June 24, 2013 at 9:17 AM ET
The judges got really ugly with their comments, indicating that Walle had a mug only a mother could love, but TODAY anchors thought otherwise.
Walle is a 4-year-old beagle-basset-boxer mutt from Chico, Calif., who beat out 29 other canines to win the 25th annual World’s Ugliest Dog Contest at Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, Calif.
One judge noted Walle looked like "he's been Photoshopped with pieces from various dogs and maybe a few other animals."
But when the pooch paid a visit to Studio 1A Monday, TODAY anchors only had compliments for the mellow mutt .
“I think Walle has a really nice face,” Matt Lauer noted.
Tammie Sue Barbee, the dog's owner, said Walle's duck-like waddle sets him apart from other dogs and often highlights his odd features, which include a big head and small, hunchbacked body.
“I think it was his disproportionate body that won,” said Barbee, who has owned Walle since he was a puppy. “His personality won over the judges. They were looking for oddities in a dog, and he has the crooked back and the shorter legs and the high rear end.”
But on Monday, instead of waddling around, Walle rested contentedly on the TODAY set, enjoying the spotlight and winning the anchors' hearts.
“He’s an amazing dog,” Barbee said.
Walle's win Friday was a departure for the World's Ugliest Dog Contest, which usually favors the Chinese Crested breed. Last year's winner, for example, was an 8-year-old Chinese Crested from Great Britain named Mugly.