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Wild Thang wins world's ugliest dog contest in Petaluma

"Wild Thang" lives up to his name, wins World's Ugliest Dog Contest by Associated Press on YouTube

PETALUMA -- "Glugly" is the word that Ann Lewis uses to describe Wild Thang, her 8-year-old Pekingese from Coos Bay, Oregon.

"It's glam meets ugly," Lewis said before she and her excessively hairy gray-black pup waltzed down the red carpet and across the stage with the hopes of Wild Thang being declared the World's Ugliest Dog at the Sonoma-Marin Fair on Friday.

"This is our fifth year in the competition, this could be our year!" Lewis declared.

And it was indeed, the year, when Gadi Schwartz, NBC News correspondent, declared Wild Thang the ugliest dog in the world to a packed crowd at the fair. The newly crowned canine beat out seven competitors for the title.

Ann Lewis with Wild Thang
Ann Lewis from Coos Bay, Oregon holds Wild Thang, her eight-year-old Pekingese after Wild Thang was declared the ugliest at the annual World's Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, Calif., June 21, 2024.  Sarah Stierch via Bay City News

The group of five judges, comprising Schwartz; Linda Witong Abrahm, former Marin County deputy district attorney and human rights advocate; Brian Sobel, consultant at Sobel Communications; Amy Gutierrez, sideline reporter for NBC Sports Bay Area, and Fiona Ma, California's state treasurer, couldn't resist Wild Thang's looks that only a mother could love.

"He looks like a Roomba!" said Sobel when the pup was presented to the judges.

Wild Thang's looks can be attributed to a case of distemper when he was a puppy, which he barely survived. The virus left him unable to grow teeth, resulting in his tongue perpetually dangling out of his mouth. It also left him with a right leg that Lewis calls "wonky" and makes it a challenge for him to walk long distances.

When Wild Thang isn't basking in his newly found celebrity status, he and Lewis raise funds to help rescue Pekingese dogs in war zones in Ukraine. To date, they have helped seven dogs relocate to the United States and Canada.

The title of World's Ugliest Dog also comes with $5,000, a yearlong supply of Mug Root Beer and an all-expenses paid trip to New York City to appear on the Today show on NBC on Monday morning.

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