PETALUMA, Calif. — There are countless varieties of frightful floofs out there, and in a legendary battle to find the most unsightly oddball of all, one rose above the rest to be crowned World’s Ugliest Dog.
Martha, a 3-year-old Neapolitan Mastiff, with excessive flaps of skins, heavy drool and bright red eyes, took home the grand prize.
“She’s a 125-pound, drooling, snoring, gassy, loud and silly girl,” said Shirley Dawn Zindler who is fostering Martha.
Once a year, with teeth bared, tongues dangling and faces smushed, these beasts waddle their way down a red carpet for the chance to win $1,500 and a 5-feet tall trophy. The homeliest misfit even gets to fly to New York with a human in tow. The contest started Friday and ended Saturday with Martha beating 13 other dogs at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in California.
Chinese cresteds, Chihuahuas and mutts typically headline the competition, which is held in Petaluma. Many of the pups are rescue dogs.
The contest is judged based on both appearance and personality.
And Martha has plenty of personality.
“She knocks over every water bucket no matter how securely attached to the fence. She bosses the other dogs around and makes sure all guests are suitably slimed on arrival,” Zindler said.
Past winners have had hair sticking out in odd places, a penguin-like way of waddling or a shortened spine, but deep down — way, way, deep down — they’re just as lovable as any other pooch.
Let’s just say they take their daily morning walks off the beaten path.
The names might just be the best part. Reigning champion SweePee Rambo, a blind Chinese crested, is a crowd favorite. Quasi Modo, a mix with a spinal birth defect that took the crown in 2015, has a name to match her hunchback. And even though Peanut looks nothing like a peanut, somehow no other name would be as sweet.
There’s no denying that these tiny beasts are hard on the eyes. And yet, by some miracle, they’re still cute as hell.