Let’s just say this guy’s not winning the Westminster Dog Show anytime soon.
A bald-bodied, 17-year-old Chinese crested-Chihuahua mix named Mr. Happy Face scored points for mutts who are ruff on the eyes after winning the 2022 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest Saturday in Petaluma, California.
His human, Janeda Banelly, said the title was a well-deserved honor for the senior canine with a signature silver tuft and an askew tongue.
“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,” Banelly, who adopted Mr. Happy Face from an Arizona shelter in 2021, told “Today.”
The win garnered the Flagstaff, Arizona, native $1,500 and an appearance on the aforementioned show with her mirror-shattering mutt.
Mr. Happy Face beat out eight other contenders, including a canine that resembled a mandrill baboon and a “hairless mutant” with a Picasso-esque face. He also took top honors over a Pekingese named Wild Thang that evoked the fictional Tribble species from “Star Trek.”
Accompanying pics show the worse-for-the-wear winner sporting a white mohawk like Jabba the Hutt’s cackling lapdog Salacious B. Crumb from “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.”
“It was clear and obvious Mr. Happy Face deserved to be champion,” Debra Mathy, one of the competition’s judges, told the New York Times. The eyesore-honoring contest, which has been around for 50 years, went down Saturday after being suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.
It might seem cruel to poke fun at the aesthetically bereft, however, the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest wrote on its website that it “promotes the adoption of dogs, even ones that might have missing fur, crossed eyes, duck waddles or mismatched ears.” Indeed, nearly all the contestants were rescued from puppy mills or shelters.
It hasn’t been an easy road for Mr. Happy Face. A survivor of a hoarder home, the poor pup experienced abuse and neglect at the hands of his previous owners, as well as myriad medical conditions, including cancer.
Banelly said she was told at the time that her pride and joy, who is possibly also inbred, might have only one month to live due to the fact that he was an old dog that required lifelong medication.
Nonetheless, Banelly welcomed Mr. Happy Face with open arms.
“I vowed that day, he would be so loved that he would never remember how awful his previous life had been,” Banelly wrote of her fugly fur baby, who was already made it an incredible 10 months, shattering all expectations.
The last World’s Ugliest Dog Contest title-holder, pre-COVID-pandemic restrictions in 2019, was Scamp the Tramp, a googly-eyed pooch with dreadlocks who reportedly liked to dance to Bob Marley.