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BEASTS OVER BEAUTIES: It Pays To Be Ugly

dog competition dog contest famous dogs ugly dogs world's ugliest dog

ABC: Second-place for 2016 went to the gorgeous (or not so gorgeous) Josie.

Ever heard of Crufts? It started back in the UK in 1891 and is the biggest annual dog show in the world. It’s also a mecca for those willing to spend big bucks to prove their pooch is best. There are competitions for obedience, agility and even downright good looks. Around 28,000 dogs take part in the show each year, attracting more than 160,000 human spectators. 

But did you know there’s a show for dogs on the other end of the spectrum?

*paws for reaction*

While Crufts entrants are busy pampering their pooches in preparation for the Miss Universe of dog pageants, those with less fortunate puppy genetics are getting ready for the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest, held in California every June. Unlike conformation shows such as Crufts, which restrict participants to purebreds, the WUDC allows mutts to enter. Their aim? To win the title of Ugliest Dog in the World. Judges decide the winners based on the dog’s personality, appearance and how much the audience loves them (The Guardian). The competition has been running for twenty-eight years, with winners taking out $1,500 in prize money and an appropriately ugly trophy each year.

USA Today: Walle, winner of the 2013 WUDC.

Chinese crested dogs – a small, mostly hairless breed that only weigh up to 13lbs – have overwhelmingly accounted for the winners of the WUDC for the last fifteen years due to their crinkly appearance and bucked teeth. However, chihuahuas, dutch shepherds and pit bulls have also placed amongs the winning breeds. In 2013, a “huge-headed, duck-footed mix of beagle, boxer and basset hound” (USA Today) stole the show. According to one judge, he looks like “he’s been photo-shopped with pieces from various dogs and maybe a few other animals.” 

The World’s Ugliest Dog Contest has been both applauded and criticised. According to Virginia Sayre, owner of the 2015 winner, Quasi Modo (an adopted mutt with short-spine syndrome), they received many unkind comments and were told that entering into such a competition was “cruel”. In response, Virginia told The Guardian that, “you have to have a sense of humour to go to an ugly contest. This isn’t about making fun… it’s about celebrating our differences.” (The Guardian)

The Guardian: Quasi Modo, one of less than 50 dogs known to have short-spine syndrome.

The show has also been commended for promoting the adoption of disadvantaged rescue animals, not only throughout the United States, but also across the world. The fair has partnered with animals rights groups in order to educate people about domestic pets and encourage us to see the beauty behind all disfigurements. The rules are strict to protect the dogs: pooches are not allowed to be surgically altered in any way and are all examined by a vet to ensure they are healthy and have not been mistreated in order to look worse. (The Guardian)

The 2016 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest was only recently held, and a new face has risen to fame. Sweepee Rambo – a wrinkled, frail chinese crested Chihuahua cross who barely weighs 4lbs – took out top prize. At 17 years old and blind in both eyes, the tiny hero won the hearts of those who attended the 2016 WUDC, with some fans chanting “Sweepee for President” from the crowd. (NY Times)

ABC: Sweepee Rambo, 2016 World's Ugliest Dog. #sweepeeforpresident



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