Dog racing originated as a sport about 2500 bc in Egypt, where the pastime took the form of coursing. Coursing remained popular throughout ancient times and during the Middle Ages, and it was a favorite sport of royalty in 16th-century England. Coursing competition was organized on a formal basis in Britain in the 18th century and in the United States in the 19th century. The oldest and most famous of the British stakes is the Waterloo Cup, held since 1776 in Liverpool.
In the early 20th century, opposition to the use of live rabbits as lures in coursing led to the development in the U.S. of the mechanical lure, which was first demonstrated successfully in Emeryville, California, in 1919. Greyhound racing subsequently replaced coursing in popularity in the United States and in Britain, where the sport was introduced in 1925.