Homely mastiff named Martha wins world’s ugliest dog

Many of the contestants are adopted

Martha, a Neapolitan Mastiff, from Sebastopol, Calif., waits for the start of the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair Friday, June 23, 2017, in Petaluma, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

PETALUMA, Calif. (AP) — The homely hounds and their humans arrived hours before the show to socialize and size up the competition at the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest Friday, where dog lovers celebrate the imperfections of man’s best friend.

Many of the contestants are adopted. Monkey, a 6-year-old Brussel Griffon, and Icky, an 8-year-old unknown breed, were both rescued from a hoarding situation.

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 Crest named Zoomer.

At 16 years old, Moe, a Brussel Griffon pug, is this year’s most senior contestant this year. He has lost his hearing and sight but his sense of smell is strong and he was enjoying all the smells the fairground offered — including funnel cakes and other fried goodies.

The pooches will face off in a red carpet walk and “Faux Paw Fashion Show.” The contestants are judged on first impressions, unusual attributes, personality and audience reaction.

A blind Chihuahua-Chinese Crested mix named Sweepee Rambo bested 16 other ugly entries in last year’s competition and waddled away with $1,500, a trophy and a flight to New York with her owner for media appearances.

Besides the main crown, the Spirit Award is presented to a dog and owner who have overcome obstacles or provide service to their community, organizers said.

This is the 29th year the contest is being held at the Sonoma-Marin Fair.

A 125-pound gentle giant named Martha on Friday night was crowned the winner of the 29th annual World’s Ugliest Dog Contest.

The gassy Neapolitan Mastiff 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.

She was rescued when she was nearly blind, but after several surgeries can see again, according to her handler Shirley Zindler.

She 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.