Fact: every dog is absolutely adorable. Even the ones who are bald and shriveled and look like baby Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2 are still extremely lovable. All they have to do is look up at you with those big brown eyes begging for cuddles and attention, and you feel that familiar, uncontrollable urge to cradle them in your arms and tell them what a gift they are to the universe.
Ugly dogs are so cute, in fact, that since all the way back to the 1970s, the California city of Petaluma has been hosting a World’s Ugliest Dog Contest as part of the Sonoma-Marin Fair. The annual contest, which typically takes place in the fourth week of June, crowns one lucky canine as “The World’s Ugliest Dog.” The winner’s human gets $1,500, a trophy, and a free trip to New York City.
The contest has gotten an increasing amount of media speculation over the years, as the winning pup always goes viral, as dog-lovers everywhere pour in to celebrate the ugly beauty of the pup. Despite how mean-spirited the name of the contest sounds, its official website says that the event “celebrates the imperfections that make all dogs special and unique,” and “speaks to the importance of advocating for the adoration of all animals and the benefits of adopting,” especially since most of the contestants are rescues.
For what it’s worth, the dogs almost certainly don’t care that they don’t fit conventional beauty standards. As higher beings, they are above such trivial concerns. So read on to meet the dogs that are so ugly they’re actually cute. And for more on the scientific reason we love dogs no matter how they look, check out Here’s the Age When Cute Puppies Are At Their Cutest.
Sadly, Zsa Zsa, the English bulldog who won the 2018 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest, died just weeks after receiving her crown. She was 9 years old. Even though she is gone, she will be loved forever. For proof of the fact that dog’s are our greatest guardians, See the Arizona Diamondbacks Honor Dog Who Saved Owner from a Rattlesnake.
In 2017, Martha, a a 125-pound Neopolitan Mastiff, was crowned the winner of the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest, thanks to her big, flappy jowls.
Hey may not have won, but this Keith Richards lookalike was a finalist for the contest in 2018.
Wild Thang was another contestant in the contest that year, but he was just too cute! If you find yourself using baby-talk with these pups, there’s a scientific reason behind it. For more on this, check out Here’s Why You Should Talk to Your Dog Like It’s a Baby.
Scamp won second place due to his scrappy appearance.
In 2016, this 17-year-old Chinese crested chihuahua took home the grand prize. And if you want to decipher what their expressions actually mean, read 19 Things Your Dog Is Trying to Tell You.
This little buddy is not a morning doggo. Want more funny dog content? Check out how This Dog Stole Its Owner’s GoPro and Made the Funniest Video Ever.
In 2015, the aptly named Quasi Modo won “World’s Ugliest Dog” for his boxy little body.
Duchess Roberta does not like surprises. For more heartwarming proof of canine loyalty, Meet the Adorable Dog That Waits for His Owner’s Train All Day Long.
The 2014 winner of “World’s Ugliest Dog” was a sweet little pup who was injured in a fire and the victim of animal abuse.
That same year, a pure-breed xoloitzcuintli named Yoda took third place. But he had already won the contest in 2011, so no hard feelings!
This ugly beauty was the winner of the 2007 contest of World’s Ugliest Dog. He died around Thanksgiving in 2013, at the age of 9. Her owner, Karen Quigley, was so inspired by the incredible pup that she wrote a children’s book about him called Everyone Loves Elmwood. And everyone does.
Tee Tee is very upset about not winning the contest.
Capone is not here for your nonsense.
Alien is smiling, don’t be fooled.
Corona is on to you.
Wiki the Dog
Wiki is protesting her walk by sitting in the sun.
Rooty has had one too many. Dogs are surprisingly easy to train. For proof of this, check out Patient Dog Politely Obeys Cafe’s No-Dog Rules, Goes Viral.
Splinter is not feeling his cone of shame.
Someone needs to pet this pup right now.
Charlie was a 2018 contestant. He is shocked he didn’t take home the crown.
Daisy, another contestant with an adorable underbite, is furious she lost.
Himsaboo is really rocking that haircut.
Hey may not have won the contest, but at least he’s got a sweet sombrero.
Ruby Roux has no feelings whatsoever about losing. She’s got her priorities straight and knows naps are very important. For more on this, check out Science Says This Is the Length of a Perfect Nap.
Josie is finally getting the glamour shots she deserves. The Chinese Crested mix took home third place. For more photos worthy of a magazine spread, check out This Dog Recreated Madonna’s Most Iconic Looks with Amazing Accuracy.
Mandanna may not have gotten a prize, but this portrait is a real winner.
Pabst, a boxer mix with an intense underbite, was the winner of the contest in 2009. He’s a great example of the fact that just because a dog looks mean, doesn’t mean he is!
A beagle/basset/boxer mix named Walle won the contest in 2013, which doesn’t even seem fair because he is inarguably adorable. Did we mention he runs sideways?
This Chinese Crested got the top prize back in 2012, but, sadly, died on Christmas Eve in 2017 in his home in England.
Gus, a one-eyed, three-legged Chinese Crested, won the contest back in 2008.
Tuna, a Chiweenie, has become an Internet celebrity due to his unique appearance, and has 1.3 million followers and a book out called, Tuna Melts My Heart.
Earl the Grump
Earl the Grump is also Internet-famous, and also has his own book out, entitled If Every Dog Has His Day, Then Where the Hell Is Mine?
Marnie is a 16-year-old Shih Tzu with over 2 million Instagram followers, who reminds everyone that it’s awesome to adopt senior dogs. And if you need a reason to bring your dog into the office, check out 25 Photos Proving Dogs Are the Best Co-Workers.
While some may think of Beanz as ugly because of his hairless body and perpetually inebriated facial expressions, his 207,000 followers adore him.
Max, a Brussels Griffon and Shih Tzu mix, does not appreciate bath time.
This puppy mill rescue, who sadly passed away, was the world’s first dog supermodel. In 2016, she married another canine celebrity, Finn, while wearing a custom gown by Marchesa and $139,000 diamond necklace, in a wedding whose proceeds went to an organization fighting against puppy mills. Some may have thought she was “ugly” because of the way her tongue flopped out of her mouth, but she’s living proof that having an imperfection doesn’t mean you can’t live your best life.
It’s rare to find an imperfect corgi, but this little lady’s exceptionally large ears and sour facial expression have earned her a place on Disapproving Corgis. For more on this amazing breed, check out 50 Corgi Facts That Will Make You Want a Corgi.
She’s not ugly. She was born this way.
This little Italian greyhound has a dental illness that caused her to lose all of her teeth except two. Her errant tongue has earned her almost 50,000 Instagram followers.
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