Congratulations to Mr Happy Face, the world’s ugliest dog

  • The 17-year-old Chinese crested defeated nine other dogs in the annual competition
  • His owner says she adopted him from a shelter during the pandemic, and that he had previously lived in an abusive environment
Agence France-Presse |

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Jeneda Benally introduces her dog Mr Happy Face to a judge during the World’s Ugliest Dog Competition. The 17-year-old Chinese Crested, saved from a hoarder’s house, won the competition, taking home the US$1,500 prize. Photo: AFP

With a tuft of punk-style hair and his tongue sticking out the side of his mouth, a dog named Mr Happy Face has been crowned the world’s worst-looking pooch.

On Friday, the 17-year-old Chinese crested defeated nine competitors in the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest, a decades-old event held annually in Petaluma, in the US state of California.

The champ was adopted as a rescue last year by a 41-year-old Arizona musician, Jeneda Benally.

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“During the pandemic, I had hoped to either have a baby or adopt a dog. Since having a baby would have been an act of God, I opted to adopt a dog,” Benally said as she introduced this one at the contest.

At the shelter she said she was told about an older dog with health problems, a creature that “could be inbred because he was so ugly.”

“The shelter staff tried to prepare me for what I was about to see. I saw a creature who was indeed old, needed a second chance and deserved to be loved,” said the proud owner.

Mr Happy Face is a survivor of abuse and neglect. Photo: AFP

She said Mr Happy Face had previously lived with a person who hoarded and conditions were abominable. “He was a survivor of abuse and neglect,” she said.

Vets said that with his poor health the dog might only live a few weeks.

“Love, kindness and mummy kisses have helped him defy the anticipated short life that we all expected him to have with our family,” Benally added.

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“His hobbies include sleeping, snoring, woofing in his sleep and making odd sounds when he is happy.”

Contest organisers say this of the contest itself: “Dogs of all breeds and sizes have warmed our hearts and filled our lives with unconditional love. This world-renowned event celebrates the imperfections that make all dogs special and unique.”

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