Martha is the biggest and the ugliest
But having won the title, the Neapolitan Mastiff was not overly interested, promptly settling down to a snooze and belting out hersignature snore.
Martha is big, ugly, lazy and gassy. And a world champion.
In a competition annually dominated by the old, the tiny, and the hairless, the 3-year-old, 125-pound Neapolitan Mastiff used her lollygagging youth to win the 29th annual World’s Ugliest Dog Contest in Petaluma, California.
She was a favorite of the Northern California crowd from the start, often plopping down on her side on stage with her droopy face spread across the ground when she was supposed to be showing off. The judges didn’t even need to hear her signature snore to give her the award.
Shirley Zindler, of Sebastopol, Calif., reacts after her dog Martha, a Neapolitan mastiff, won the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest. Picture: AP
“Do you know you just won the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest?” asked Kerry Sanders of NBC News, one of three judges who gave Martha the crown. Her handler Shirley Zindler answered for her: “I’d gloat, but I need a nap.”
Martha, a Neapolitan mastiff, stands on stage after winning the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair on Friday, June 23, 2017, in Petaluma. Picture: AP
Martha lumbered away with $1,500, a flashy trophy and a trip to New York for media appearances, all things she could hardly care less about.
The dog, from nearby Sebastopol, was rescued when she was nearly blind from neglect by the Dogwood Animal Rescue Project in Sonoma County, where the contest was held. After several surgeries, she can now see again, Zindler said.
The only animal in this year’s contest too big to be held by her handler, Martha beat out 13 other dogs, most of them the kind of older, smaller dogs who win here.
Miriam Tcheng holds her Brussel Griffon Pug ‘Moe’ during The World’s Ugliest Dog Competition in Petaluma, California. PIcture: AFP
Moe, a 16-year-old Brussels Griffon-pug mix from Santa Rosa, California, who was the oldest in the competition, came in second. He had lost his hearing and sight but his sense of smell is strong and he was enjoying all the smells at the Sonoma-Marin Fair where the contest is held, including funnel cakes and other fried goodies.
Chase, a 14-year-old Chinese Crested-Harke mix, came all the way from Neath, United Kingdom to take third place.
Chase, a Chinese Crested dog took 3rd spot in the 2017 World’s Ugliest Dog contest. Picture: AFP
The contestants were judged on first impressions, unusual attributes, personality and audience reaction.
Many of the contestants were adopted. Monkey, a 6-year-old Brussels Griffon, and Icky, an 8-year-old unknown breed, were both rescued from the homes of hoarders.
Icky sits on a judging table at The World’s Ugliest Dog Competition in Petaluma, California. Picture: AFP
These dogs — some with acne, others with tongues permanently sticking out — are used to getting called ugly. But for their owners, it was love at first sight.
“He’s my sexy boy,” Vicky Adler, of Davis, California, said of her 8-year-old Chinese Crested named Zoomer.
Zoomer, a Chinese Crested from Davis, California, poses during the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest. Picture: AP