The Year’s Weirdest Dog Events

Posted by Melissa Halliburton

Dog parents are always looking for fun things to do with their pups, and some of us like to think outside the crate. Is yappy hour getting a little too humdrum for Fido? Are you tired of strutting your mutt in the local pet parade? If your pooch is ready to stretch his legs and mark some new territory, check out these unique, colorful, and frankly unexpected dog events around the country.

Sunriver Brewing Company K-9 Keg Pull

Sunriver, OR
Don't worry, there's no beer in those kegs! Photo by @kellyjenkinsyoga

You never know when you’ll need your dog to do something heroic, like rescuing a child from a well, alerting you when there’s a fire … or bringing you a keg of beer. If you want your pup to get a head start on fetching your favorite brewski, register for a Sunriver Brewing Company K-9 Keg Pull, one of the largest events of its kind. During the race, dogs of all sizes and abilities speed along while pulling an empty beer keg mounted on a sled or snowboard. The event takes place in February at the Village at Sunriver. Participants and spectators are encouraged to bring dog food to donate to the Humane Society of Central Oregon and be entered to win some great prizes.

Let Fido rest his weary paws in a Lodge Village Room at Sunriver Resort where he’ll receive a welcome package including bowls, a puppy pad and treats.

Frankenmuth Dog Bowl

Frankenmuth, MI
Dock jumping for (gold?) at the "Olympics for dogs." Photo by Frankenmuth River Place Shops

The Olympics for dogs? That’s exactly what the good people of Frankenmuth have created. Over time, the Frankenmuth Dog Bowl has become the largest Olympic-style dog event in the world. With close to 30 four-legged activities like a barn hunt, dock diving and herding, a Dog Bowl King and Queen, a canine cruise, and even hot air balloons, there’s something for every breed (human and canine). The Frankenmuth Dog Bowl takes place in May at River Place Shops.

Stay nearby at the pet-friendly Drury Inn & Suites Frankenmuth so you can catch all of the festivities.

The World's Ugliest Dog Contest

Petaluma, CA
Beauty is in the eye of the Bulldog holder. Photo by

Does your pup have a mug only a mother could love? Dogs around the world compete every year for the coveted title at the World’s Ugliest Dog® Contest. Mastiffs with massive jowls, English Bulldogs with extra-long tongues, and other unique mutts face off at this weird and fun competition that truly celebrates the underdogs. Even if you don’t participate, you can buy tickets to attend the event. Note that only dogs who are competing in the event are allowed, so if your pooch is just too beautiful, she’ll have to stay behind at the hotel. The World's Ugliest Dog Contest takes place in June at the Sonoma Marin Fairgrounds in Petaluma.

Make the Sheraton Sonoma County Hotel Petaluma your home base and attend all of the other events at the Sonoma-Marin Fair.

Annual Coon Dog Day Festival

Saluda, NC
Coons on parade. Photo by @bawlingbluereverend

Any festival that rewards your dog for barking at a fake raccoon belongs on this list. The Annual Coon Dog Day Festival started in 1963 as a gathering of a local coon club and has continued as a day of “celebration of dogs and their people.” Held in the tiny mountain town of Saluda, NC this quirky dog event attracts more than 10,000 people annually and includes a parade, street fair, dog judging competition, and a “treeing contest” in which the dog who bays the longest at a fake raccoon is crowned the winner. Coon Dog Day takes place in July in downtown Saluda.

Stay overnight at Saluda Mountain Lodge where you can sit by the firepit with your pup and enjoy beautiful mountain vistas.

World Dog Surfing Championships

Pacifica, CA
Surf's up at the World Dog Surfing Championship! Photo by World Dog Surfing Championships / @hmbeagle

Grab your board and catch some waves with your pooch at the World Dog Surfing Championships. This annual event offers humans and their pups the chance to compete for the top prize in a tandem surfing contest, or Fido can go it alone in the solo competition. Their two extra legs might give surf dogs an unfair advantage, but we dare you not to cheer as you watch them balance on their boards and coast through the calm surf. In addition to watching the four-legged surfers, you and your pooch can attend a pet wellness fair, a dog disc competition, a costume contest, and more. The World Dog Surfing Championship is held each August at Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica.

While you’re in Pacifica, book this beachfront, Mid-century Modern pet-friendly vacation home and enjoy unobstructed views of the ocean so your pup can dream about surfing the whole trip!

Methow Valley Doggie Dash

Winthrop, WA
Dressed to impress. Photo by Methow Trails

Held every February in Winthrop, WA, the Methow Valley Doggie Dash is a unique race for dogs and their owners. Canine/human teams adorned in creative costumes race in short heats - dogs on foot and their owners on skis - while a panel of experts judges the race. One participant will be crowned as the Best in Show Costume, and that winner will be awarded the coveted Golden Poodle Trophy. Additional category prizes include Methow Trails Dog Passes and goodies from local businesses. Ten minutes before the first heat, all participants will parade their costumes for the crowd to enjoy.

Afterward, get cozy at the dog-friendly Mt Gardner Inn which offers amazing mountain views.

Greyhounds Reach the Beach

Rehoboth Beach, DE
He reached it! Photo by BringFido/Amy

Every Columbus Day weekend, Rehoboth Beach is the destination of Greyhounds Reach the Beach. This unique annual event brings Greyhounds and Sighthounds from around the world together to celebrate. Vendors, trainers, behaviorists, adoption professionals and experts on the breed are on hand for the weekend. Local restaurants and businesses welcome the hounds, and dogs can play and make new friends on the beach. Don’t miss the Greyhound parade on the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk on Sunday.

Reserve a room for your best friend at the popular pet-friendly hotel, Residence Inn Rehoboth Beach.

Hawai’i Wiener Derby

Kaneohe, HI
Dashing through the finish line! Photo by Hawai'i Wiener Derby

Calling all Dachshunds! Sign up for the annual Hawai’i Wiener Derby at Kualoa Ranch in Kaneohe. This can't-miss canine event invites sausage dogs to compete for the title of Grand Champion by racing in multiple heats and eventually, the finals. Separate races for puppies and senior or disabled Doxies are also held. Other breeds are welcome to attend the event and cheer on their four-legged friends, dress in costume, participate in the pup parade and shop from local vendors. Proceeds benefit Dachshund Rescue & Support of Hawai’i. The Hawai’i Wiener Derby is held annually in October.

Stay nearby at the pet-friendly Paradise Bay Resort with panoramic views of the Ko'olau and Kualoa Mountains, magnificent Kaneohe Bay, Chinaman's Hat Island and the Pacific Ocean.

What's the weirdest dog event you've attended? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

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