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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  • zaks
    zaksThursday, November 19, 2020 at 8:48 am
    Those dogs aren't that ugly. Some of them are actually kinda cute.
    • gold3nglare
      gold3nglareWednesday, November 18, 2020 at 9:18 am
      Those poor dogs. No dog is ugly, they are all unique. This is super rude. i think that all those dogs are adorable!
      • superstar690
        superstar690Friday, November 13, 2020 at 10:40 am
        No dog is ugly it is best in ather why 🐶
        • animereina2021
          animereina2021Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at 7:40 pm
          There is no such thing as an ugly dog at all! I like how they do it to celebrate imperfections in a dog... But I wouldn't call them ugly though.
          • ghost_official
            ghost_officialMonday, June 15, 2020 at 8:59 pm
            I want to love ALL of these doggies 🐶
            • searchlight
              searchlightThursday, May 7, 2020 at 10:25 am
              Some of the dogs looked different from other dogs but there not ugly!
              • sydney_zepp
                sydney_zeppSunday, November 22, 2020 at 1:21 pm
                I know! God made them the way they are for a good reason😊
              • air_rain_cloud9
                air_rain_cloud9Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 8:06 am
                I,m an animal lover so to me, no animals are ugly. :)
                • zeldarules
                  zeldarulesThursday, April 2, 2020 at 7:47 am
                  All dogs are cute!
                  • animereina2021
                    animereina2021Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 12:45 pm
                    In my opinion, there is no ugly dog in the dog world... All dogs are cute in their own way.
                    • 778787878787
                      778787878787Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at 11:08 am
                      that is allot of money 1,500 dollors