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Friday, June 23rd – the World’s Ugliest Dog® Contest

For nearly 50 years, the World’s Ugliest Dog® Contest has been a testament that the pedigree does not define the pet. Dogs of all breeds and sizes have warmed our hearts and filled our lives with unconditional love. This world-renowned event celebrates the imperfections that make all dogs special and unique.

The day begins with pre-contest entertainment and information on pet care and adoption. Each pup and handler will bask in the limelight as they are escorted along the red carpet to show off their unique beauty to the judges, international media, celebrity host, and fans. It’s a wonderful show of pageantry and pride.

And while fun and entertaining, the contest speaks to the importance of advocating for the adoration of all animals and the benefits of adopting. Many of the contestant dogs have been rescued from shelters and puppy mills, to find loving homes in the hands of those willing to adopt. Please join us in raising awareness and support for the pets yet to be placed in a loving home.

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.

Since the 70’s, 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.  

You can contact us with questions via email at [email protected].

2022 Winners

1st Place:  Mr. Happy

Mr. Happy Face
Mr.  Happy Face joined our family in August of 2021.  He was adopted from a shelter in Arizona.   During the pandemic, I had hoped to either have a baby or adopt a dog.  Since having a baby would have been an act of god, I opted to adopt a dog. When I arrived at the shelter, I asked to see a particular dog that, fortunately for me, had just been adopted.  I asked if there were any other dogs that were similar to that one. There was in fact, another dog there who was much older and had health issues and I was warned could be inbred because he was so ugly. The shelter staff tried to prepare me for what I was about to see. I saw a creature who was indeed old, needed a second chance and deserved to be loved. Mr Happy Face was born into our family at the age of 17 years old.  The shelter had this particular dog for quite some time.  He came from a hoarder’s house where the conditions were deplorable.  He was a survivor of abuse and neglect.  I remember reading about the home where he had been rescued from.  Dogs had survived off of anything that they could.  Mr. Happy Face came to us with the veterinarian letting us know that adopting him would be an act of hospice for this decrepit old dog who would need life long medication.   The veterinarian had suggested that because of his tumors and multiple conditions that we might only have him for a few weeks, maybe a month.  When I first met him, he was the happiest creature that I had ever met. He hobbled up to me and chose me.  I vowed that day, he would be so loved that he would never remember how awful his previous life had been. Love, kindness and mommy kisses have helped him defy the anticipated short life that we all expected him to have with our family.
His hobbies are being fearlessly adorable, invoking his elder privilege amongst his 4 legged and three legged fur siblings and eating stinky things. Mr Happy Face’s goals are to have a longer tongue than Gene Simmons and a more dashing snarl than Billy Idol.
He dislikes climbing stairs, wearing diapers, sharing a bed, not being the center of my universe and mommy kisses.  His hobbies include sleeping, snoring, woofing in his sleep and making odd sounds when he is happy.  He sounds just like a Dodge Ram diesel truck reviving an engine when he is elated.  I believe that this humble soul is also being an example, in subtle ways, to help humans realize that even old dogs need love and a family too.

2nd Place:  Wild Thang

Wild Thang
I am a distemper survivor. At 8 weeks old, and only had my first set of shots, I caught distemper from a puppy my mom saved from a puppymiller. Sadly, thousands of dollars later she, Amber, lost her battle. But I survived with many vet visits and around the clock care. But it left my with handicaps. My paw paddles 24/7 and my tongue hangs out because there are no teeth to hold it in. Other than that, I am a healthy happy active dog who loves people.
This is my third try at winning the World’s Ugliest Dog contest because my friends tell not only do I have a chance at winning but I need to continue to pass the message that it is critical to get your dogs vaccinated. No dog should endure the emotional loss of a fellow pet as well as live with any damage it may cause them. I survived for a reason and this is my purpose.

Jinny Lu-Korean Pug

Youngest grumble member at the Pug Hotel Senior Sanctuary

Jinny Lu came to us through Pug Rescue of Korea. Approximately 1 and a half, she was found in a “cow shed” up in the mountains of South Korea. It was 8 degrees that day. We had recently lost our first Korean Rescue pug, Mable Lu. I saw Jinny Lu’s photo on Instagram. Something about her eyes just drew me to her, so I filled out an application. She flew into LAX( Los Angeles International Airport) On March 24th and we were there to meet her. We had actually driven down the previous week only to be told that she had been bumped from the flight. She was totally worth the two drives to LA and back. Here are some things that I believe make her special-Her tongue! Yes, it’s always out and no, it doesn’t dry out. Jinny Lu has a “micro jaw.”Her bottom jaw is ⅓ the size it should be, so there’s no room for her tongue to fit inside her mouth. When she shakes her head, both her ears and her tongue flap around. She’s quite petite for a pug yet when she gets annoyed with another pug, she literally screams at them. She’s tiny, but might! She sleeps with her face planted flat on the pillow next to my head. I have no idea how she breaths, but it’s darling. In the 3 months, she‘s been with us, she has developed quite the finicky pallet. When I put her food bowl down, if she doesn’t approve of what’s in it, she turns around and yaps yaps at me. Informing me that she would very much prefer a different meal! Three months and she has already settled into her new home and charmed us all.

3rd Place:  Monkey

Monkey is a 12 year old Blue Factor Brussels Griffon. She like just about everyone and everything, except bath time. She was rescued from a hoarding situation 11 years ago and is living the best life a dog could have ever since. She’s getting a little older now but still goes everywhere and loves to meet new people. Kids are her favorite. She is very gentle and patient with all kids regardless of age. She is a very unique looking dog being mostly hairless on her back le and legs. We are constantly stopped so people can take a picture with her. Best dog anyone could ever ask for and I have been the lucky one to have her!

Rascal Deux
I’m Rascal Deux, a rescued naturally hairless mutant, crazy critter, with Einstein hair, crooked face, 2 different colored eyes, and no teeth so tongue hangs out. Some call me Bat Dog, Space Alien or a Chupacabra. I’ve won 9 other Ugliest Dog contests so far and current Champion of 2 different Championships that NO other living dog has done. I’m “Ugly Dog Royalty” being the 5th generation to carry on the “Ugly Dog Dynasty” after Dad; Original Rascal won the Worlds Ugliest Dog in 2002 and 17 other World record first places. Rescued Great Grandfather, Chi Chi is in the “Guinness Book of World Records” for winning 7 World Titles at Petaluma, and my adopted Great Grandmother, Lady Pink and Grandmother, Mai Tai winning 3 world titles each. My Master, Actor & TV Personality, Dane Andrew of Sunnyvale, Ca. is breaking his own World Record with his 46th year in world competition. We were on “America’s Got Talent”, Have a music video “You Bring Me Luck” by singer, Athena, Cast in star studded Animal Fundraiser film, “The Adventures of Skanky Doo”, have a cartoon strip named “The Ugliest Dog”, Guest on Creature Features TV show, and even was on the cover of LIVE Magazine with Paris Hilton Holding me. I use my ugly notoriety for good with fundraisers, school appearances and soon, use my patented trademark hot dog leash to raise monies for animal charities. I tell the world to spay/neuter, adopt and support your local shelter. Please vote for me since I will donate ALL winnings to charity. WOOF!!!

Spirit Award: Morita

Oyo como va?

Morita is NOT a hyena or a mandrill baboon but a Mexican hairless, and strangely enough, has silky tresses of an Afghan.  As Lady Gaga sings, she was Born This Way!

A Santa Rosa rescue organization, Compassion without Borders, founded by vet Dr. Christie Camblor, also has 3 vet clinics in Mexico where her network of foster parents rescues street dogs of Mexico.

Morita was found in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico and was brought, along with 33 other Mexico street dogs, to Dr. Christie’s Muttopia rescue facility in Santa Rosa, a safe space for homeless dogs from Mexico & the Central Valley to recover both medically and emotionally prior to adoption.
We think she wagged her tail so much during her ride to the U.S., that half of her tail hair fell off!
Morita is bi-lingual in English & Spanish and offers a little French kissing too!  She knows Mexico well, her favorite cantinas for tacos & margaritas (virgin, of course) & wags her tail to mariachi music.
This bonita Señorita is gentle, good-natured and gives great hugs!  Morita loves long walks on beaches, watching seagulls, and is a good playmate with people & dogs.
If you are interested in adopting this blonde beauty, please contact Compassion Without Borders in Santa Rosa.
Morita is happy to be an American DREAMer & a trophy would even be better than a taco!

Boo Patridge, AKA Booster Kong

Boo is a two-year-old black Chinese pug. He lives with his family of two humans, three other doggies, two kitties, two birds, two Beta fish, and a Desert Tortoise in Santa Rosa, California. His owner passed away and Boo was in the home for about a week until a neighbor found him and brought him to the Sonoma County Animal Shelter. They notified Pug Rescue of Northern California and my friend Michelle, who works with them, fostered him at The Pug Hotel Senior Sanctuary. We had just lost our sweet Ozzie, and Boo was in need of a family. We met him and fell in love with his jovial personality, and loving spirit. We brought him home on April 13, 2022. Boo loves to chill with us on the couch, always with some of his pink tongue peeking out, he will drag his bed around and squeal with pleasure. Sadly Boo sometimes suffers from seizures, which could be from epilepsy, but we have him on medication that greatly reduces these events. Proof that dogs with seizures can be rescued and live a full loved life, This is Boo’s first year in the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest. We think his impressive underbite and gorilla-looking head deserve to be seen. We have entered former dogs Grove, Kaiya, and Ozzie in the Ugly Dog Contest since 2008. We also are volunteering to help with the event this year.

Peoples Choice: Liberace!


This senior pup couldn’t make the trip for health safety but is still eligible for the “People’s Choice Award”!
Liberace is a rescue success story. He spent his first 8 years living in a cage and being used by a bad breeder/puppy mill.  When we rescued him, our vet didn’t think he would last 2 months – he had more acute health issues than we can list here.  Fast forward almost 5 years, he has a great life full of naps, walks, food and cuddles.  He is a happy, capable dog but he is blind, has no teeth, is allergic to everything and has alopecia.  Somehow, he knows when it’s time for his walks, and he only likes falling asleep in front of the television (particularly to any of the real housewife series). Everyone in the neighborhood knows him as he has a stroller for part of his walks – and he likes to bark and greet neighbors when they come up to pet him.
I’m Josie. My first time in the World’s Ugliest Dog contest was 2012. We have come to Petaluma every year to try and beat out the competition. It is my favorite thing to do. When mom gets my airplane carrier out, I go crazy and spin because I know that we are going on a fun trip to California.
I was born in a puppy mill and lived in a cage having puppies for the first two years of my life. I was rescued by SAFE, Saving Animals from Euthanasia. My mom, Linda, became my foster. She could not resist my good looks and charming personality so she adopted me herself.
I am proud that Netfilx chose to feature me in their show “Pet Stars” Episode one in 2020. They filmed us when we came to Petaluma for the contest. I love being a star!
My favorite thing to do is catch rays on my patio in Tucson, Arizona. I am one of the smallest dogs in my pack but I’m still the alpha.

Barron was born April 2, 2018 to a foster litter of 9 pups through the shelter in Petaluma. He’s an American Foxhound mix. Barron is 4 years old. Barron was trained at a young age after his adoption to learn different smells including high and low blood sugars by his human mommy. Barron has been faithful to sit or lay by those who are ill. When he was 14 months old his sister needed to be rehomed. She came to the house and it’s as if they never parted as pups. His mom has been a volunteer in the Sonoma-Marin Fair since 2012. She is also an active competitor in the fair. She is a US Airforce veteran and active in MWAN which stands for Military Women Across the Nation. She is currently Vice President of Redwood Empire Unit 77. Barron is a loving boy, his favorite pastimes are rides in the car, treats, toys, walks and playing with his sister. We feel blessed to have Barron in our family.

2022 Worlds Ugliest Dog® Judges

Brian Sobel - Judge

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.

In the public sector, Sobel has been active as a past candidate for the California State Assembly and is a former planning commissioner and vice-mayor of Petaluma, California. He is also past chairman of the Sonoma County Transportation Authority and a current member of several other non-governmental and governmental boards and commissions including the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District Board of Directors, where he also chairs the Transportation Committee of the Board. In his capacity as a public official, Sobel testified before governmental entities including a United States Senate committee, where he outlined the key role of local government in decision-making by the federal government. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the 4th District Agricultural Association, appointed by governor of California, for nine years and as president of the board for one year.

Along with Sobel’s extensive private sector experience, he has authored three books, including one anthology. His second book entitled, The Fighting Pattons, is the story of the famous general and his only son, who also became a general and fought with distinction in Korea and during three tours of duty in Vietnam. The book, with a foreword written by Major General George S. Patton (Ret.), was a main selection of the Military Book Club, with members worldwide. Later, it was released in paperback by Dell Publishing, and in audio as well. In April 2013 the book was rereleased in Trade Paperback. Along with writing books, Sobel has contributed articles to a variety of national publications including The Wall Street Journal, often appeared on the History Channel and hosted a weekly talk radio program on the Northern California Radio Network. The program aired from Oregon to central California and east to Reno, Nevada. Sobel also served for several years as the on-air political analyst for KFTY 50 Television located in Santa Rosa, California, and currently provides political and military commentary for numerous media outlets, including KTVU, Channel 2, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Sobel has received a variety of awards in connection with his writing, training and video work.

Debra Mathy - Judge

Debra purchased Dutcher Crossing in 2007, fulfilling her lifelong desire to own a winery in Sonoma County.  Since then, she has nurtured a dedicated team of talented winemakers, tasting room employees, and support staff who all share her entrepreneurial spirit and passion for quality.  Today, under Debra’s leadership and creative vision, Dutcher Crossing offers more than 30 wines from a variety of wine regions and owns 75 acres of estate-designated vineyards. 

Debra is very involved in her community including education, vintner programs, as well as animals.  She has always ensured that Dutcher Crossing is a dog friendly place to visit.  Not only does the winery welcome dogs every day, they have also hosted dog-centered events including dog training, massage, and work out classes asking members to bring their furry friends for a day of fun and pampering.   

Debra was the proud owner of Dutchess for nearly 14 years, a yellow lab she rescued from Taiwan.  She is now dog mama to Lady, another yellow lab, adopted from San Luis Obispo.  Her dogs are always an extension of the Dutcher Crossing family, greeting guests every day. 

Kerry Sanders - Judge

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.

Sanders was also one of NBC’s embedded reporters during the Iraq war, traveling with the U.S. Marine Corps. He reported on various battles, including the harsh 11-day conflict in Nasariyah. In addition, Sanders has extensively covered the war on terror in Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

Sanders has received other numerous national awards. He was a member of the NBC News team that won the Edward R. Murrow award in 2011 for his live coverage from the Titanic wreckage in the North Atlantic. He was awarded a 2011 Society of Professional Journalists Bronze Medal for his coverage of the 33 Chileans trapped deep in a mine. Sanders was awarded a National Headliner Award for his reporting from Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake.

In addition, he was awarded an Emmy as a member of the NBC News team reporting on the 2008 national election. He was also awarded an Emmy in 2005 as a member of the NBC News team reporting on Hurricane Katrina. In 2000, he won the Overseas Press Club Award for his coverage in Kosovo. In 1994 Sanders was honored with the prestigious Columbia-duPont, recognized for his reporting from Haiti as a military coup rocked the country. Sanders shared another Columbia-duPont award for his compelling coverage of the widespread devastation of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Sanders was also a co-recipient of the RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award, and the George Foster Peabody Award for coverage of Hurricane Andrew and the aftermath of the storm.

Grace & Mamrie - Judge

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