World’s Ugliest Dog 2024: Wild Thang

Wild Thang 2024 winner of World’s Ugliest Dog Credit: Facebook

Despite its name, the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest is a powerful platform that advocates for the adoration of all animals and promotes their welfare.

It has been running for almost 50 years and began as a fundraising initiative for the Old Adobe Association in Petaluma (California), instigated by Ross Smith.

The idea really took off, and by 1988, it had become a regular feature of the Sonoma-Marin Fair. Then, in 2006, Animal Planet became a sponsor and filmed the competition, bringing widespread attention.

Dogs of all shapes and sizes, each with their own unique charm, have won the coveted title at the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest. This event is not about mocking ‘ugly’ dogs but about celebrating the individuality of these wonderfully unique characters. It’s a heartwarming way to show the world that these dogs, with all their imperfections, are truly beautiful in their own way.

The contest also serves as a platform to promote the benefits of adopting animals in need of a loving home.  Many of the contestants, who have been rescued from shelters and puppy mills, are living proof of the profound and life-changing impact of adoption.

With animal rescue and adoption groups in attendance, the event is an inspiring opportunity to learn more about adoption and meet some adorable pets.

What is the prize for the ugliest dog in the world?

There is a more serious side to the competition, too, as the winner’s owner stands to win a whopping $5,000 (€4,685). It is no wonder this year’s winner, Wild Thang, had been entered five times previously before securing the coveted title. Prior to his win, he had placed second three times in a row, having not been placed at all in the first year of entry.

Wild Thang, an eight-year-old Pekingese from Coos Bay, Oregon, is a true testament to resilience. As a 10-week-old puppy, he was diagnosed with canine distemper, which affected his teeth, leaving his tongue sticking out, and resulted in a muscular problem in one of his legs. Despite these challenges, Wild Thang has not let his condition define him.

Wild Thang, who has a fondness for ice cream, ice, and people, is not just a winner but also a joy-bringer. His love for life and people is evident in how he is enjoying his newfound fame, especially during his trip to New York City, where he was the centre of attention, even at the airport.

As his elated owner, Ann Lewis, said, “We got bombarded.  He was just loving it; he was wagging his tail and was happy getting headshots with people.”

The competition was overseen by a judging panel, which included NBC News correspondent Gadi Schwartz, human rights advocate Linda Witong Abraham and California’s state treasurer, Fiona Ma.

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Written by

Donna Williams

Marketer, copywriter, storyteller and President of Samaritans in Spain. They say variety is the spice of life and I am definitely loving life!

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