From rags to riches: this year's 'ugliest dog' contest winner

7-year-old Scooty was crowned the ugliest dog in the annual competition.

 Scooter, 2023's Ugliest dog contest winner (photo credit: World's Ugliest Dog )
Scooter, 2023's Ugliest dog contest winner
(photo credit: World's Ugliest Dog )

7-year-old Scooty was crowned the winner of the World’s Ugliest Dog contest, an annual contest held in California on June 23.

Scooty, a Chinese Crested dog, has some unique characteristics that secured his victory. His wispy white hairs, nearly-bald head, his tongue that constantly sticks out at an angle and his reversed hind legs enabled him to secure the crown and title. 

Despite Scooty’s royal title, he had not always been treated like a king

7 years ago, Scooty had been taken into an animal shelter for euthanasia by a breeder who felt Scooty was not beautiful enough to profit from. Scooty had been born with deformities in his two hind legs, which made it hard for him to walk.

Fortunately for Scooty, a volunteer from Saving Animals from Euthanasia had been there when Scooty was delivered. Sensing Scooty’s royal aura, and knowing that he could find a good home with a little support, the volunteer rescued Scooty and a few others from the shelter.

He found his forever home eight months ago and is now loving his new loving life with Linda Elmquist in Arizona.

 Scooty, 2023 World's Ugliest Dog winner (credit: World's Ugliest Dog )
Scooty, 2023 World's Ugliest Dog winner (credit: World's Ugliest Dog )

"I am overjoyed and incredibly proud that Scooter has been crowned the winner of the World's Ugliest Dog contest,” said Elmquist. “Despite the challenges he has faced with his deformed hind legs, Scooter has defied all odds and shown us the true meaning of resilience and determination. He has become an inspiration to countless people around the world.”

Scooty is now able to walk, although he does so with a unique stride only a royal could pull off. His swaggering sway has taken a toll on him, and so volunteers fundraised for him to receive a chariot befitting the furry king.

 With his new cart, Scooty is racing along and enjoying his new royal ride.

"From the second he sits his hairless little booty and backward legs on your lap, you feel his warm, huggable power to change the meaning of the word ugly," said Gadi Schwartz, one of the competition's judges, in an interview with Today.

"In the cutest way possible, he kind of reminds me of a hairy hippopotamus,” Catherine Liang, another judge, told The New York Times.

The ugliest dog contest

The contest, which has run for the last 50 years, was birthed to celebrate dogs that don’t meet the pedigree beauty standards but are still perfect in their way. The contest helps advocate for adoption, as many animals are left abandoned in favor of more aesthetically pleasing purebred dogs from breeders.