Chihuahua racing is catching on. The national pet store chain held the first Petco Unleashed Chihuahua races in 2005 and the number of contestants has grown each year. Many are held in conjunction with fairs, games, and other festive events.
What Is Chihuahua Racing?
Much like the popular Dachshund races, Chihuahuas are released from starting boxes to scamper down a 35 foot track toward their ‘receivers.’ Contestants are household pets and races are all in fun. Part of that fun is watching the tiny dogs’ various versions of racing. Some shoot straight for the finish line while others visit with spectators or turn around and go back to the starting box.
All kinds of Chihuahuas compete – smooth haired, long haired, apple head, and even mixes. Winners of regional races gather at Petco Park in San Diego each year for the nationals.
Recent Chihuahua Race Winners
The first dog to claim the title, America’s Fastest Chihuahua, was Chalupa, a little light colored pooch from Hammond, Indiana.
A brown and white Chihuahua mix from Bakersfield California named Tiger won his regional race with a time of 2.0 seconds and went on to earn the national title. His proud owner, Cathy Smith, describes him as very energetic with attitude and says, “He got named for his attitude towards people and other dogs.”
Maddy, a scruffy little dog from New York City, made her owner proud with a winning regional time of 2.3 seconds. She went on to capture the national title as well. Sue Yee says Maddy trains for racing by swimming at the doggy beach and doing doggy yoga.
Tiger made a comeback and once again holds the title, America’s Fastest Chihuahua. As thousands of Chihuahua lovers cheered the finalists on, he made the 35 foot run in a speedy 1.9 seconds, passing up 14 other regional champions. Although he yawned as Cathy proclaimed him to be an “absolute champion dog” he hammed it up for cameras by giving kisses to the Petco guy presenting the shiny trophy.
Inspiring Chihuahua Stories
According to Sally Johnson, assistant Petco store manager in San Ramon, the Unleashed races are held to promote the human/animal bond and to encourage pet adoptions. Just about any Chihuahua or Chihuahua mix can compete and some have quite inspiring stories.
The Bay Area Regional Champion, Chloe, was once homeless. The dark colored Chihuahua/Pug cross was adopted from a local shelter by her new family and quickly rose to stardom in the racing world.
Isabelle, the Sacramento Regional Champion, flubbed her first race by turning back to the starting box. A weight problem caused her to run slow in her second race but after the diagnosis of a thyroid problem, Isabelle got treatment, lost weight and zipped to the finish line ahead of all the other little dogs.
Chihuahua racing is great exercise, a good doggy self esteem builder, and just plain fun.