When Americans think of German recreational activities, they probably think about beer gardens, outdoor techno clubs, and to a lesser extent, badminton.

Nothing wrong with those. But the burning question remains: Is there anything in Germany (or anywhere, really) as fun as a good, old-fashioned pug race?

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From Berlin to Hannover to Esslingen, German pugs hit the grass this summer. Sometimes the races were arranged as part of international Pug Meetups and other informal meetings, but others were just races.

Pugs, which don't have the reputation of being the most athletic of dogs, make for inherently funny competitors. And by the looks of these contestants -- some of which are merely standing in the middle of the track -- the pressure isn't exactly on.

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  • German Pug Races

    Three pugs play with each other at the international Pug Meeting in Berlin, Germany, on July 14. About 50 pugs took part in a race during the festival. (Stephanie Pilick, EPA)

  • German Pug Races

    Pug dogs race down the race track at the pug race in Esslingen, Germany, on Sept. 2. Seventy dogs took part in the first pug and bulldog race. The fastest pug ran 50m (about 164 feet) in 5.03 seconds. (Franziska Kraufmann, EPA)

  • German Pug Races

    Pug Gismo is held up by its owner at the pug race in Esslingen, Germany, on Sept. 2. Seventy dogs took part in the first pug and bulldog race. The fastest pug ran 50m in 5.03 seconds. (Franziska Kraufmann, EPA)

  • German Pug Races

    Pugs Willi, left, and Emma are held up by their owner at the pug race in Esslingen, Germany, on Sept. 2. Seventy dogs took part in the first pug and bulldog race. The fastest pug ran 50m in 5.03 seconds. (Franziska Kraufmann, EPA)

  • German Pug Races

    Pug Gismo runs during a pug race at the international Pug Meeting in Berlin, Germany, on July 14. About 50 pugs took part in the race during the festival. (Stephanie Pilick, EPA)

  • German Pug Races

    Pug Karl runs at a pug race during the International Pug Meeting in Berlin, Germany, on July 14. About 50 pugs took part in the race during the festival. (Stephanie Pilick, EPA)

  • German Pug Races

    A pug bites into the trousers of his owner at the international Pug Meeting in Berlin, Germany, on July 14. (Stephanie Pilick, EPA)

  • German Pug Races

    Pug Karl runs after his owner at a pug race during the International Pug Meeting in Berlin, Germany, on July 14. About 50 pugs took part in the race during the festival. (Stephanie Pilick, EPA)

  • German Pug Races

    A pug dog takes part in the pug dog race in Hanover, Germany, on May 27. The race features a small parcours for slalom, jumps and a bridge. Keeper and dog have to go through the parcours together. (Julian Stratenschulte, EPA)