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Out of the Ordinary

World's Ugliest Dog competition celebrates 25th year of ugliness

Chelsie Lacny

Sam, the World's Ugliest Dog for three consecutive years (2003-2005)

Will another Chinese crested win the trophy?

The World’s Ugliest Dog contest will be held once again at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, Calif. this Friday.

In a world obsessed with aesthetics and the perfect body image, the existence of a competition that showers the ugly with gifts and attention is a little unusual. Still, everybody seems to crave a little ugly in their lives, because this event usually expects 2,000-3,000 people to be in attendance. Since this is not a beauty pageant, and we can’t get our kicks by parading ugly humans around a stage, dogs are the perfect outlet to satisfy our need to witness some floppy tongues and bulging eyes.

This year nearly 30 animals are expected to be entered into the competition. These ugly pooches hail from all over the country, and some have even gone through the competition before. While there is a decent mix of breeds, the Chinese cresteds are consistently the ugliest and have stolen the show during the majority of the event’s history. It’ll be interesting to see which animal wins the title this year. Will one of the Chinese cresteds win top prize this year, or will one of the other lovable pups win the judges’ hearts?

The winner of the competition will receive a $1,500 cash prize, as well as a photo session with Official World’s Ugliest Dog Contest Photographer Kira Stackhouse and a catered dinner from The Sheraton Sonoma County- Petaluma. Other prizes will be handed out during the event, including a basket of dog toys, pet services valued at $250 from Fit ‘N’ Furry and another $250 in prizes from Paradise Pet Resort.

This year there is also an online voting poll set up for the contestants. This is all for entertainment purposes only, and the winner will be chosen and announced by a panel of judges on Friday.  

Organizer Vicki DeArmon is pleased with the success of the show—this is its 25th event, and its popularity is bigger than anybody would have dreamed in the early days of the event. “In a way, we all love an ugly dog, and we love the underdog,” she said. “When you go into a shelter and see a dog that may not normally be adopted, your heart calls to that dog. The contest is a humorous relief that makes the world a little lighter. These are some of the best dog owners in the world. Some of them take it very seriously. I think a few hearts have been broken when they haven’t been the winner.”

Despite the owner’s grief at losing, I’m sure the dogs won’t be upset. They are probably thrilled just for the attention.

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