Get to know the world of pup and handler play

Handler Zeo and pup Luca stand back to back on a white background.
Handler Zeo and pup Luca from Q-PAH (supplied)

Pup and handler play is quite visible on the LGBTQIA+ scene but most aren’t aware of what it’s all about. We chatted to pup Luca and handler Zeo to understand more about the community. 

If you’ve been out on the scene or at a pride event in recent years, you may have seen attendees wearing pup hoods. 

For anyone not involved in their community, you may be intrigued by what it is or have some of your own preconceptions. 

I sat down with Zeo (handler) and Luca (pup) from Queensland Pups & Handlers Inc to understand more about it. 

When I ask them to describe what it is, it’s clear there’s no one defining answer. 

“It’s really specific to the person, everyone experiences it in different ways. You get pups who put their hoods on and it’s 100% sex and then you get the other end, which I’m close to, which is a different headspace. So you kind of get to zone out and be someone else and switch off and just be silly,” Luca tells me. 

For Zeo, who is a handler, it started around five years ago from the more sexual side but has evolved to be more about the bond he has with his partner pup and nurturing others. 

“I definitely came from the more sexual side, then I started getting exposed to the more dynamic side of things, caring, nurturing side of thing,” he says

“With a few of my pups, it’s more me just taking care of them, making sure they aren’t stressing out over the daily concerns and helping them do what I can to support them.”


Luca, who has been in the pup scene for three years, explains that he doesn’t have a handler but belongs to a group with a distinct pecking order.

“We’ve got a pack where you’ve got an alpha who’s similar to a handler, but they’re a pup themselves,” he says.

“The alpha is more the caregiver, the betas are your more playful, bratty and cheeky and then your omegas, they’re more like they’re there to serve. The others that do whatever they can to provide to the group.”


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A post shared by Luca (@puplucaqld)


The pair tell me that myths of it being purely sexual have started to become less as the community has become more visible.

“People aren’t hiding it as much as they used to,” Luca says. 

This isn’t just happening out on the scene, social media has had a positive impact allowing people to feel more comfortable showing this side of themselves.

“People are creating profiles to do with their persona, or their handler persona, and putting themselves out there a lot more, depending on which site you use,” Zeo explains

Title holders

The pair aren’t just pup and handlers in their own world, they are part of the committee of Queensland Pup and Handlers Inc. (Q-PAH). 

They are also title holders with Zeo the Queensland Handler 2023 and Luca Queensland Pup 2023. 

Luca also competed in the national contest and took out the title, becoming Australian Puppy 2023 as well.

However, the win had some unexpected consequences. After being tagged on Facebook with his victory, his parents saw the pics and had some questions to ask.

“My dad rang me and asked ‘So, what was this competition?’” Luca tells me. 

“I was like ‘It’s a puppy thing’ and I explained that you basically just put on the pup hood and it’s a headspace to relax and he was like ‘yeah ok’ and accepting.”



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A post shared by Luca (@puplucaqld)

Through our chat, the pair have quick side conversations about committee meetings and events coming up because like any community it takes a lot to organise. 

The Q-PAH group has over 50 members and holds many events including the aptly named dinner and walkies. It’s a social event but also a chance to be visible as a group in a safe environment. 

While MOSH at The Sportsman Hotel is a place to relax on foam mats, a ball pit and toys. It’s also open to everyone with many drag queens also joining in. 

And even though pup and handler play is associated with gay men, the pair tell me it’s much more mixed.

“There’s so many different types of people. There’s trans, non-binary and straight,” Zeo says. 

Before Luca proudly adds: “We’re the most diverse kink club in Brisbane”

If you are interested in finding out more about the group visit

Read next:

Here’s 20 Proud Pups Celebrating Pride Month Around The World

My year of being Mr Bear Queensland

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Dale Roberts

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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