From a field with a “hairless mutant” with no teeth and a crooked face, a creature that looked like “a hyena or mandrill baboon” and a dog with a “gorilla-like head,” a Chihuahua mix named Mr. Happy Face emerged as the nastiest of them all on Friday, winner of the 2022 World’s Ugliest Dog contest.
mr. Happy Face, who once lived in violent and neglected conditions with a hoarder, has tumors and neurological problems, needs a diaper, struggles to stand or walk, and tilts his head.
Still, he has reached the age of about 17, has a natural mohawk and makes a sound “like a Dodge Ram diesel truck” that revs his engine when he’s happy, according to an online biography.
“It was clear and obvious that Mr. Happy Face deserved to be a champion,” Debra Mathy, one of the contest judges, said Saturday, adding that the judges didn’t even bother debating who would have to win. “All the obstacles this dog has overcome physically and in his past life – it’s amazing.”
The dog and his owner, Jeneda Benally, won $1,500 and a trip to New York City to appear on the “Today” show.
The contest says it promotes the adoption of dogs, even those with “missing fur, crossed eyes, duck waddles, or mismatched ears.” Eight dogs walked the red carpet at the event, which is being held during the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California, and has been going on for nearly 50 years. It resumed Friday after being suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.
“They promote dog rescue that all dogs, regardless of their appearance, deserve to be loved,” Ms Mathy said.
When Mrs. Benally Mr. Adopting Happy Face from an Arizona shelter, “the shelter staff tried to prepare me for what I was about to see,” she wrote on the competition website. Mr. Happy Face had lived at the shelter “for quite some time” and a vet estimated he had only a few weeks or at most a month to live.
“I swore that day that he would be so loved that he would never remember how terrible his past life had been,” Ms Benally wrote. In his new home, Mr. Happy Face already reached the 10 months.
Second place, with a prize of $1,000, went to Wild Thang, a canine distemper survivor who is now toothless, with a constantly protruding tongue.
Wild Thang was a “cute mess,” Ms Mathy said, adding that the dog “looked like 50 pounds, but weighed only six pounds, because it was all fur.”
Past winners of the competition include Scamp the Tramp, “a dog of unknown breed with beady eyes, no teeth and short stubby legs” in 2019, as well as Martha, a Neapolitan mastiff with “droopy red eyes, uncontrollable drooling and baggy skin” in 2017.