Peanut is the World's Ugliest Dog, And He Really Is Hideous(ly Cute)

Every year, proud canine owners congregate to see who has the quirkiest, weirdest, most awkward-looking dog. This year, the "world's ugliest dog" is Peanut, and the title is well-deserved — the two-year-old mutt would be quite terrifying, with his small, sharp teeth and slightly demonic-looking eyes, but for his adorable personality (and the fact that he's quite small). On Friday night, Peanut won the 26th annual ugliest dog contest, held at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds in California. The small animal was competing against 29 other hounds — all were being scored by a panel of three judges: Good Morning America's Cameron Mathison; Amy Gutierrez, a sports television reporter; and Brian Sobel, a member of the fair board. They looked at the dogs' special qualities, at their personalities, and — of course — at their hideousness.

From Josie's bulbous eyes to Quasi Modo's oversized head, the judges were spoiled for choice (who knew so many different forms of "ugly" existed in the world of dogs?) — but to all who saw Peanut, there was an obvious and clear winner. “Peanut is one of the ugliest dogs we have ever judged in this contest,” said Sobel, according to The Press Democrat. The dog, whose fur is covered with bald spots due to burn injuries he got as a puppy, definitely isn't pretty to look at. But his owner is hoping that this will actually raise some awareness about what can happen to pups that are maltreated.

"We're trying to use him as a poster child for what can happen to animals who are abused," said his owner, Holly Chandler, according to the AP. Peanut isn't the only one of the entrants to have suffered as a puppy; in fact, more than a few have been rescued from dog shelters with various illnesses. And that's partly the point. "The annual World's Ugliest Dog Contest is not about making fun of ugly dogs," write the competition organizers on their website. "But having fun with some wonderful characters and showing the world that these dogs are really beautiful."

ThePressDemocrat on YouTube

They add:

A good many of the contestant dogs have been rescued from shelters and puppy mills and the contest has done much to raise awareness for adoption of dogs, and that no matter their physical detractions, these animals are loving companions. And the dogs certainly seem to enjoy the adoration of the fans. One of the most popular features of the contest is the Beauty and the Beast Walk featuring Miss Sonoma County royalty walking adoptable pets from the Sonoma Humane Society.

According to the AP, Chandler is planning on using the prize money — a cool $1,500 — to pay for other dogs' vet expenses. Gaw.