Germany has been hosting pug races for 10 years and this is the first time we've heard about it
Posted on 22/10/2019

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We never knew we needed this in our lives until now!

What first comes to mind when you think of a pug? We doubt that it's their prowess on the racetrack or their supreme athletic ability. Yet Hamburg has set out change just that and subvert the long-standing idea that the pug is the couch potato of all dogs. Enter, international pug racing.

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© Ralf Bitzer/123RF

One race was recently held in Hamburg at the N.W.R. greyhound racetrack, situated on the outskirts of the northern Germany port city . "This isn't a competitive race," Angelika Schmorr, owner of a pug named Lulu, told a reporter of the New York Times at the competition. "We are all here just for the fun of it."

Another, known as the International Pug Meeting, held its last ever race in the German capital in the summer. The race had been organised in Berlin for a decade by husband and wife team Thomas and Beate Zupan with the aim to quieten criticism of the breed's squashed noses, short, stubby legs and rather rotund shape. All competing pugs took part in a timed 50-yard dash with a state-of-the-art photo finish to capture the fastest - and slowest - pugs to the last thousandth of a second. The three fastest pugs and the slowest pug that came in last place were all awarded prizes, showing that it is really the taking part that counts!

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© Mariia Boiko/123RF

"For 10 years we have tried to improve the image of the pug", organiser and breeder Thomas Zupan told German news agency, dpa, after the news broke that this year's edition in Berlin would be the last. "We have shown that there are healthy pugs that can run 50 meters in six seconds, that are athletic and agile."

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© Jakub Potocki/123RF

The event always attracted pug owners and lovers from all around Europe but unfortunately this year, on what was set to be the last of its kind in Berlin, the race had to be cancelled due to extreme heat conditions, leaving 95 expectant competitors disappointed. Emma, the most celebrated pug in Germany to date and known as the "Usain Bolt of Pugs" after winning three consecutive races in Berlin with the record time of six seconds, was also absent at this year's gathering.

Yet the weather warning did not deter everyone and pugs and their owners still came out into the city to enjoy the sun. "If they can't handle the heat, you would know and as a responsible parent, handle it accordingly" one owner said at the event.

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For those disappointed that they can no longer catch Berlin's famous pugs in action, then don't worry! A version of the event will be held in Hamburg again next year with the exact dates set to release soon.

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Yet Germany isn't the only European city that pugs are taking by storm. In the UK, the Pug Café is a travelling pop-up café for - you guessed it - pugs! Rather than a petting café, these events that are currently touring the country are aimed towards giving your pooch the perfect, pampered café experience. As for the owners, coffee and cake is available so you can share a cappuccino and a puppuccino with your canine companion. Yet you don't need to own a pug yourself to come - all dog lovers are welcome! Find out if they're coming to a city near you soon on their website.

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