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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Eight-year-old 'Mugly' from the U.K. wins World's Ugliest Dog competition

By Nina Golgowski

Pretty ugly: Mugly, a Chinese Crested dog from the United Kingdom has won the 2012 World's Ugliest Dog contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California

A Chinese Crested's short snout, beady eyes and white whiskers earned it the title of World's Ugliest Dog at the annual contest in Northern California on Friday.

Competing for fame, $1,000 and a year's worth of dog cookies, Mugly won the honour by beating out 28 other ugly dogs from around the world.

The 8-year-old rescue dog from Peterborough, England - described on the competition as having a 'lovely personality [that] outweighs his looks' - will also be invited for a photo shoot and will receive a VIP stay at the local Sheraton.

Scroll down for video of 2011's contenders

Surprised: Mugly's owner Bev Nicholson of Peterborough, England, bottom right, reacts to the awarded title against Dane Andrew and his dog, Rascal, and Kathleen Francis and her dog, Princess Abby on Friday

Winnings: Mugly won $1,000 and a year's worth of dog cookies after beating out 28 other ugly dogs competing from around the world

Pro: The British pooch was named Britain's ugliest dog in 2005 as well

'I couldn't speak when they announced Mugly's name,' said Bev Nicholson, the dog's owner. 'I didn't know which way to look. I was shaking as much as the dog.'

It's not the first time Mugly has been recognized for his unattractiveness. Ms Nicholson said he was named Britain's ugliest dog in 2005.

A hard worker with such a memorable face, Mugly volunteers as a Pets As Therapy Dog for children, paying visits to hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes in the UK, while having once had his own trouble when attacked in a park several years ago by a group of thugs, according to the competition's website.

Spotlight: A woman holds her competitor for the contest that gets worldwide attention, with reporters and camera crews traveling from around the world to attend

Classes: With two competitors seen, the competition in its 24th year, judged the dogs' natural ugliness in pedigree and mutt classes

Fits the description: Wild eyes, hair and prominent tongues appeared the norm among the 28 competitors on Friday

Benefit: Not all could be winners, though sponsors of the competition raised money for several animal causes

The contest held at the Marin-Sonoma Fairgrounds gets worldwide attention, with reporters and camera crews from around the world traveling to Petaluma, about 40 miles north of San Francisco.

Organizers say the competing dogs are judged for what they term their 'natural ugliness in both pedigree and mutt classes.'
Mugly took home two trophies in both classes.

His victory was the latest for a Chinese crested, whose breed – offered in two varieties of Hairless and Powderpuff (having a full-body coat) is a regular competitor.

Last year's winner, Yoda, was a Chinese crested and Chihuahua mix described as having been found in a field by the owner’s two-year-old daughter at the time.

One by one: A boy carries in a white, scruffy dog high above the audience along the red carpet

What's in a name: Icky, pictured in the arm of his owner, rivaled other dogs named Handsome Hector, Creature, Rue, Spam-O-Rama and Mouse

No 2: An excited contestant presents his dog with a red, second place ribbon

Dolled up: A dog is held up before the cameras displaying pink toenails and feathers in her hair, all permitted accessories

Pugs too: While Chinese Crested dogs, pure bred or mixed, seem always in easy supply for the competition, other breeds like this droopy-tongued pug were seen pushing for the title

Close rival: Creature, a Mexican Hairless mix, topped Mugly by one vote in the online voting category according to the competition's website

'I told her to put it down because I thought it was a rat,' she said of the scrawny 1.8lb dog with a prominently large tongue and wild yellow hair.

Yoda, who had been in the family for 14 years, died this past March.

Coming in close second this year, in online votes a Mexican Hairless mix named Creature - with a described 'unique smile' of a wide, toothy overbite - rivalled Mugly appearing one vote ahead in the voting category.

Other contestants featured dogs with names like Creature, Rue, Icky, Spam-O-Rama, Mouse and Handsome Hector - a repeat favourite from last year.

Held for the last 24 years, the competition this year was hosted by pet psychic Sonya Fitzpatrick.

Checked out: All of the dogs permitted at the fair grounds, one seen relaxing, were required to go through a vet check and not allowed to compete if sick or having any active communicable disease

Psychic host: This year's host was pet psychic, Sonya Fitzpatrick, who said she gave a reading of the animals, several seen here, who expressed excitement for the attention and no hurt feelings by considered 'ugly'

Off to rest: In addition to a photo shoot, Mugly and his owner received a VIP stay at the local Sheraton hotel

According to Ms Fitzpatrick, who provided a reading of the dogs, she claimed they all loved the attention and didn't mind being called 'ugly' in the least bit.

The contesting dogs, who all go through a vet check, are not allowed to compete if sick or having any active communicable disease, and must have proof of current vaccinations.

The contest, that's free to enter, raises money for the Rancho Costal Humane Society, the Helen Woodward Therapeutic Riding Program and the Kiqanis Foundation of Del Mar through sponsored support.

Prior winner: This scraggly mixed Chinese crested and Chihuahua named Yoda won last year's competition

Quite a find: Yoda's owner, pictured with her here, said her two-year-old daughter found the dog in a field and the mother immediately thought it was a rat



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