Meet… the ‘World’s Ugliest Dogs’

The World’s Ugliest Dog Awards have crowned this year’s winner (Picture: AP/Getty)

An eight-year-old Pekingese pup named Wild Thang has beaten stiff competition to be crowned the winner of this year’s World’s Ugliest Dog contest.

The annual contest, held at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California, this weekend, saw eight dogs compete for the coveted prize- most of whom initially came from shelters before eventually finding their forever families.

Wild Thang, from Coos Bay, Oregon, has previously competed five times in World’s Ugliest Dog competitions, placing second three times before finally winning first place this year.

The World’s Ugliest Dog competition has been held for nearly 50 years and ‘celebrates the imperfections that make all dogs special and unique,’ according to its website.

Wild Thang, a Pekingese dog, won first place this year (Picture: AFP)

Wild Thang contracted distemper as a pup, which contributed to his unique look (Picture: EPA)

Wild Thang’s unique look comes after contracting distemper when he was a 10-week-old puppy.

The disease prevented the growth of his teeth, leaving him with a dangling tongue, and caused a muscular disorder in one of his legs.

‘He survived, but not without permanent damage,’ his bio says. ‘His teeth did not grow in, causing his tongue to stay out and his right front leg paddles 24/7.’

Second place went to a 14-year-old, wheelchair-bound pug named Rome, who entered the contest for the first time this year.

Wheelchair-bound pug Rome came second and won the coveted People’s Choice award (Picture: Getty)

14-year-old rescue dog Daisy May finished in third (Picture: AFP)

The annual competiton seeks to celebrate dogs of all shapes and sizes (Picture: Getty)

‘I love that [the competition] represents dogs that are imperfect — imperfectly perfect,’ Rome’s owner Michelle Grady said after scooping the silver medal.

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Another first-time entrant, 14-year-old rescue dog Daisy May, rounded out the top three by taking third place.

Daisy May was rescued from the streets aged two, and has lost her hair, teeth and vision.

Her owner Elizabeth Whitehouse was surprised to place in the competition, and said: ‘I thought that she would be the most beautiful ugly dog, but as it turns out, other people don’t see the beauty in her that I do.’

‘Freddie Mercury’ is a hit with youngsters in his hometown (Picture: AFP)

Wild Thing has entered the competition four times before finally taking home the crown this year (Picture: AP)

Many of the dogs come from rescues and shelters (Picture: AFP)

A special People’s Choice award also allowed fans to vote on their favourite dog, which eventually went to Rome, the pug who finished second in the judge’s vote.

Wild Thang and his owner received $5000 for winning the contest, with second and third place taking home $3000 and $2000 respectively.

Other entries this year included mixed-breed Chihuahuas, Chinese Crests and Pugs.

Dog diva Poppy’s appearance is described as ‘chupacabra-chic,’ while another dog named Freddie Mercury is described as having ‘a face like a fork-lift’ and is a mainstay at children’s birthday parties in his hometown.

The World’s Ugliest Dog Contest has been going strong for over 30 years and is a testament that the pedigree does not define the pet (Picture: EPA)

Daisy Mae poses for a picture before the competition starts (Picture: AP)

Last year, a hairless Chinese Crested pup named Scooter took home the prize. Scooter was born with deformed back legs and was set to be euthanised, but was rescued by an animal welfare group and now uses a cart to help him walk.

‘The annual World’s Ugliest Dog Contest is not about making fun of “ugly” dogs,’ the competition’s website reads. 

‘But having fun with some wonderful characters and showing the world that these dogs are really beautiful!’

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