A Neapolitan Mastiff named Martha has been crowned the winner of the 2017 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest. Martha, who was named this year’s World Ugliest Dog at the 29th annual competition held on the night of Friday, June 23, at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California, belongs to Shirley Zindler of Sebastopol, California.
Martha beat 13 other canine contestants to win the trophy, a $1,500 prize and a trip to New York for media appearances, according to CBS News. Having achieved fame, thanks to her extraordinary ugliness, Martha is now billed for multiple morning talk shows where she will have the opportunity to show off her ugliness to the world.
Martha is a big dog weighing about 125 lb, with huge, droopy jowls. She and her owner, Shirley, faced tough competition before she eventually emerged as the ugliest dog at this year’s contest.
Previous contests were dominated by old, tiny, hairless dogs. Most were rescued from shelters and puppy mills, according to the BBC.
Martha is also a former rescue dog. She was rescued from the Dogwood Animal Rescue Project in Santa Rosa when she was a puppy, according to NBC News. She nearly went blind from neglect, her owner revealed at the competition. But her sight was saved after several surgical operations.
But despite tough competition from the older dogs, 3-year-old Martha stood out from the crowd and it was clear from the start that the judges and the crowd favored her.
“Do you know you just won the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest?” NBC News reporter Kerry Sanders asked the perpetually bored mastiff who seemed unable to comprehend what the excitement was all about.
“I’d gloat, but I need a nap,” her handler answered.
According to the Associated Press, Martha won over the judges from the moment she plodded onto the stage and flopped her droopy jaws shapelessly on the floor, refusing all entreaties to perform a trick to impress everyone.
Meet the world's ugliest dog: Droopy-faced Neapolitan mastiff Martha is crowned the mangiest mutt on earth https://t.co/7dQ0ODtBCd— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) June 24, 2017
According to the organizers, judges chose the ugliest dog based on several criteria, including first impression, unusual traits, personality, and the reaction of the audience.
The keenest competition came from Moe, a 16-year-old Brussels griffon pug mix. While second place went to Moe — the oldest dog in the competition from Santa Rosa, California — Chase, a 14-year-old Chinese crested-Harke mix from Neath in the U.K., came in third place.
“The contest has done much to raise awareness for adoption of dogs, and that no matter their physical detractions, these animals are loving companions,” the organizers said. “And the dogs certainly seem to enjoy the adoration of the fans.”
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]