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Seattle Chihuahua Cricket Runs for the Gold in Petco Unleashed Chihuahua Race in San Diego

Are there any Dogsters running against this little speedster? Bark in! Thanks to Anne Marie for barking in this fun story from Seattle PI. The...

Joy  |  Sep 2nd 2007


Are there any Dogsters running against this little speedster? Bark in!

Thanks to Anne Marie for barking in this fun story from Seattle PI.

The fastest Chihuahua of all
She sized up competition, beat ’em by leaps and bounds

Q: What goes 8.2 mph, weighs less than 10 pounds and runs on raw egg and tuna fish?

A: Seattle’s fastest Chihuahua.

Make that “Cricket the Human Cheetah,” beloved 4-year- old of owner Celeste Virago Lowe, who won the Seattle regional round of the Petco Unleashed National Chihuahua Race in Kirkland and advances Sunday to the final race in San Diego.

Cricket acts every bit the princess in her rhinestone collar, giant eyes moving around to take in the world around her.

While the little dogs are an increasingly common sight in Seattle, Virago Lowe says Cricket is still baffling to the other dogs she encounters.

Cricket will travel to San Diego to compete in a national speed championship.
“Big dogs don’t know what to make of her because she’s so small,” she said.

Virago Lowe, 38, of Seattle, admits that she expected nothing more than a good laugh when she entered Cricket in the local competition.

“Cricket doesn’t even sit on command. She’s a princess,” said Virago Lowe, still a bit mystified that the little dog, which sleeps under the covers of her bed and won’t eat dog food unless gravy is added, has proven herself an athlete.

“Speedy Gonzalez,” chimes in niece Bella Stribling, 13, of Mercer Island.

At the Seattle race, Virago Lowe said, she was shocked each time her dog progressed to another round. “I thought, ‘There’s no way she’s going to win the whole thing.'”

Bella was the only family member who didn’t mock Virago Lowe for attending the Seattle race earlier this year. She serves as racing coach for the pint-sized dog, holding her in the “chute” until the race begins. Virago Lowe waits at the end of the racetrack, and Cricket runs to her.

Some say Chihuahuas are just “yappy dogs,” but the animals must meet strict standards, according to the Chihuahua Club of America.

“A graceful, alert, swift-moving little dog with saucy expression, compact, and with terrierlike qualities of temperament,” is what the group’s breed standard requires of the true Chihuahua, and it goes on to spell that out in paragraph upon paragraph of detail.

Purists say that Chihuahuas are not racing dogs, like greyhounds or whippets, and Cricket’s experience proves the point.

She won her heats to beat out 200 other area Chihuahuas mostly because she was one of the few dogs that would run straight to the finish line each time.

But Daniel Luciano, the general manager of the Phoenix Greyhound Park in Arizona, doesn’t look down at the pint-sized competition.

“Dogs are dogs; they’ll run up and down,” he said. “I think they use the dachshunds and Chihuahuas because they have little legs and people get a kick out of it.”

And while 8.2 mph (35 feet in 2.9 seconds) may not seem very fast, Cricket is less than a foot long and weighs 7 pounds, so her speed is the equivalent of a car traveling more than 60 mph. (Just so you know, Luciano’s racing greyhounds clock in at about 35 mph. That’s the equivalent of a car traveling, well, 35 mph.)

Cricket’s before-race meal is a can of tuna and a raw egg. Virago Lowe said she felt that was an appropriate athlete’s breakfast.

Cricket’s straight-line-running abilities won’t be enough to win the national title, though. She’s up against 14 dogs who won in other cities, including the two past national champs.

Virago Lowe and her niece say Cricket has already won the big prize: the all-expenses-paid trip to San Diego for the two of them.

But they think a trophy calling Cricket the fastest Chihuahua in the United States would be great.

Follow this link to read the rest of the article.

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