Pugs Run Amuck in Del Mar

At 22, the Pug Party in Del Mar is venerable. Not to mention dang cute.

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FOLDY, SNARFLY FUN: Dogs have been gathering for millennia, but actual people-planned meet-ups, by breed, are a much newer phenomenon. And while every breed has their true-hearted champions, those people who organize and plan the canine-sweet get-togethers, it is hard to outdo Pug people. It just is. Not only are annual Pug meet-ups some of the most venerable and long-running -- look to the famous one in Central Park for further proof -- but they're apt to get a coveted spot on the evening news. Why is that? Science shouldn't devote too many dollars to studying this: The fact is the snarfly, flat-snouted, roly-poly wonders make good visuals, especially when they're dolled up in gingham like Dorothy or in a white, sparkly jumpsuit a la Elvis. And you just might see both of those costumes on a small, curly-tailed dog if you're at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on Saturday, May 4.

22 YEARS: The San Diego-area Pug Party deserves its long-standing dog-gathering crown, definitely. After all, it has been rounding up the foldy-skinned Fidos for over two decades and putting on one of California's best known pup romps. The theme of this year's gathering is Superheroes, so there will be plenty of capes in the crowd. But if you want to show with your Pug au naturelle, you certainly can. Admission is ten bucks for adults, five for kids. You'll need to show with some vaccination info, too, so read about that before Del-Mar-ing it.

While the day is filled with contests and cameras -- oh yes, this is a Facebooker's dream, you bet -- there will be a vet tech around doing nail-clipping and such. Whyever you go, we think the dog meet-up is healthy not just for playing pooches for humans, too. Seeing thirty or forty Pugs all in one place? That's good for the heart. Nope, that isn't a medical opinion, but it is a human one.

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