World’s Ugliest Dog Contest awards underdogs’ inner beauty

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World’s Ugliest Dog Contest awards underdogs’ inner beauty
World’s Ugliest Dog Contest awards underdogs’ inner beauty

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.

Dane Andrew of Sunnyvale, Calif., kisses his dog, Rascal, a Chinese crested, before the start of the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair Friday, June 23, 2017, in Petaluma, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Dane Andrew of Sunnyvale, Calif., holds up his dog, Rascal, a Chinese crested, before the start of the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair Friday, June 23, 2017, in Petaluma, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Icky, left, an unknown hairless, and Zoomer, right, a Chinese crested, both from Davis, Calif., wait to compete in the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair Friday, June 23, 2017, in Petaluma, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Linda Elmquist, of Tucson, Ariz., holds up Josie, her Chinese crested mix, before the start of the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair Friday, June 23, 2017, in Petaluma, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Moe, a Brussel griffon pug, from Santa Rosa, Calif., waits to compete in the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair Friday, June 23, 2017, in Petaluma, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Martha, a Neapolitan Mastiff, from Sebastopol, Calif., waits for the start of the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair Friday, June 23, 2017, in Petaluma, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Rascal, left, a Chinese Crest, held by Dane Andrew of Sunnyvale, Calif., meets Chase, right, a Chinese Crested Harke, held by Storm Shayler, right, of Britain, before the start of the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair Friday, June 23, 2017, in Petaluma, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
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