Like all great ideas, it started small, and then grew legs.
A throw-away line at a play date about a dog event in the Hunter region that could attract a few hundred people and their pets.
But, Dachshtober Longdog Festival has become so much more and, on 15 October, the event is expected to race into the record books.
Celebrating the Dachshund dog breed and all the traits their owners believe make it stand above the rest, the one-day extravaganza is expected to attract more than 4,000 people to Paterson.
“We never thought it’d be so popular,” says event organiser Leesa Fairclough.
Leesa and her Dachshunds Frank, Penny and Molly had been meeting like-minded dog-lovers once a month at an off-leash park in Thornton before the group began regularly conversing on a social media page.
Then, at a birthday party for one of the four-legged friends in the park, the idea of a festival took shape.
“They’re an amazing breed and everyone loves sausage dogs,” Leesa says.
“We were commenting about how popular they’re becoming.
“We call them little lions because their personalities are bigger than their size.
“Somewhere in that conversation we said, ‘what about a festival for Dachshunds’.”
The inaugural 2022 event, at Four Pines in Pokolbin, drew more than 2,000 humans and 3,000 dogs.
“We had Dachshund owners coming from as far as Melbourne, some from Port Macquarie…it was amazing,” Leesa told the Newcastle Weekly.
This year it promises to be even bigger.
“We’ve got races planned, fancy dress, market stalls, pamper pooch stations, cooking demos and vet info sessions.”
The Dachshtober Longdog Festival does have a serious side, however.
Aside from bringing together owners of sausage dogs from all over the country, event organisers hope to raise awareness and funds for the research of IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease), prevalent in the Dachshund breed.
IVDD is an age-related, degenerative spine condition in which dogs suffer disc problems from when they are young adult dogs.
In cases of IVDD a dog’s spine loses flexibility and bone spurs may pinch a nerve root, causing pain or weakness.
The 2023 Dachshtober Longdog Festival will also be home to a record-breaking attempt, as organisers hope to beat the Guinness World Record for the largest number of sausage dogs at one event.
“We’re hoping to get 4,000 dogs at this year’s event so we can break the record,” Leesa says.
She is doing her bit just by being the owner of three of her own.
“One Dachshund is never enough,” she says.
The Dachshtober Longdog Festival will take place in the grounds of Tocal Agricultural College on Sunday 15 October from 10am to 4pm.
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