Each year, there is a unique dog event held in the hills of northern California. A city named Petaluma is located in Sonoma County and boasts stunning views and sprawling hills. But each year the city hosts a truly unique and really quite odd competition for dog owners all over the world: the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest. This unique non beauty pageant of sorts is really a celebration of the inner beauty and imperfections of its contestants rather than their physical appearance.
So, how does this contest work? The formula is really quite similar to a traditional pageant, with contestants walking a red carpet to strut their stuff. The dogs, many of which are adopted dogs, participate in what show organizers refer to as a “Faux Paw Fashion Show.” Each contestant takes a turn down the red carpet and is judged on a list of attributes by the judges. These points include first impressions, personality, unusual attributes, and audience reaction.
This year’s contestants have quite a bit to live up to this year, however. In 2016, a truly unique winner was crowned in this contest. The crown went to a seventeen year old Chinese Crested Chihuahua mix named Sweepee Rambo who is blind. She was up against sixteen other competitors vying for the prestigious title of “World’s Ugliest Dog.” Sweepee Rambo won a cash prize of $1,500, a trophy, and a trip to New York City.
The true hope of this competition is to help celebrate inner beauty and encouraging people to adopt dogs, regardless of how they look on the outside. Awards are also given to dogs that embody a positive spirit by overcoming obstacles or giving service to their community. The contest has been held in the city of Petaluma for over fifty years and always draws a big crowd to the area.