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World’s ugliest dog crowned at Bay Area county fair

Linda Elmquist of Tucson, Arizona, holds her dog Scooter, a 7-year-old Chinese Crested hairless, the winner of the World's Ugliest Dog contest in Petaluma on June 23, 2023. |

Some are born ugly, others achieve ugliness and some have ugliness thrust upon them. In the case of Scooter, crowned the World's Ugliest Dog Friday, it appears to have been the former, along with his "uniqueness and charm" that won over the judges at the annual contest.

The competition, held in Petaluma as part of the Sonoma-Marin Fair, promotes dog adoption and showcases extraordinary canines that have defied adversity—in the case of Scooter, who has deformed hind legs, a narrow escape from being euthanized.

A close-up of Scooter, 2023's World's Ugliest Dog, shows off his freckles and wiry, silver coiffure. | Courtesy Will Bucquoy for the Sonoma-Marin Fair

And of course, there's the 7-year-old Chinese Crested's, er, lack of aesthetic appeal, what with his lolling tongue, sparse hair and ratlike tail.

Despite it all, the dog has not only survived but prevailed, winning the hearts of the judges and the top prize of $1,500 and a trophy.

Third-place winner Harry Bartholomew and his owner wrap up their walk on the red carpet at the 2023 World's Ugliest Dog Contest. | Courtesy Will Bucquoy for the Sonoma-Marin Fair

"I am overjoyed and incredibly proud that Scooter has been crowned the winner of the World's Ugliest Dog contest," said Scooter's owner, Linda Elmquist, in a statement. "Despite the challenges he has faced with his deformed hind legs, Scooter has defied all odds and shown us the true meaning of resilience and determination."

Shortly after he was born, Scooter's breeder brought him to an animal control facility in Tucson, Arizona, with the intention of having him euthanized, contest organizers said. But Scooter lived to tell (or at least wag) the tail and is able to walk with the help of a cart.

Wild Thang's frizz helped him secure the second-place title in the World's Ugliest Dog Contest 2023. | Courtesy Will Bucquoy for the Sonoma-Marin Fair

"This unique event allows us to celebrate the extraordinary resilience and beauty found within these special dogs. Each contestant has a remarkable story to tell, and they serve as a testament to the power of love, compassion and the indomitable spirit of these incredible animals," said Tawny Tesconi, CEO of the Sonoma-Marin Fair.

Prince Hoffman's scowl was not ugly enough to win World's Ugliest Dog 2023. | Courtesy Will Bucquoy for the Sonoma-Marin Fair