Greyhound Rescue Groups in the UK - Welcome / Home
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About - Ear Tattoos

Ear Tattos

English bred greyhounds (for racing) will have a tattoo in one ear, usually consisting of three letters and a figure in the right ear.  The figure denotes the number of pups in the litter; if this number is more than eight, another letter will be used.   The approximate age of the dog can be read from these tattoos. We've prepared a reference page for you.

It is important first to contact your adopting group before delving into your dog's history, as the origin of your dog may be sensitive.

Once your adopting group has given you the all clear to check out these details, the English and Irish Stud Books hold information on the name and whelping date, but should not reveal the name of the registered owner.

English Stud Book, UK (01638 667381)
16, Clocktower Mews, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 8LL

Irish Stud Book, Eire (00 353 5222611-namings)
Irish Coursing Club, Davis Street, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. Eire.

For a copy of the 5 generation pedigree certificate for your dog, send £5 (for English marks) or £10 or12 euros (for Irish marks) to the relevant Stud book with ear marks, colour and sex of dog.

If he has not raced on an NGRC track, you will probably not get any further.  Dogs running on the Independent tracks (flapping tracks - which are legal and licensed to a Local Authority) can run under any name that the owner cares to give, though the tracks mostly do keep a record of the earmarks of dogs that run at any given meeting.

In a few cases when dogs have raced in the UK and Ireland, the tattoos are a mixture of Irish and English marks.

The following letters and number are not used in earmarks: C, F, G, O, W and 5.

Year/Letter Reference


Tattoos in one ear only - Three letters + one number e.g. ABC 1

Litters over eight pups - Three letters + one letter e.g. ABC A

First letter indicates year of whelp:-

First letter roughly indicates year of whelp, but often overlaps into the next year.

Y, X 1988
Z, A, B 1989
D,E 1990
H,I,J 1991
J,K,L 1992
M,N 1993

But the letters do not run for a set number of months, i.e:

P, up to Oct. 94
Q, Nov. 94 - June 95
R, July 95 - Jan 96
S, Feb 96 - July 96
T, Aug 96 - March 97
U, Apr 97 - Oct 97
V, Nov 97 - June 98
X, July 98 - Feb 99
Y, March 99 - Aug 99
Z, Sep. 99 - Jan. 2000

There is unlikely to be confusion between very young and very old dogs, but it is advisable to check either of these with the Stud Book after discussion with your adopting group.

English Stud Book Tel: 01638 667381


Three letters - left ear e.g. AAA

Two letters - right ear e.g. BB

First letter in right ear indicates year of whelp:

A = 1982
H = 1986
L = 1990
Q = 1994
U = 1998
B = 1983
I = 1987
M = 1991
R = 1995
V = 1999
D = 1984
J = 1988
N = 1992
S = 1996
X = 2000
E = 1985
K = 1989
P = 1993
T = 1997
Y = 2001

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