There are a group of dog owners who love all the “perfect imperfections” of their pups — so much so that they will be sharing the cute quirks that make their pooches unique during the 2015 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest in Petaluma, California.
Celebrating its 27th year, the international annual contest — to be held this Friday during the Sonoma-Marin (County) Fair — showcases a diverse menagerie of tail-wagging pups whose appearance often precedes their bark.
“We celebrate the spirit and imperfections that make these dogs lovable and adoptable,” Sarah Cummings, Sonoma-Marin Fair/4th District Agricultural Association CEO, explained in a statement.
Last year’s winner, Peanut, was in a shelter for nine months before owner Holly Chandler fell in love and adopted him. In fact, organizers say many of the contestants are rescue animals. Peanut reportedly was badly burned as a puppy, and Chandler entered him in the contest to raise awareness about animal abuse.
So what does it take to be the “ugliest” dog?
Dogs are judged on personality, appearance and audience interaction, and new this year is the World’s Ugliest Dog Spirit Award, which will “honor a dog and owner who have overcome obstacles and/or are providing service to the community based on the dog’s biography.”
Here’s a look at some of the dogs competing in this year’s competition:
According to the fair’s website, applications are being accepted until midnight June 25. Dog owners must submit a high-resolution close-up photo of their pup, a bio, a health certificate showing up-to-date vaccinations and an entry fee of $10.
And winners get more than a little kibble and a trophy.
The World’s Ugliest Dog winner will receive a grand prize of $1,500 (the Spirit Award Recipient will receive a special award), additional sponsored cash and gifts, and become an instant canine celebrity.
Want to check out all of the contestants in the running for the 2015 canine crown? Visit the contestant page and cast your vote for the cutest, “ugliest” dog!