The Long Laugh – Wiener Dog Races

September 7, 2016

Oktoberfest Wiener Dog Races are everyone’s guilty pleasure

By Jessica Rhea Williams

Photo at right: You never know what you’ll see at a wiener dog race, but you can be sure it will make you laugh! Photo by Jessica Rhea Williams, courtesy of the You Did What With Your Wiener blog


Oktoberfest, a huge German international festival, is celebrated around the world and while beer drinking, polka dancing and schnitzel-eating are the more common ways to celebrate, the Dachshund races are really everyone’s guilty pleasure.

Dachshund races (also known as “wiener dog races”) were started in—of all places—Australia in the 1970s as fun runs and charity fundraisers. The races became popular in North America after this “odd sport” was featured in a 1993 Miller Lite television commercial.

The “race tracks” are short—usually 50 feet in length—but the laughs are long.

Some dogs don’t know what to do and would rather sniff along the sidelines for potential treats. Others sprint down the track so fast they appear as a blur of paws and ears.

Some race participants are decked out in hot dog, unicorn or cowboy costumes, while others may sport wigs or just a collar. You never know what you’ll see but you can be sure ears will be a flappin’!

You can get in on these “fun runs” at many Northwest Oktoberfests this fall.


Kirkland Oktoberfest Sept. 25

Spokane’s Oktoberfest at the River Sept. 25

Puyallup’s Oktoberfest Northwest
Oct. 9


Bend Oktoberfest Sept.17

Mount Angel Oktoberfest
Sept. 17–18

Know before you go:

The registration for most events is under $20 and all, or part, of the fee is donated to a local charity. The race fees generally don’t cover the cost of admission and dogs most often cannot accompany you in other areas of the festival.

Jessica Rhea Williams is the author of the blog, You Did What with Your Wiener? View her hiking and outdoor adventures with her dachshunds at