Crazy Stuff In Dog History

by Kris Phillips

I came across this photo a few days ago and couldn’t get it out of my head. I LOVE the caption! But more than that I wondered about the true story behind it.

Prior to the 1930’s Greyhound Racing was big business, it was one of the most popular activities for the working class. Much like the horse track here in the US. But by the late 1930’s the sports popularity was on the decline. With poor attendance tracks were closing left and right when promoters got a genius idea…

Imagine being a spectator at the packed Romford Stadium one cold Saturday night in December when 3 very special races were added to the card. What could have possibly prepared spectators for the spectacle of cheetahs springing from the starting gate!

In the 1930’s zoos were not common and most people had never seen the big cats before. Who could resist going to see the exotic grace of cheetah racing? Well, apparently the cheetahs. Despite being brought to the country a year early to train for the track coordinators quickly learned there are big differences between cats and dogs. Where Greyhounds eagerly compete in chase of the rabbit, the big cats are not so competitive. Once one took the lead, the others would quickly fall off the chase to conserve energy. Also, the cats had ZERO interest in chasing the rabbit lure, instead large chunks of meat were strapped to the lure. And surprise surprise one smart Cheetah even lived up to the name and jumped the fence to cut across the turn for a shorter rout to the lure. And in classic cat fashion, some cats simply abstained from the event all together, electing to instead curl up and take a nap.

After a few races the spectators enthusiasm matched the big cats and the idea was scrapped. Hopefully, the cats either found their way back to the wild or retired to a nice zoo.  Either way this goes down in history as one more instance of cats doing whatever the heck they want.


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