This Year’s Ugliest Dog Isn’t That Ugly. She’s Adorable!

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder For These Unique Dogs

By Catalina Barrios


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One of the most precious memories I have from my childhood is watching beauty pageants. It is something to this day I enjoy doing every year with my mom. Watching Miss Universe is a family tradition. Like many things in life, we like to give recognition to and measure what is “the best”. For my son, it’s cars and he enjoys seeing which are the top rated each year, which ones are the fastest and which ones have the latest technologies. 

When it comes to canines, there are many shows in which they are judged.


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Yes dogs, our beloved friends and companions, also have their “pageant”. Even the ugliest dog breeds have a competition of their own. Some of them are scary, ugly and even cute and adorable. Yes…cute.


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This year’s winner of the ugliest dog competition is not the exception. She will capture your heart.


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This 125 pound Neapolitan Mastiff took home the top prize beating 13 competitors. Her name is Martha, seen here with her rescue mom Shirley Zindler, and went through several surgeries to be able to see again after going blind from neglect. Martha is living the life now, with the love of her new mom and all her new fans from around the world after winning the title.


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From the beginning of the competition, which is held annually in Petaluma, California, everyone’s eyes were on Martha, even when she slept through portions of judging, making her the winner of the 29th annual World’s Ugliest Dog Contest.


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Shirley says 3-year old Martha is a messy eater, drools and snores, and adds she is “absolutely adorable”. Before meeting Shirley, Martha had a very sad life.

She was a dog nobody wanted and was sold on Craiglist by her previous owners and ended up in a rescue centre. As time passed by her health was getting worse…


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She lived outdoors for long periods of time and was blind. She suffered from two painful eye conditions, cherry eye (which is knows as a pink mass coming that comes from the dog’s eyelid) and entropion which is a genetic condition where a portion of the eyelid is folded inward or inverted.


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Poor Martha. I can’t imagine all of her suffering and that someone could giveaway and neglect this gorgeous girl.



Martha found a temporary home at the Dogwood Animal Rescue Project in Santa Rosa, California, where she received the care she needs. Thankfully she is now pain free and can see. Shirley is Dogwood’s president and co-founder as well as Martha’s foster mom.

The Press Democrat

Credit: The Press Democrat

After Martha’s win, her popularity was instant and many come to her support saying Martha wasn’t ugly, but super cute!


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Martha will be going to a lovable family very soon who already has 2 dogs and a big yard where she can have lots of fun and company.

Martha’s $1,500 grand prize went towards the Dogwood Animal Rescue Project to help them continue their work saving dogs and cats in need.


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Here is Moe, for those of you wondering who the runner up is. Moe was the oldest in the competition at 16 years old.