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A pug runs in the 8th annual International Pug Meeting in Berlin
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/G. Fischer

Dogs face off at Berlin's running of the pugs

Rebecca Staudenmaier with DPA
August 20, 2017

Hundreds of dog lovers met in Berlin to crown this year's fastest - and slowest - pint-sized athletes. The 8th International Pug Meeting drew pug fans from around the world for a day of races, ice cream and belly rubs.


Scores of stout, short-muzzled dogs and their enthusiastic owners from around the world gathered on Saturday in Berlin for the 8th annual International Pug Meeting.

Over 260 four-legged contestants participated in this year's race, which saw each contestant tracked with an electronic timing device as well as a photo finish.

This year's winner was local Berliner pooch Emma, who completed the 50 meter-long (160 foot-long) course in less than six seconds. Her owner, Angela Kaiser, also had to be quick as she ran ahead of her dog on the course.

Read more: Pirates, knights and pugs - unusual events to discover in Germany

The slowest dog was a pug named Sihla who took just over a minute to trot down the track. She was also given an award. The winners walked home with colorful pug paintings and a trophy.

Unlike other sporting events, contestants were allowed to cheat a little bit by using treats and chew toys to motivate their pugs across the finish line.

Pugs and owners alike traveled from near and far to take part in this year's pug festival. Besides Germany, participants from Belgium, Switzerland, Scotland and the island of Sardinia were present, reported local broadcaster RBB.

Read more: World's Ugliest Dog - Martha the Mastiff takes the crown

The event in the Lichtenrade district in southern Berlin was not without its controversy, though. Animal welfare activists have voiced concerns that the race places the dogs in life-threatening danger as their short snouts hamper their ability to breathe, reported local newspaper Berliner Zeitung.

Keeping the dog's safety in mind, the event's organizers had participants checked over be veterinarians prior to the race.

They have also urged for breeders to breed pugs with longer noses and slimmer bodies to minimize the potentially crippling health problems that plague the breed, Berliner Zeitung reported.

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