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Pets

Pugs vs dachshunds: ultimate face-off in Hong Kong charity dog race

City’s first Doggie Dash race will see two breeds hardly renowned for their speed vying for the title of Hong Kong’s fastest, while promoting animal adoption and raising funds for Hong Kong Dog Rescue

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 April, 2018, 12:15pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 April, 2018, 12:15pm

Every year, sadly even in the Chinese Year of the Dog, thousands of abandoned pets are euthanised in Hong Kong. According to figures from the government’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD), 2,263 dogs and cats were put down in 2016, while the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) euthanised 1,685 animals in 2015-16.

The figures upset animal-lover Marilyn Ho so much that she decided to do something about it.

She set up the city’s first Doggie Dash, a race scheduled for April 15 in Sheung Wan that will see up to 100 dogs sprint a 20-metre course, all vying for the title of Hong Kong’s fastest pug or dachshund (yes, just the two breeds).

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The dash is raising funds for Hong Kong Dog Rescue (HKDR), a charity that seeks to save dogs from government animal management centres. Since its founding in 2003, HKDR has saved more than 7,000 dogs.

Ho has a personal connection with the charity. “I have always wanted to give back to Hong Kong Dog Rescue, the charity that saved my two adopted dogs, and thought a community event would be a fun way to raise much-needed funds for the organisation. The only expectations we have for the day are to bring the community together and raise awareness for animals in need of a home,” she says.

“Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong households keep dogs or cats, so it is clearly a pet-loving city. But there is also a staggeringly high abandonment rate. I think being an animal-lover means showing support for organisations that look out for the health and well-being of these animals.”

According to a 2016 online survey by market research firm GfK, 14 per cent of Hong Kong households have a dog while 10 per cent own cats.

“I own an elderly pug and event co-organiser Angelina Shin-Manley owns a one-year-old dachshund,” says Ho on why she selected the two breeds for the race. “But honestly, what is there not to love about these two breeds?”

Ho hopes the event will highlight animal welfare in the city. “I’m a firm believer of the ‘adopt don’t shop’ motto.”

The event will have a maximum of 50 pugs and 50 dachshunds, with race registration open from 12.30pm-1.30pm. Races start at 2pm on Tai On Terrace in Sheung Wan.

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Spectator admission is free. The racing fee for each dog is HK$130. Registration details can be found here.