The World’s Ugliest Dog Contest is an annual event held in Petaluma, California. It is a celebration of the unusual and often eccentric appearance of dogs who do not meet traditional beauty standards.
Dogs of all breeds, shapes, and sizes are welcome to compete, and the winner is selected by the reaction of the crowd. Some of the previous winners have unusual physical characteristics such as excessive wrinkles, missing teeth, and patchy fur.
The contest’s goal is to create awareness about the significance of rescuing and adopting shelter dogs.
History of the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest
The World’s Ugliest Dog Contest is a yearly event that began in Petaluma, California in the 1970s. The tournament was intended to highlight the unique beauty of dogs who were not necessarily conventionally gorgeous, as well as to increase awareness for pet adoption.
The contest is judged on individual characteristics such as looks, personality, and audience reaction. The contest winner receives a trophy, a monetary prize, and a photo shoot.
Nana, a three-pound chihuahua mix with a sidelong walk, was the contest champion for three years between 1996 and 2001 and a former winner of the mutt section. She was on the cover of a RatDog record and appeared twice on The Tonight Show. She passed away in 2001.
Rascal, a 7 lb. Chinese Crested owned by actor Dane Andrew of Sunnyvale, California, won the coveted title in 2002 and is now in “The Ring of Champions”. Rascal went on to make history by winning the 2008 Oldest Ugly Dog Contest in Fort Bragg, the Tim Downs Ugly Dog Contest in 2008, the Highland Ugly Dog Contest in 2009, and the Regal Cinemas “Hotel For Dogs” Ugly Dog Contest in Florida in 2009. He had won eight Ugly Dog contests as of June 2010.
Rascal was so unattractive that Jay Leno invited him to The Tonight Show before he had even won, and he has since been on The View, Last Call with Carson Daly, and The Insider. He has been in People, Hello, Star, and has his leash line, cartoon strip, and documentary, all of which benefit animal charities.
Rascal is a direct descendent of Chi Chi, the dog who earned more World’s Ugliest Dog titles than any other dog in history, earning him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records with eight wins.
From 2003 to 2005, Sam, a blind Chinese Crested dog from Santa Barbara, California, was voted the world’s ugliest dog three times in a row. He died in November 2005, ending his three-year rule.
World’s Ugliest dog in 2006
According to marketing director Vicki DeArmon, an unidentified person gained unauthorized electronic access to the contest’s internet voting page and deleted 40,000 votes from then-leader “Pee Wee,” son of “Sam,” and 30,000 votes from second-place “Victoria” during the 2006 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest. To remedy the situation, fair officials agreed to restore internet voting entirely on May 22, 2006. On June 23, 2006, a team of judges chose Archie as the official winner. Archie passed away in July 2008.
Elwood, a Chinese Crested-chihuahua mixed-breed dog, won the World’s Ugliest Dog competition in 2007. Rascal, who won the award in 2002, went on to become the West Coast’s Ugliest Dog. Rascal is the only dog alive who has held the title of “Ring of Champions” the World’s Ugliest Dog since the deaths of Archie and Elwood. The majority of the competitors were also Chinese Crested, which can have exaggerated characteristics such as a mohawk, bug eyes, and a long, wagging tongue. On November 28, 2013, Elwood died at the age of eight.
Gus, a Chinese Crested dog, won the World’s Ugliest Dog award in 2008. The tournament featured eleven dogs. He died on November 10, 2008. He was nine years old.
The 2009 World’s Ugliest Dog competition was won by Pabst, a boxer mix owned by Miles Egstad of Citrus Heights, California; Miss Ellie, a blind 16-year-old Chinese Crested Hairless, won in the pedigree category; Pabst defeated her in a run-off for the overall title.
On June 1, 2010, Miss Ellie passed away at the age of 17.
PRINCESS ABBY 2010
The 2010 competition had 25 dogs, and Princess Abby, a chihuahua with “a slumped and odd stride because her rear legs are longer than her front (which permits her to have moments of bipedalism), a missing eye, and mismatched ears,” won. She was entered in the pedigree division despite being a rescue dog.
Yoda, a 14-year-old Chinese Crested-Chihuahua mix with small tufts of hair, a protruding tongue, and long, seemingly hairless legs who had been abandoned earlier, won the 2011 competition. The dog is owned by dog groomer Terry Schumacher and is from Hanford, California.
On March 10, 2012, Yoda passed away peacefully at her home in Hanford, California. She was 15 years old.
The 2012 winner is Mugly, an 8-year-old Chinese Crested owned by Bev Nicholson of Peterborough, England, who has a short nose, beady eyes, and several unkempt white whiskers. Mugly was the first canine from outside of America to triumph.
The winning entry in the 2013 competition was Walle, a four-year-old “huge-headed, duck-footed combination of beagle, boxer, and basset hound” from Chico, California. Walle defeated 29 other competitors. Tammie Barbee, the dog’s owner, hurriedly entered the dog in the competition.
The winner of the 2014 competition was Peanut (also known as Opossum), a 2-year-old mongrel thought to be a cross between a Chihuahua and a Shih Tzu. Holly Chandler of Greenville, North Carolina is the owner of Peanut. Chandler adopted Peanut from an animal hospital; unlike most of the participants, Peanut had physical deformities brought on by mistreatment as a puppy, including malformed lips and eyelids (which give the dog the appearance of a constant snarl) and substantial hair loss.
Quasi Modo World’s Ugliest Dog 2015
The 2015 competition was won by Quasi Modo, a 10-year-old mutt with Dutch Shepherd and pit bull ancestry, who barely edged out two Chinese Crested/Chihuahua hybrids. According to the dog’s biography, Quasi Modo was notable for its tiny stature, bent back, and large legs in comparison to its body, which caused initial misunderstanding as to whether it was a dog or a hyena. The dog was rescued from a shelter by its unidentified Loxahatchee, Florida, owner.
SweePee Rambo 2016
After placing last the previous two years, SweePee took first place in the 2016 competition. And she managed to do it without the aid of an open sore.
The 2017 competition was won by Martha, a 3-year-old Neapolitan Mastiff owned by Shirley Dawn Zindler of Sebastopol, California. She weighed 125 pounds and had abnormally loose and floppy jowls.
ZSA ZSA 2018
Zsa Zsa, an English bulldog with an underbite and an extremely long, droopy tongue, won the competition in 2018.
SCAMP THE TRAMP 2019
Scamp the Tramp, a mutt rescued from the streets of Compton, California, with unkempt hair that turns into dreadlocks and short legs, won the 2019 contest; his owner, Yvonne Morones, also owned Nana when she won the award.
The 2020 competition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2021 competition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr.HAPPY FACE World’s Ugliest Dog 2022
Mr. Happy Face, a hairless Chinese crested-Chihuahua mix rescued from a hoarder’s home and adopted from an Arizona shelter, won the 2022 competition.