California's "Ugliest Dog" Contest Celebrates Imperfections

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A contest to crown “The World’s Ugliest Dog” may appear to be derogatory to dogs. However, that is not the intention of the organizers of the Sonoma-Marin Fair where the popular event has been held for the past 28 years. They view the unusual event as a celebration of the spirit and imperfections that make the dogs loveable and adoptable.

Among the 17 spirited dogs that strutted across the red carpet on June 23 was second-time entrant Katana. The seven-year-old miniature wire-haired Dachshund, who now lives with her mom in Santa Rosa, CA, was rescued from a cage at a pet store in Japan. She loves to eat and steal and hide her owner’s belongings.

Icky (Photo Credit:

Also in contention was Icky. Rescued from an animal hoarder in Butte County, CA the “ugly” dog has helped raise over 10,000 USD for AIDS-related charities and also been featured in various movies, commercials, magazines, and newspapers.

Then there was Josie, a Chinese-Crested mix from Tucson, AZ. The six-year-old who was rescued from a puppy mill farm spends her days helping foster dogs adjust to their new life.

Monkey (Photo Credit:

There was also Monkey, a three-year-old Chinese Crested/Brussels Griffon. The fearless pooch that was removed from a hoarding situation enjoys being the center of attraction whenever he goes to dog parks.

But though all the dogs were winners in their own right, there could be only one “World’s Ugliest Dog.” That honor, which came with a large trophy and a $1,500 USD cash prize, went to 2015 runner-up, Sweepee Rambo. The four-pound Chihuahua/Chinese Crested miniature dog with a snazzy blond mohawk impressed both the judges and audience with her lolling tongue and hairless coat.

“World’s Ugliest Dog” – Sweepee Rambo ( Photo Credit:

Josie was named runner-up, while Rue, another Chinese-Crested pooch from Linden, CA came in third place. First-time entrant Rooby Roux, went home with the Spirit Award. Established in 2015, it honors dogs that have overcome obstacles. Given that Roux lost her original owner to a debilitating disease and her eyesight to glaucoma, she certainly deserved it. The good news is that the new family adores her and is even trying to get her vision restored.

Rooby Roux (Photo Credit:

Of course, while these unconventional looking dogs have found loving families, there are scores more that are not as fortunate. The fair organizers hope that this contest will help people realize that even the not-so-perfect pooches can be as loving and loyal as their better-looking counterparts, and encourage more people to adopt them.

Resources: Sonoma

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  • amelia_grl
    amelia_grl6 months
    It's not ugly at all! It's cute in a different way!
    • swiftie13
      swiftie138 months
      its sorta cute but ugly
      • stoff_chin
        stoff_chin8 months
        Don't judge a book bye it's cover! I'm sure he's really sweet on the inside.
        • norahc2303
          norahc23039 months
          Don't judge dogs for how they look
          • songunicorn17
            songunicorn17almost 2 years
            It is cute!!
            • iris_shadowfire
              iris_shadowfireover 2 years
              hmmmmm i love dogs they may be ugly towards other people but they are really adorable.
            • wolfy_blue
              wolfy_blueover 2 years
              I don't get why they do these kind of contests. It's just rude and it's not funny. Just because people and dogs have imperfections doesn't mean they are ugly, all I see on a dog with imperfections is beauty, and cuteness and that's what makes them unique and it's not their fault theat they have imperfections,
              • norahc2303
                norahc23039 months
                Seriously what if you were being judged by someone how would you feel ? dogs are cute in general !!!
              • dogluver4
                dogluver4over 2 years
                Dogs with fur are cute these are ugly Just kidding a dog with fur is cute and yes a dog without fur isn't as pretty but it doesn't mean their ugly it means there unique
                • balejenu-159595771311
                  They are pretty cute
                  • lexi1010
                    lexi1010over 2 years
                    awww the dog is s cute i wish my dog was alive though