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2017 Winners

Martha – 2017 World’s Ugliest Dog®
Owner: Shirley Zindler

Second Place: Moe – Miriam Tcheng
Third Place: Chase – Storm Shayler
Spirit Award: Precious – Catherine Kennedy

2016 Awards

Sweepee Rambo – 2016 World’s Ugliest Dog®

Second Place: Josie
Third Place: Rue
Spirit Award: Rooby Roux

2017 World's Ugliest Dog ® Contest Winner



PETALUMA, CA. Martha, a 3-year-old Neopolitan Mastiff, won over the judges and the crowd for her drooling chops, excess skin and wrinkles in the 2017 World’s Ugliest Dog® Contest.  Chief Judge Brian Sobel said “We were impressed by a 125-pound dog with 300 pounds of skin. And Martha was the overwhelming crowd favorite.” Martha, who is being fostered by Shirley Dawn Zindler for the Dogwood Animal Rescue Group, takes home $1,500 and a monumental, 5-foot-tall trophy.

“She’s a 125-pound, drooling, snoring, gassy, loud and silly girl. 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,” says Shirley.

Second place went to Moe, owned by Miriam Tcheng and third place was Chase, owned by Storm Shayler. The Spirit award was won by Precious, owned by Catherine Kennedy.

Fourteen homely hounds competed in the annual World’s Ugliest Dog® contest for the title and world fame from as far away as Neath, UK. An Ugly Dog contest has been held in the small California coastal town of Petaluma for over 50 years, most of them at the Sonoma-Marin Fair.

From a Red Carpet Walk and a Fashion Faux Paw Show featuring Ugly Sweaters and rescued dogs, this annual competition has all the trappings of a Hollywood event, including cameras flashing and video rolling by international and network media. Even dog royalty Snoopy was in attendance.

“We celebrate the spirit and imperfections that make these dogs loveable and adoptable,” explains Karen Spencer, Marketing Director.

For more information visit and click on World’s Ugliest Dog® Contest.

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2017 Judging Team

Brian Sobel

Brian Sobel is the principal consultant for Sobel Communications of Petaluma, California.

Sobel has many years of experience in the private and public sectors.  Educated at San Francisco State University, majoring in Broadcast Communication Arts and Journalism, Sobel worked in radio and television and was News Director for two radio stations.  Before opening his consulting firm, Sobel spent several years working for a major corporation as a writer, training consultant and video producer….

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Paige Braddock

By day, Braddock is the Creative Director at Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates. She has illustrated several PEANUTS children’s books. The Snoopy U.S. postage stamp issued in April 2001 was designed by Braddock. In 2015, she began publishing her own line of graphic novels for children with Andrews McMeel Publishing titled, STINKY CECIL IN OPERATION POND RESCUE and STINKY CECIL IN TERRARIUM TERROR.

Paige Braddock’s long-running comic strip, JANE’S WORLD, was the first gay-themed work to receive online distribution by a national media syndicate in the U.S. Daily installments of JANE’S WORLD appear on GoComics. There are currently 11 volumes of the comic strip in print.

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Kerry Sanders

Kerry Sanders has been NBC’s Miami-based correspondent since 1996, covering news mainly in the South and throughout Latin America. Sanders contributes regularly to “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams,” “Today,” MSNBC and occasionally to “Dateline NBC.”

Sanders covers breaking news and feature stories. He has more than 30 years experience providing in-the-field-reports during hurricanes. He was a member of the NBC Nightly News reporting team that was awarded a Peabody and the RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award for coverage of Hurricane Katrina….

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About the World's Ugliest Dog® Contest

The old saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is exemplified at the World’s Ugliest Dog® Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, CA. The internationally observed event celebrates homely hounds and the humans who love them.

For 28 years, the Contest has been a testament that all dogs do not have to meet AKC pedigree standards to be man’s (or woman’s) best friend. The owners of all kinds of dogs are also all kinds of people, from youngsters to senior citizens, each proud of their pet despite missing fur, crossed eyes, duck waddles or mismatched ears. They proudly walk both pedigreed pooches and Heinz 57 mutts down the red carpet to the cheers and clapping of the crowd.

Prior to arriving for the contest, all the dogs must provide a veterinarian’s paperwork asserting that they are healthy.  The World’s Ugliest Dog® Contest follows up with a vet check on-site just prior to the contest.  Animal rescue and adoption groups are also on site with information showcasing adoptable pets.

A good many of the contestant dogs have been rescued from shelters and puppy mills and the contest has done much to raise awareness for adoption of dogs, and that no matter their physical detractions, these animals are loving companions.  And the dogs certainly seem to enjoy the adoration of the fans.

The annual World’s Ugliest Dog® Contest is not about making fun of “ugly” dogs, but having fun with some wonderful characters and showing the world that these dogs are really beautiful!  Entry forms for the Contest and the Petfest are available now, just click on the link to your left.  

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