California's "Ugliest Dog" Contest Celebrates Imperfections


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A contest to crown “The World’s Ugliest Dog” may appear to be derogatory to dogs. However, that is not the intention of the organizers of the Sonoma-Marin Fair where the popular event has been held for the past 28 years. They view the unusual event as a celebration of the spirit and imperfections that make the dogs loveable and adoptable.

Among the 17 spirited dogs that strutted across the red carpet on June 23 was second-time entrant Katana. The seven-year-old miniature wire-haired Dachshund, who now lives with her mom in Santa Rosa, CA, was rescued from a cage at a pet store in Japan. She loves to eat and steal and hide her owner’s belongings.

Icky (Photo Credit:

Also in contention was Icky. Rescued from an animal hoarder in Butte County, CA the “ugly” dog has helped raise over 10,000 USD for AIDS-related charities and also been featured in various movies, commercials, magazines, and newspapers.

Then there was Josie, a Chinese-Crested mix from Tucson, AZ. The six-year-old who was rescued from a puppy mill farm spends her days helping foster dogs adjust to their new life.

Monkey (Photo Credit:

There was also Monkey, a three-year-old Chinese Crested/Brussels Griffon. The fearless pooch that was removed from a hoarding situation enjoys being the center of attraction whenever he goes to dog parks.

But though all the dogs were winners in their own right, there could be only one “World’s Ugliest Dog.” That honor, which came with a large trophy and a $1,500 USD cash prize, went to 2015 runner-up, Sweepee Rambo. The four-pound Chihuahua/Chinese Crested miniature dog with a snazzy blond mohawk impressed both the judges and audience with her lolling tongue and hairless coat.

“World’s Ugliest Dog” – Sweepee Rambo ( Photo Credit:

Josie was named runner-up, while Rue, another Chinese-Crested pooch from Linden, CA came in third place. First-time entrant Rooby Roux, went home with the Spirit Award. Established in 2015, it honors dogs that have overcome obstacles. Given that Roux lost her original owner to a debilitating disease and her eyesight to glaucoma, she certainly deserved it. The good news is that the new family adores her and is even trying to get her vision restored.

Rooby Roux (Photo Credit:

Of course, while these unconventional looking dogs have found loving families, there are scores more that are not as fortunate. The fair organizers hope that this contest will help people realize that even the not-so-perfect pooches can be as loving and loyal as their better-looking counterparts, and encourage more people to adopt them.

Resources: Sonoma

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  • lexi1010
    lexi1010Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 12:55 pm
    awww the dog is s cute i wish my dog was alive though
    • bobaxmilktea
      bobaxmilkteaWednesday, February 17, 2021 at 2:46 pm
      Why do people even judge dogs? Every dog is beautiful in there own way.
      • adonikus
        adonikusThursday, January 7, 2021 at 12:15 pm
        This thing should be shut down and turned into a showcase of adoptable dogs!
        • puppylover445
          puppylover445Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 8:31 am
          Yes! If these dogs didn't have homes, I would adopt them all!!!!
        • adonikus
          adonikusThursday, January 7, 2021 at 12:14 pm
          Poor thing I feel so bad for it😥
          • themakeupkid
            themakeupkidMonday, November 23, 2020 at 5:19 am
            No dog is ugly every dog has it own look and smell and what they like or don't I would take all these dogs
            • sydney_zepp
              sydney_zeppSunday, November 22, 2020 at 1:20 pm
              Monkey is cute! And the other dogs are pretty cute too. Just because they're missing there fur doesn't mean they're ugly. The poor dogs though. I know that they are at good homes, and this is for fun, but still, they are the way they are for a reason.
              • themakeupkid
                themakeupkidMonday, November 23, 2020 at 5:17 am
                Yeah monkey is cute 🐕 😊
              • zaks
                zaksThursday, November 19, 2020 at 8:48 am
                Those dogs aren't that ugly. Some of them are actually kinda cute.
                • gold3nglare
                  gold3nglareWednesday, November 18, 2020 at 9:18 am
                  Those poor dogs. No dog is ugly, they are all unique. This is super rude. i think that all those dogs are adorable!
                  • superstar690
                    superstar690Friday, November 13, 2020 at 10:40 am
                    No dog is ugly it is best in ather why 🐶
                    • animereina2021
                      animereina2021Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at 7:40 pm
                      There is no such thing as an ugly dog at all! I like how they do it to celebrate imperfections in a dog... But I wouldn't call them ugly though.