Wild Thang, An 8-Year-Old Pekingese, Is The Winner Of This Year’s World’s Ugliest Dog Contest

The World’s Ugliest Dog contest has picked a new winner this year – an eight-year-old Pekingese named Wild Thang. According to The Guardian, the contest, held during the 2024 Sonoma-Marin Fair in California, included eight contenders in total – the majority of rescues who came from shelters before finding their forever families. Wild Thang, from Oregon, has competed in five editions of the World’s Ugliest Dog contest and Friday marked his first victory.

According to the official website, Wild Thang’s unique looks are due to a case of canine distemper when he was a 10-week-old puppy. The disease prevented the growth of his teeth, hence the dangling tongue and muscular disorder in one of his legs. “Other than that, he is a healthy, happy Glugly (glamourous/ugly) guy,” the site read. 

The World’s Ugliest Dog contest has been held for nearly 50 years. It “celebrates the imperfections that make all dogs special and unique,” per the website. “The contest speaks to the importance of advocating for the adoration of all animals and the benefits of adopting,” it added. 

Notably, Wild Thang’s owner Ann Lewis will now receive $5,000. Additionally, the pair will appear on NBC’s ‘The Today Show’

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On the other hand, the runner-up in the competition was a 14-year-old pug named Rome. In the third place was a white-coated mixed breed 14-year-old dog named Daisy Mae, who was rescued from the streets at age two and has lost her teeth, hair and vision. Other contenders included chihuahua mixes, Chinese crested mixes and pug mixed breeds, including a 14-year-old brussels-griffon/pug mix named Freddie Mercury. 

Voting for the contest was conducted by a panel of judges, with the public able to vote online for the people’s choice award, which went to the 14-year-old pug Rome. This year’s judges included NBC News correspondent Gadi Schwartz, human rights advocate Linda Witong Abrahm and California 34th Treasurer Fiona Ma.

According to the website, the idea for the event came from Petaluma resident Ross Smith in 1971 as a way to generate fundraising revenue for the community’s Old Adobe Association, and the Sonoma-Marin Fair has hosted the event since 1988.

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