When parents Melanie (Alicia Witt) and Phil ask their son Danny what he would like for his birthday, they are greeted with the response that every parent dreads: a dog. Danny chooses the cutest dachshund in the local shelter and lovingly names her Shelley. Quickly realising that Shelley has a special talent, Danny enters her in the most exciting competition in the town: the Hot Dog Derby. This running race pits all the fastest canines in the country against each other for a frantic dash which can only have one winner. While the pair train hard and quickly become the best of friends, it seems only one thing stands in the way between Shelley, Danny and racing to victory: the mean Ms Merryweather (Morgan Fairchild) and Princess, her champion dog.