By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport

SCENE & HEARD: Who would ever think besides being adorable that wiener dogs are proud little puppies to boot?

At last count there were 80 applications from owners to take part in next weekend’s Wiener Dog extravaganza at Hastings: five heats Saturday and three more Sunday leading up to the almighty Top Dog championship final.

Why so many anxious owners wanting to get their darling daschunds into the competition this year?

“Call it pride,” says one wiener dog owner. “A lot of us came out to see the English bulldogs run for the first time at Hastings last month and showed our puppies the races on YouTube. They weren’t pleased.”

Wiener dog races were introduced locally as a one-day event several years ago. In short, stubby time (to put it into wiener dog terms) the attraction became so popular it spilled into back-to-back days between live thoroughbred races and thus Wiener Dog Weekend was born.

Track announcer Dan Jukich introduced the phrase “Ladies & Gentlemen, Start Your Wieners” and cleverly came up with “And the Wiener Is …” during the trophy presentations upon the completion of the Top Dog championship final.

The craziness took off from there. Last year 3-year-old Max (short for Maximilian) was crowned champion and his owner – Starbucks store manager Susanne Rheinschmitt – shared a secret with journalist Maia Odegaard in the current edition of Vancouver Magazine.

“Max loves his Chuckit ball,” Susanne said. “You could walk him by a rib-eye steak and nothing would deter him. That’s the ace in our back pocket … don’t forget the Chuckit.”

Max will be facing tough competition against the likes of Oscar Mayer, Boris, Abigail Lambourgweeni, Bo Derek and Cecil The Sausage.

Jot down the dates: Wiener Dog Weekend July 14 & 15 with five heats Saturday and three Sunday before it’s “wiener take all” in the grand finale.