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Watch Wiener Dogs Race at DC’s Cutest Competition

The Wiener 500 will take place on October 1.

The 2021 Wiener 500 race. Photo courtesy of the Wharf.

The city’s fiercest athletes return to the Wharf on Saturday, October 1 for the annual Wiener 500 Dachshund Dash. District Pier will transform into a 70-yard track for the 2 PM sprint, complete with a Jumbotron for spectators, Oktoberfest beers, and dogs garbed in their finest costumes.

An on-theme pup at last year's race. Photo courtesy of the Wharf.
An on-theme pup at last year’s race. Photo courtesy of the Wharf.

Due to the high number of pint-sized participants—doxies must be under 12 inches at the shoulder to compete—dogs are divided into six heats. Winners from each group will face off in a final matchup, and the victor will be crowned the wiener dog champion. Although pooches of every type (as well as their owners) are invited to soak in the atmosphere, only dachshunds are eligible to participate in the competition. Racer registration is currently full, but you can add your canine contender’s name to the waitlist.

Competitors in the 2021 Wiener 500. Photo courtesy of the Wharf.
Competitors in the 2021 Wiener 500. Photo courtesy of the Wharf.

The Oktoberfest event dates back to 2012, when Jennifer Currie, then owner of On Tap magazine, pioneered a spectacle of tiny dogs racing against each other in DC’s Navy Yard. Over the subsequent ten years, Currie’s concept—now known as the Wiener 500—has emerged as a furry fall tradition.

Hot dog! Photo courtesy of the Wharf.
Hot dog! Photo courtesy of the Wharf.

 

Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.