Breed-Specific Dog Meetups Offer Dogs and Owners Fun and Camaraderie

Likewise, the Great Dane Meetups work well because all of the participants are the same size. “Since Danes are bigger and playing with a Dane is rougher at times, smaller dogs don’t really ‘get it’ when Danes are just playing,” Reed explains. Fellow Great Dane Meetup member Shan Leatherman agrees. “It’s great when they can be active and run with dogs their own size. Plus, like any other dogs, they all need exercise — and who better to hang with than other Great Danes!”

Meetups provide a good outlet for humans to interact as well and meet like-minded people in their community. Although, as Reed points out, “Most of the Dane owners know the names of other dogs before they know the names of the other dog owners!”

Not Just Fun and Games

While the social aspect of the Meetups is a big draw for many participants, there are also educational and philanthropic benefits of belonging to the group.

Smushed Face Breed Meet up
Credit: Nancy Hassell
A pile of Pugs and French Bulldogs at the Smushed Face Dog Meetup Super Bowl party

“The nice thing about the Meetup platform and group is that any member can suggest, initiate or start a meeting,” Reed says. “We provide a discussion section where members can post questions, concerns and tips and respond to those questions.”

Lehrman adds that members in her group often talk about and share information relating to issues specific to the smushed face breeds.

Because animal welfare is a concern for many pet owners, some groups also make it a point to give back to the community.

On Super Bowl Sunday, the dogs and their humans from Lehrman’s group converged upon a local Petco to cheer their teams to victory and raise money for local rescues. Nancy Hassel, founder and president of Long Island Pet Professionals, attends Lehrman’s events. “At many of them, the group takes donations, so they are little fundraising events,” she says.

In May, the Smushed Face Dog Meetup will get together for “May Day for Mutts,” where they will collect supplies and money for area shelters.

No matter what their reason for joining, participants say it's always a good time. “It’s fun to watch your own dog having a blast with other dogs,” Leatherman says. “There’s a certain amount of joy inside that says, ‘We had a good day!’”


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