For the third year in a row, an Old English named Chile has won the Running of the Bull(dog)s.
Four-year-old Chile handily won the race, part of the 17th annual Bulldog Picnic — a fundraiser and meetup for Winnipeg bulldog lovers.
"It feels great, he loves this stuff," said owner Nikki Giesbrecht after Chile raced right toward her, clinching an easy win.
Because of his breed he can breathe a little easier than some other dogs, which helps with his racing speed, she said.
"I'm very proud," said her husband Derek Giesbrecht. "I always pretend like I don’t care that much, but before the race, (Nikki) had to check my pulse, because I was hyperventilating, 'He’s got to win, he’s got to go for three.'," he said.
"My friends were making fun of us, like how fast can a bulldog really be? Well, faster than me."
Running of the bulldogs. https://t.co/cI9w0fgmM8— Tessa Vanderhart (@tessavanderhart) September 15, 2019
Nikki trains with him every day, including advanced obedience, even running on a treadmill. It’s become a passion for the dog and human pair.
"He is a very loving, sweet boy but obviously has a crazy side, because of how he loves to work and train," Nikki said.
The annual Bulldog Picnic is also a chance for Chile to visit with his dad Rudy. But 28 C of bright sunshine on the green at race time meant some bulldogs didn’t make it out Sunday — some have trouble panting to cool off at high temperatures. A couple of puppy pools were placed around the green at the Red River Exhibition Grounds to refresh participating pups.
Co-organizers Ronnie Harris and Charlene Comeau said it’s easy to fall in love with bulldogs.
"They’re quirky and stubborn and they all have a different personality. They have this funny way of bringing people together and making friends you never would have crossed paths with otherwise," said Comeau.
The annual picnic is to get bulldog owners together, but they’re also hoping to raise up to $1,000 to support dog rescues through the Bulldog Club of Canada. At least 60 dogs and 130 humans turned out.
"The events are for educating and promoting the breed, letting people know that bulldogs are not unhealthy dogs, and they’re not dogs that can’t do anything," Comeau said.
The racing of the bulldogs helps dispel the myth that they’re lazy or stubborn, Harris said.
"They can run," Comeau said.
"But it’s also a comedy of errors," Harris added. "It’s just a fun event, because some bulldogs don’t run, when they get in (the race) they’re like ‘ooh.’ That’s why it’s the highlight of the whole (race)."
Tessa Vanderhart is interested in everything, but especially local news, health policy and statistics.