Every year, a collection of the world's more 'unique-looking' canines gather in Petaluma, California, for a very different kind of beauty contest. Awards are still handed out for looks, but it's the 'ugly' pups who win prizes.
This year's 'honour' went to a true 'one in a million pooch' called Mr Happy Face. The ageing Chihuahua mix belongs to Janeda Banelly, who said she couldn't be any prouder of her little four-legged companion.
Meet the winner
Mr Happy Face stood out to judges due to his wonky face, gremlin ears, bald body, droopy tongue, and an adorable little grey mohawk haircut.
Mr. Happy Face, a 17 year-old Chinese Crested-Chihuahua, adopted by Jeneda Benally of Flagstaff AZ., takes the top prize during the World's Ugliest Dog Contest in Petaluma, California, Friday. Last photo includes Wild Thang, owned by Ann Lewis. @NorthBayNews @SonomaMarinFair pic.twitter.com/sT28PmNzJv— Kent Porter (@kentphotos) June 25, 2022
Janeda adopted Mr Happy Face from a shelter near Phoenix, Arizona, in 2021. He'd been rescued from an abusive hoarder's home and spent most of his life trapped in dark, dirty rooms.
In addition to his 'odd' facial features, Mr Happy Face arrived with a list of health issues, including large tumours. Vets didn't think he'd live longer than a month.
People visiting the shelter took one look at Mr Happy Face and said, 'No thanks!' But not Janeda. She saw the sweet dog hiding inside. More importantly, she believed he deserved a forever home just as much as any other dog.
"I saw a creature that deserved to be loved," said Janeda. "He hobbled up to me and chose me. I made a vow that day: Mr Happy Face would be so loved that he would never remember how awful his previous life had been."
Happy Face, Happy Life
When he's not winning awards, Mr Happy Face enjoys sleeping, cuddling with mum, and treats. He isn't so keen on sharing his food or bed. And he refuses to climb stairs.
This might be the world's 'ugliest' pooch. But in his mum's (and our) eyes, Mr Happy Face is absolutely perfect!