Decked out in a sparkly blue top hat and Union Jack collar, Mugly, a Chinese Crested, stole the hearts of both the judges and audience at the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest at Friday’s Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma.
Mugly remained serene and composed as a frenzied press corps whirred around him and his proud owner, Bev Nicholson who traveled all the way from Peterborough, England to partake in what’s quickly becoming a world-famous contest.
“My whole family thought I was crazy coming here,” Nicholson said. “They still do … but now the whole world can see his beauty from the inside out like I can.”
As Nicholson spoke, a film crew from England was capturing her every word and movement while reporters and photographers from Germany, China and Brazil hovered around, nearly tripping over one another.
Call it the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for the aesthetically-challenged.
The contest is in its 24th year and held to raise awareness of rescue dogs and the dangers of inbreeding. Judges assessed pooches based on first impression, special attributes, personality and audience popularity. And Mugly captivated on all fronts, taking home $1,000, a trophy, a VIP stay at the Petaluma Sheraton and a year’s supply of dog cookies.
(Luckily, he has teeth, unlike some of the other contestants.)
Among the 28 other participants were Spam-O-Rama, a Chinese Crested without tear ducts after he was born with eyelashes on the inside of his eyes and needed surgery. As a result, his eyes are filled with yellow pus, which adds to the "ugly factor" along with his hairless body and tousled crest.
“Some people say he’s cute, some say he’s ugly or weird,” said her proud owner, 9-year-old Lydon Olivares from Kernville.
Another was Roman, a Mexican Hairless Mix from Santa Rosa, his smooth skin covered in brown and white splotches.
“The first time I saw him, I stared at him for 15 minutes not knowing what he was,” said owner Mike Rose who adopted Roman from the Sonoma Humane Society. “But he’s been awesome. He is really smart and has a great temperament.”
Editor's note: This article originally was published by Larkspur-Corte Madera Patch in California.