PETALUMA, Calif. (AP) – Homely hounds and their humans walked down a one-of-a-kind runway Friday night at the annual World’s Ugliest Dog Contest, where dog lovers celebrate the imperfections of man’s best friend.
Many of the contestants are adopted. Monkey, a 6-year-old Brussels Griffon, and Icky, an 8-year-old unknown breed, were both rescued from the homes of hoarders.
These dogs – some with acne, others with tongues permanently sticking out – are used to getting called ugly. But for their owners, it was love at first sight.
“He’s my sexy boy,” Vicky Adler, of Davis, California, said of her 8-year-old Chinese Crested named Zoomer.
At 16 years old, Moe, a Brussels Griffon and pug, is this year’s most senior contestant. He has lost his hearing and sight but his sense of smell is strong and he was enjoying all the smells the fairground offered – including funnel cakes and other fried goodies.
The pooches faced off in a red carpet walk and “Faux Paw Fashion Show.” The contestants are judged on first impressions, unusual attributes, personality and audience reaction.
A blind Chihuahua-Chinese Crested mix named Sweepee Rambo bested 16 other ugly entries in last year’s competition and waddled away with $1,500, a trophy and a flight to New York with her owner for media appearances.
Besides the main crown, the Spirit Award is presented to a dog and owner who have overcome obstacles or provide service to their community, organizers said.
This is the 29th year the contest is being held at the Sonoma-Marin Fair.