we find in various areas around the fens in Cambridgeshire.

One of my best lurchers, through her running style, drove sand and mud up under her nail beds every time she ran. She was a hard-pounding, fast dog and although she did have a fair smattering of Saluki in her breeding her action was more of the sprinter. Coupled with superb stamina, she was a very good dog indeed but if I wanted to run her regularly I had to bind up her nail beds every single time she ran.




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