Pekingese called Wild Thang scoops ‘ugliest dog’ title

Wild Thang celebrates his title on Sunday.

Wild Thang celebrates his title on Sunday. Photo: Facebook/Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds & Event Centre

An eight-year-old Pekingese has beaten a slew of rivals to be named the world’s ugliest dog of 2024.

It was Wild Thang’s fifth attempt at the title but his first win in the prestigious contest held at the annual Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California.

This year’s event, held at the weekend, featured eight contenders. They were mostly former shelter dogs who had gone on to find permanent homes.

Wild Thang, who hails from Coos Bay in Oregon, attributes his unique looks 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. According to his bio, Wild Thang “barely” survived his illness.

Owner Ann Lewis described her winning dog as a “healthy, happy Glugly (glamorous/ugly) guy”. The pair collected $US5000 ($7528) for their title.

ugliest dog.

The world’s ugliest dogs of 2024 – (from left) Rome, Wild Thang and Daisy May – on stage. Photo: Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds and Event Centre

Wild Thang’s chief rivals on the weekend were a pug named Rome and a white-coated and mixed-breed rescue dog named Daisy May, both aged 14. They took out second and third place, respectively.

“I love that [the competition] represents dogs that are imperfect — imperfectly perfect,” Rome’s owner Michelle Grady said.

Rome, who uses a wheelchair, picked up $US3000 ($4517) for his second place.

Daisy May, who was rescued from the streets aged just two, has lost her hair, teeth and vision. She gets $2000 ($3011) for coming third – a result owner Elizabeth Whitehouse said was a surprise.

“I thought that she would be the most beautiful ugly dog, but as it turns out, other people don’t see the beauty in her that I do,” she said.

The World’s Ugliest Dog competition has been held for nearly 50 years and “celebrates the imperfections that make all dogs special and unique”, according to its website.

Importantly, the website notes that the contest is “not about making fun of ‘ugly’ dogs, but having fun with some wonderful characters and showing the world that these dogs are really beautiful”.

“While fun and entertaining, the contest speaks to the importance of advocating for the adoration of all animals and the benefits of adopting,” it states.

This year’s title was judged by NBC News correspondent Gadi Schwartz, human rights advocate Linda Witong Abrahm and California’s 34th Treasurer Fiona Ma.


Topics: Dogs
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