On Friday, June 20th, 29 dogs along with their doting owners came to Petaluma, Californian to participate in a rather unusual competition - one that seeks out and honors the World's Ugliest Dog'. Now in its 26th year, the contest is one of the biggest attractions at the annual Sonoma-Marin Fair.
Among the leading contenders were Cupcake, a Pug/Poodle/Maltese mix who was adopted from a local dog rescue center in January and Shorty, a Lab/Corgi mix who would have been put to sleep, had it not been picked up by its current owner. Also competing was 11-year-old veteran Grovie. Described by his owner as short and funny, the Chinese Pug is a local resident who has participated in this contest several times. Then there was 2002 'World's Ugliest Dog' and 'Ring of Champions' winner, Rascal. The 7lbs naturally hairless pooch with very few teeth, comes from an impressive pedigree - his grandfather Chi Chi, holds the Guinness World Record for winning the 'World's Ugliest Dog' title, seven times!
But all these impressively 'ugly' dogs had no chance against Peanut who flew in all the way from Greenville, North Carolina. The two-year-old shelter dog was badly burnt in a fire which caused him to lose his lips, most of his body hair and eyelids. As a result, his eyes constantly water. Add some sharp teeth to the mix and you get an ominous looking pooch. Of course his loving owner Holly Chandler believes that all these unusual features just add to Peanut's persona. In addition to winning the prestigious title, $1,500 USD in cash and a large trophy, the first time entrant also enjoyed an all-expenses paid trip to New York City where he made scheduled appearances on the Today Show and the Jimmy Kimmel Show.
Though the competition may seem derogatory to some people, it is a fun event organized by an animal psychiatrist who vets the dogs before the event to ensure they are healthy, and also has a 'pep' or should we say 'pet' talk to confirm they are happy and well-taken care of. The competition is also an excellent way to honor these pooches, many of whom owe their unusual looks to human abuse. But most importantly, it raises awareness for their adoption by showing the world that physical detractions do not prevent dogs from becoming loving pets.
Resources: sonoma-marinfair.org, abcnews.go.com,cbsnews.com,dailymail.co.uk