Meet the Nine Dogs Competing to Win the Title of World's Ugliest Dog

Their imperfections only make them more lovable.

Don't let the mean-spirited title fool you. The goal of the World's Ugliest Dog contest—which is held every year in Petaluma, California—is to get more dogs adopted. The well-intentioned competition serves to remind people that just because these dogs may have faces only a puppy mom could love, that doesn't mean they don't deserve a forever home.

The contest has gotten a lot of attention in recent years, as the winning pup tends to win the hearts of everyone on the internet. So if you want to get a head start on falling in love with these adorable creatures, read on to meet the nine very good boys and girls who are in the running to become the World's Ugliest Dog on June 21, 2019.


world's ugliest dog contest
Will Bucquoy

Josie was born in a puppy mill, where she spent the first two years of her life before being rescued by Saving Animals from Euthanasia (SAFE). Thanks to the organization, she met her foster mom, Linda, who was so taken by her wonderful personality that she decided to give the pup a forever home. "This is my eighth time coming to Petaluma for the World's Ugliest Dog Contest," reads Josie's bio on the website for the competition. "It is my favorite thing to do, next to laying around in the sun in Tucson, Arizona, my home."


world's ugliest dog contest 2019
Will Bucquoy

Teetee is a Chinese Crested mix who lived on the streets and belonged to a homeless man. Sadly, she was eventually put in a shelter. "I was up for adoption for months, but alas, no one wanted me," her bio reads. "I guess I am just not cute enough."

Luckily, Linda also fell in love with her "wonderful spirit," "great sense of humor," and "cute little tongue"—and now she's making her second appearance at the contest with her foster sister Josie!


world's ugliest dog contest
Will Bucquoy

When Tostito's owner, Molly, first met him in 2017, he was in pretty bad shape. Having come from a high kill shelter in Tennessee, he was extremely underweight and his ears were in bad condition. He also has no teeth or lower jaw due to a previous lack of dental care, as well as drinking dirty water. This will be the senior dog's first year in the competition, and he can't wait!

"It has been the best experience of my life watching him go from a terrified, shy dog to a spunky, sassy boy," Molly said. "Being his owner has been the greatest privilege in my entire life."


world's ugliest dog contest
Will Bucquoy

This sweet senior dog has had a rough life. Before being rescued at the age of nine, he lived on the streets of Mexico and was hit in the face by a car, which resulted in the loss of his right eye. Now that he's found a forever home, those days are all behind him, and his life now consists of snuggles and playtime with his 9-year-old human brother and 3-year old canine sister.

"He's dapper, dignified, and downright adorable—from his one rootbeer brown eye to his wirey chest hair, he is truly one in a kind," his owner, Lynn, wrote on the website.

Scamp the Tramp

world's ugliest dog contest
Will Bucquoy

Scamp was rescued at his last hour at a Los Angeles animal shelter after living on the "mean streets of Compton." "Like Bob Marley, Scamp embodies the song 'One Love' in his job as a pet therapist for the past seven years," his owner, Yvonne, wrote on the website. "I call him a Rastafarian dog and I suspect he's got some DNA from Keith Richards, too!" He certainly wouldn't look out of place in a doggie heavy metal band!

Wild Thang

world's ugliest dog contest
Will Bucquoy

When she was a puppy, this 3-year old Pekingese from Los Angeles contracted a viral disease called distemper, which resulted in limited tongue mobility, minor jaw paralysis, and a tremor in one of her front legs. In spite of her illness, she's still doing her thang.

"My purpose in life is to help educate humans on how important it is to vaccinate their four-legged friends," Wild Thang's bio reads.


world's ugliest dog contest
Will Bucquoy

This Chihuahua mix may look mean thanks to his underbite, but he's really just a ball of love who was lucky enough to find a furever home with another rescue Chihuahua, two small humans, and two parakeets.

"I pretty much love everyone, including other dogs, big and small," Jake's bio says. "And while I may have some uniquely handsome features, I'm very humble."

Willie Wonka

world's ugliest dog contest 2019
Will Bucquoy

This 7-month-old American Staffordshire Terrier mix was born with a severe form of carpal laxity syndrome—a condition that causes abnormal limb positioning—in her front legs. She was rescued by a shelter in Los Angeles as a stray, and waited 10 days before her foster mom, Christine, scooped her up.

"Since her freedom ride from the shelter, Willie has been getting much needed attention and undergoing physical therapy to learn how to walk on her own," Christine wrote on the website. "Her resilience and focus is admirable, her demeanor is so chill and relaxed, and just after a couple months I have seen incredible progress in Willie's ability to walk… Her big heart and gentle demeanor has made every moment rewarding… She is an inspiration to anyone that is down on their luck and she would be a great ambassador for other animals born with disabilities."


world's ugliest dog contest 2019
Will Bucquoy

This angelic creature was found sitting at a bus stop in Los Angeles when she was 12 weeks old, and was adopted by her puppy mom, Christine, in 2011. "Puka was born with a cleft lip, which makes her look different than other dogs," Christine wrote on the website. "Some people think her cleft is scary, but I think it makes Puka extra cute, like she is smiling all of the time."

And Puka is apparently great with her foster siblings, including Willie! "Puka takes them under her wing, assuring them that they are safe and that the rest of their lives will be filled with love," Christine noted. She emphasizes the importance of fostering pets because "when a dog is in a loving, stable environment, all the best parts of that dog's personality come out, which ultimately helps them get adopted." And for more ways in which dogs inspire us to be better, check out 15 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Your Dog.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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