The world wasn’t made for Dachshunds.

Being short of leg and long of torso presents a pack of everyday problems.

For one, Dachshunds have to ask for help reaching things on high shelves (“high” being loosely translated as anything in excess of a foot from the ground). They have to look up to converse with many of their fellow canines, meaning they’re forced to live in a near-constant state of neck craning.

Automatic doors begin closing before their back halves have even entered the room, sometimes requiring embarrassing automatic-door rescues, and shopping in an average store for a sweater that adequately spans the stretch of a Dachshund’s midsection is darn near impossible.

To top it off, someone saw fit to bestow the animal with the less-than-majestic moniker of “wiener dog.”

It’s a good thing Dachshunds have also been gifted with a healthy sense of self-esteem. Their high level of canine pride rivals that of their larger cousins, meaning a 10-pound Doxie won’t hesitate to tell a lumbering Labrador what’s on his mind. It also means that, while the world wasn’t made for Dachshunds, that doesn’t stop them from trying to take charge of it.

It’s this gigantic spirit that Dachshund owners will be celebrating on Sunday during the eighth annual Maine Wienerfest in Belfast.

The event brings Dachshunds — as many as 300 of them in recent years — and the humans who love them together for an afternoon of wiener-dog races, a costume contest and “wacky” competitions.

The event runs from noon to 4 p.m. at Steamboat Landing Park on the Belfast waterfront. And it’s quite the spectacle.

“You cannot go there without smiling or laughing at the sight of all these little dogs,” said Dale Kuhnert, a Friends of Belfast Parks volunteer and one of the event’s organizers.

And what better way to kick things off than a Dachshund parade around the perimeter of the park, where well-dressed dogs can promenade with pride.

Competitions take place under the big tent and include categories for longest dog, shortest dog, best wiener smile, longest tail, loudest bark, longest sit-stay and best trick.

There are also Long Dog Derby races, where Dachshunds can dash and dart to the finish line. A series of heats will culminate in a final race and an ultimate winner.

“It’s probably the most earnest of the competitions,” said Kuhnert. “But even that is a hoot, because most Dachshunds don’t run in a straight line. They just take off and run.”

In the adjacent boathouse, Dachshund experts will give lectures, and a professional dog photographer will snap photos of those camera-loving canines.

Admission costs $1, and entry into individual competitions is also $1. And while the fees won’t break the bank, they will go straight to the dogs. Wienerfest is a fundraiser for Friends of Belfast Parks, but the proceeds from this event are dedicated to the maintenance of the town’s dog park, so all of Belfast’s breeds will benefit.

Wienerfest is “a celebration of everything wonderful about Dachshunds,” said Kuhnert. But it’s for the people too, who swap stories and share their common interest in a little dog with a big personality.

When Dachshund owners get hungry, they can hit the specialty hot dog stand. (What else would one serve at Wienerfest?) More than 21 different toppings will be available, so hot dog diners can design their own edible creation.

Here’s hoping those lively long-bodied Dachshunds also have a sense of humor.

Staff Writer Shannon Bryan can be contacted at 791-6333 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: mainetoday