Mr Happy Face was chosen the winner from among 8 other contestants in the final. (AFP Photo)
A 17-year-old Chihuahua mix from Arizona, the United States, has been named the "World's Ugliest Dog". The event, which is held during the Sonoma-Marin Fair in California, has been going on for nearly 50 years. The contest was held after a gap of two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The winner, Mr Happy Face, has tumours and neurological issues, requires a diaper, struggles to stand upright or walk and has a tilted head.
According to the description of the winner on the website of the event, the Chihuahua once lived in abusive and neglectful condition. Yet, the dog reached the age of 17. Mr Happy Face sports a natural Mohawk and makes a sound "like a Dodge Ram diesel truck" revving its engine when happy, according to the description online.
The winner's appearance completely blew the judges away. Out of the other contestants that Mr Happy Face defeated, one was a "hairless mutant" with no teeth, another that looked like "a hyena" and one with a "gorilla-like head".
The website of the event also has a quote from owner of Mr Happy Face, Jeneda Benelly. She said that the dog was adopted by the family in August, 2021 from a shelter in Arizona.
"When I arrived at the shelter, I asked to see a particular dog that, fortunately for me, had just been adopted. I asked if there were any other dogs that were similar to that one. There was in fact, another dog there who was much older and had health issues and I was warned could be inbred because he was so ugly. The shelter staff tried to prepare me for what I was about to see," she said.
"I saw a creature who was indeed old, needed a second chance and deserved to be loved," Ms Benelly further said.
She recalled that a veterinarian told her that Mr Happy Face might survive "only for a few weeks, maybe a month" because of the tumours and multiple health conditions.
"Love, kindness and mommy kisses have helped him defy the anticipated short life that we all expected him to have with our family," she added. "His hobbies include sleeping, snoring, woofing in his sleep and making odd sounds when he is happy."
Mr Happy Face and its owner have been awarded $1,500 prize money and a trip to New York City after winning the contest.
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