9 Pet Races You Might Want to Host Yourself

Forget heading to the track to catch the horses, instead, grab your pets and some fellow pet owners and throw your own races right at home. Need a little inspiration? Here are a few great pet races:


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This is one of the biggest pet racing sports around, in part because it’s sponsored by a major corporation: Wienerschnitzel. While smaller wiener races take place around the nation throughout the year, the biggest event, by far, is the annual Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals in California.


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Here’s another pet race with a big company behind it –the National Chihuahua Races, which are sponsored by PetCo. Unfortunately, it seems the company stopped sponsoring the event after the fifth annual competition, which was back in 2009. Sorry all you Chihuahua owners, I guess you’ll have to just organize and participate in your own city-wide races instead.


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While most small pet races involve putting the animals right on the track and letting them run wild, hamster racing more closely resembles NASCAR as the hamsters are actually put inside wheels that push along little tiny racecars. While not all of the races involve the cars –some just use balls, but the cars really do bring up the cute level drastically.

Oddly, while hamster racing is generally just a fun pet racing contest, it actually became a real gambling sport in England after a severe foot and mouth disease outbreak led to the cancellation of most horse races in 2001.

If you’re looking to get in on the action, PetCo hosts small, biannual hamster races in most of their stores, but if you’re planning to bet your paycheck, you’ll have to do it with your friends on the sly.


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The cool thing about mouse racing is that it can be as simple or as complicated as event organizers desire. Some people build massive, elaborate tracks, others build obstacle courses and some just put them on a flat track and let them run wild. This video features a good blend of the many possible varieties of mouse racetracks by offering a straight track with a few minor obstacles.

Guinea Pigs

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Cavy racing is a pretty small sport that’s not very well organized. In face, most of the races are between two pets belonging to the same family –the race in the video is pretty massive in comparison. As far as I can tell though, the cream of the crop in annual Guinea pig races occurs at the Henry Lawson Festival in New South Wales, Australia.

Turtles and Tortoises

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Like guinea pig races, there are no huge organizations pushing tortoise racing, but they do still happen. The key to organizing these races is to keep the track short because you don’t want to be there all day waiting for your contestants to cross the finish line.

Hermit Crabs

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While you can always race your own pet hermit crabs, those without the shelled pets can always just book a visit from the National Crab Racing Association. The group will attend parties of all types with their highly-trained crab menagerie for your race-viewing pleasure –just pick your crab and place your bet. And don’t worry about the poor retired crabs, the group adopts out all of their ex-racers to good homes.


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While it’s easy to fall into debate on whether or not pigs count as livestock or pets, it’s pretty obvious that the pigs racing at fairs across the nation are family pets and not intended for consumption. While there are a few groups out there doing pig racing these days, the most famous is Hot Dog Pig Racing, which offers both pig and wiener dog racing. As an extra bonus, the dogs are usually dressed up like hot dogs!


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Like pig racing, it’s hard to say if this is really a pet race or livestock race, but when I see a video of sheep racing with little stuffed sheep jockeys on their back, I have a hard time leaving them out of an article like this.

Have any of your pets ever participated in a race (horses and greyhounds exempted in this case)? Mine haven’t, but I’ve gotta say, I would really love to see a chinchilla race, even if their incredible jumping skills mean it would be a logistical nightmare.

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