Meet Racing Wiener Dogs

See dachshunds hustle at GermanFest on October 14.

October 2017Add a comment

Five sets of paws pound the pavement, tongues lolling, tails wagging, as tutu- and bandana-clad dachshunds dash from one end of The Athenaeum’s hay bale–lined enclosure to the other. Or, at least, that’s the idea at the Wiener Dog Races, a GermanFest staple since 2008. Why dachshunds? These babies are naturals. “They’re quick dogs,” says The Athenaeum’s Shannon Poole. “They’re the smallest and friendliest dogs that we can race that are German.”

Not all the canines are in such a hurry to scurry, though—some trot right back to their handlers once the gates open, ignoring their clapping, whistle-blowing, treat-dangling owners’ attempts to coax them across the finish line. “Some of them are just like, Nope, not doing it,” Poole says. The races are more fashion show than focused sprint, anyway. “The dogs will come in wearing little hats with their hair all done up,” says Poole. “They’re as cute as can be, especially the long-haired ones.” As many as 130 dogs participate, with heats on the hour between 1 and 4 p.m. But get there early—with winning times in the couple of seconds, each 45-foot run lasts just long enough for a Snapchat story or Instagram post, albeit with half the wieners tail-first. But no complaints here—the tutu-and-lederhosen chaos is almost as cute as winning. Release the hounds.

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