The ugliest dog in the world has been crowned, but fans are 'in love' with the winner Mr. Happy Face.
The 17-year-old pooch has bat-like ears, tufts of white hair in the shape of a mohawk, a wonky stance, and his tongue permanently sticks out of his mouth - all factors that led to him being announced as the winner of the 2022 World’s Ugliest Dog contest held at Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California.
The judges decided without deliberation that Mr Happy Face was the clear winner of the competition. His owner, Jeneda Benally, won $1,500 (around £1,230) and a trip to New York City to appear on the Today show with the award-winning pooch.
The creators of this competition say that they are trying to promote the adoption of dogs and encourage people to see the beauty of all dogs and not just the most popular dog breeds.
"For nearly 50 years, the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest has been a testament that the pedigree does not define the pet. 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," said the Sonoma Marin Fair.
Mr. Happy Face was 17 when he was adopted by his owner in 2021. He was rescued from a hoarder's house after surviving years of abuse and neglect, and then lived in a dog shelter for many years following his rescue as he was ignored by many potential pet parents.
The ugliest dog in the world was rescued by his current owners only in August last year and has received around-the-clock care for his many ailments. Mr. Happy Face has tumors across his body, hobbles rather than walks, holds his head askew, wears diapers, and has neurological issues. Despite this, his owner says that he is the 'happiest creature' that she had ever met.
"When I first met him, he was the happiest creature that I had ever met. He hobbled up to me and chose me. I vowed that day, he would be so loved that he would never remember how awful his previous life had been," said his owner Jeneda.
Despite being named the ugliest dog in the world, fans are obsessed with this four-legged creature and the pooch has built up a fanbase across the world.
"I want to be friends with Mr. Happy Face. I think I'm in love," said one fan of the pooch on social media.
"Congrats to Mr. Happy Face (and his mama Jeneda Benally) on winning the title 'Ugliest dog in the world'... I just love this contest. AND the winners (the uglier the better I like 'm)! Because no matter how ugly the winners are: dogs are still better than humans," said another.
"ALL dogs need love and if THIS 'ugly' guy's story doesn't make you tear up, you're just not right in the head," said another fan.
Congrats to mr. Happy Face (and his mama Jeneda Benally) with winning the title 'Ugliest dog in the world'... ❤️I just love this contest . AND the winners (the uglier the better I like 'm)! Because no matter how ugly the winners are: dogs are still better than humans. 🐾 pic.twitter.com/CXGq9Un9nwJune 26, 2022
Looking to the future, Jeneda said that Mr.Happy Face has a number of fun ambitions. "Mr. Happy Face’s goals are to have a longer tongue than Gene Simmons and a more dashing snarl than Billy Idol," said the owner.
On a more serious note, Jeneda hoped that the fame that her dog has received will encourage people to adopt elderly dogs like Mr. Happy Face. "I believe that this humble soul is also being an example, in subtle ways, to help humans realize that even old dogs need love and a family too," said Jeneda.
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Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty, and fashion news, and loves to cover anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.
Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.
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