There's a new ugliest dog in the world!
On Friday, NBC’s Kerry Sanders served as a judge at the 2022 World's Ugliest Dog contest in Petaluma, California, and helped crown a hairless Chinese crested-Chihuahua mix named Mr. Happy Face as the winner.
Mr. Happy Face's owner, Janeda Banelly, said the title was an honor. In August 2021, she adopted the dog from an Arizona shelter after he was rescued from a hoarder’s house.
“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,” Banelly said.
According to the official website of the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds Event Center website, Banelly said that she was told that Mr. Happy Face would only have around a month to live because he was an “old dog” who needed lifelong medication.
He also suffered from tumors and multiple conditions and could have possibly been inbred.
Banelly knew the challenges that she would have to face if she brought Mr. Happy Face home. Still, she decided to love him to the best of her abilities.
“He was the happiest creature that I had ever met,” she said. “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.”
Sanders was one of five judges at the competition. He got to get up close and personal with the pooches vying for the title, including a Pekingese named Wild Thang that reminded him of the fictional Tribble species in "Star Trek."
“He’s a Tribble. Sometimes, he’s just trouble,” his owner laughed.
In the show, Tribbles were small furry creatures that could reproduce at an alarming rate. Wild Thang certainly had the mane to match the fictional creature.
Most of the dogs that entered the contest were rescued from shelters and puppy mills by loving parents.
While showing the importance of adoption, the contest helps to “celebrate the imperfections that make all dogs special and unique," a press release said.
It doesn't matter if some of the animals have missing fur, crossed eyes or duck waddles, they can enter the contest to show off their unique beauty.
"Since the 70’s, the Contest has been a testament that all dogs do not have to meet AKC pedigree standards to be man’s (or woman’s) best friend," the release said.