Competition was ruff, but only one not-so-cute pooch could be named the World’s Ugliest Dog.
Dogs with faces only their owners could love once again gathered for the annual contest on Saturday at the Sonoma Marin Fairgrounds and Event Center in Petaluma, California. And though several were worthy of the title, an English Bulldog named Zsa Zsa slobbered her way to the winner’s circle.
Zsa Zsa’s wide stance, teeth-exposing underbite and tongue that hangs almost to the ground helped her beat 13 other pups and win $1,500, a supersized trophy and a trip to New York for media appearances.
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Owner Megan Brainard appeared with Zsa Zsa — named after starlet Zsa Zsa Gabor, who died in 2016 — on Today Monday, where she said she was confident her pooch would clinch the title. However, she still wasn’t completely prepared for it.
“I was in shock,” she said. “I knew she was definitely up for the winnings, but I still don’t believe it.”
Brainard said she got the dog from PetFinder.com after Zsa Zsa was rescued from a puppy mill.
She said children often shake Zsa Zsa’s tongue, while a man described the pet’s personality as “messy.”
Brainard told the New York Times that they drove 30 hours from Minnesota to participate in the popular contest.
“She is just so ugly, she’s beautiful,” she told the newspaper.
Do children shake Zsa Zsa’s tongue? Yes! #WorldsUgliestDog winner, Zsa Zsa, his here with her owners! pic.twitter.com/iNXCWynvoE
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 25, 2018
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Martha, a “gassy” and gentle 125-pound Neapolitan Mastiff, took home the title last year.
The World’s Ugliest Dog contest has been a Sonoma-Marin Fair staple for more than 25 years and is held as a celebration of the inherent beauty in all dogs, especially those who won’t be picking up a Westminster ribbon any time soon. Festival organizers work to be sure that the “adopt, don’t shop” mantra is a part of the big day.