History of Dachshund Racing

Dachshund racing, or wiener dog racing, is a popular, yet controversial sporting event, primarily found in North America. Typical Dachshund races are either 25 or 50 yards in length, and are run on various surfaces. Many race tracks across America host these events as fundraising or publicity events, and routinely draw the venues' largest attendance numbers of the year.

In the less formal events, most entrants are not career racers, nor bred for racing. Often, dogs will choose not to run the length of the course and instead visit with other dogs or the owner that released them. Otherwise, dogs will run swiftly to their owner at the finish line, coaxed by food or toys.

The de facto national championship of wiener dog racing is the Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals, held in San Diego, California, every December as part of the Holiday Bowl, however there are many other venues that claim title to the true "national" champion. Dachshund racing was first held in Australia in the 1970s.

The early meets featured Whippet, Afghan Hound, and Dachshund racing, purely for fun. The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in California holds an annual Doxie Derby as part of the university's Picnic Day event. For over 30 years the races have been a fundraiser for veterinary students.

The sport rose in popularity in North America after a 1993 Miller Lite television commercial that listed odd sports, and continued to grow after the release of Wiener Takes All a documentary film that chronicles two years of the Wiener Nationals circuit. In 2009, the Wiener Dog Nationals in Fort Wayne, Indiana, held its 16th annual Dachshund race. Zeus, the Germanfest champ from 2006-2009, is generally recognized as the greatest racing dachshund of all time.

But by far the most well-known race is the Buda Wiener Dog Races of the Lions Club of Buda, Texas known as "The Wiener Dog Capital of Texas." This year marks the 25th anniversary of the event that features a pet parade, barbecue cook off, and mad dashes to the finish line. In Texas, this is the Kentucky Derby for the spunky wee tubular pooches. At its pre-COVID peak, the event was attracting up to 20,000 attendees and close to 700 galloping wieners.