ugliest dog in the world contest winner 2017
Martha, 2017's ugliest dog in the world, & her handler


Each year around the globe contests are held to determine the most beautiful, talented or cutest fill in the blank. These largely superficial events are based, for the most part, on not much more than looks. The thing about them is, they’re not really even fun — for the audience or the contestants. But for the last 29 years there’s been another contest afoot that has started to gain traction and notoriety for its unusual concept. It’s not one of perfection, but rather imperfection that is rewarded. It’s the super fun World’s Ugliest Dog Contest, and a new winner has been crowned for 2017.

Fun Contests to Enter

If you’re going to enter a contest, it should be for fun — at least if you’re a dog. Sure, the contests people enter offer scholarships and other types of monetary reward, but the fawning adoration entrants and winners alike receive in the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest is more than enough for these homely canines. While not your typical beauty pageant or dog show, the contest has become extremely popular and well attended over the years.

Dog Shows

Years past have seen a fair number of grizzled, hairless Chihuahuas or Chinese Cresteds with cataracts and missing teeth walking away with the prize money and the trophy. This year, however, the title was claimed by a 125-pound Neapolitan Mastiff named Martha, who beat out 13 other extremely homely canines in the final round for the ultimate win.

Second place went to a 16-year-old Brussels Griffon-pug mix named Moe hailing from Santa Rosa, California, who was the eldest competitor, and third place went to a 14-year-old Chinese Crested-Harke mix named Chase, who came all the way from Neath in the United Kingdom.

Northern California

The 2017 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest was held in Petaluma at the Sonoma-Marin Fair where the aroma of funnel cakes wafted through the air. There were three judges on hand, including an NBC News associate that not only crowned three-year-old Martha, but also attempted to interview her. Not surprisingly, the modest Martha was mum on the subject.

Best in Show

Points were awarded based on first impressions, unusual attributes, personality and audience reaction. It was undoubtedly the yards of folds and extra skin flapping about loosely that sealed the deal on Martha’s win, but she and her handler, Shirley Zindler, took it all in stride. In addition to the trophy and prize money, Martha won a trip to New York for special media appearances, of which she could probably care less.

If you’d like to share your dog’s “inner beauty” with the whole world, you might want to consider entering your own little — or big — Frankenstein next year. If so, good luck to you both!