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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  • iris_shadowfire
    iris_shadowfireTuesday, May 11, 2021 at 8:27 am
    hmmmmm i love dogs they may be ugly towards other people but they are really adorable.
    • wolfy_blue
      wolfy_blueMonday, May 10, 2021 at 8:13 am
      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,
      • dogluver4
        dogluver4Friday, April 30, 2021 at 5:48 am
        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
          balejenu-159595771311Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 10:05 am
          They are pretty cute
          • lexi1010
            lexi1010Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 12:55 pm
            awww the dog is s cute i wish my dog was alive though
            • bobaxmilktea
              bobaxmilkteaWednesday, February 17, 2021 at 2:46 pm
              Why do people even judge dogs? Every dog is beautiful in there own way.
              • adonikus
                adonikusThursday, January 7, 2021 at 12:15 pm
                This thing should be shut down and turned into a showcase of adoptable dogs!
                • puppylover445
                  puppylover445Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 8:31 am
                  Yes! If these dogs didn't have homes, I would adopt them all!!!!
                • adonikus
                  adonikusThursday, January 7, 2021 at 12:14 pm
                  Poor thing I feel so bad for it😥
                  • themakeupkid
                    themakeupkidMonday, November 23, 2020 at 5:19 am
                    No dog is ugly every dog has it own look and smell and what they like or don't I would take all these dogs
                    • sokeefe_forever
                      sokeefe_foreverSunday, November 22, 2020 at 1:20 pm
                      Monkey is cute! And the other dogs are pretty cute too. Just because they're missing there fur doesn't mean they're ugly. The poor dogs though. I know that they are at good homes, and this is for fun, but still, they are the way they are for a reason.
                      • themakeupkid
                        themakeupkidMonday, November 23, 2020 at 5:17 am
                        Yeah monkey is cute 🐕 😊