In most cases, it’s not very nice to call someone’s dog ugly, let alone call them the ugliest dog in the world. But for Holly Chandler of Greenville, N.C, and her uggo pup, that’s kind of a compliment.
Meet Peanut, with a frazzled white and black coat, wide eyes that leak profusely, and jutting teeth, he isn’t the first image that comes to mind when we think of a dog.
But his appearance was how he earned his crown as the winner of 2014’s World’s Ugliest Dog.
A mutt believed to be a Chihuahua-Shih Tzu mix, Holly rescued Peanut from a harrowing and abusive household that left him injured in a fire.
Despite losing both his lips and eyelids in the fire, Mr Peanut’s spirit and love for life never faltered.
And while there were some bumps in the road, to say the least, Peanut now finds himself in a lovely household and remains in good health years after claiming his victory as World’s Ugliest Dog.
In 2014, Peanut officially earned the title of the ugliest dog at age two thanks to a three-judge panel that graded dogs in numerous categories that include “exceptional or unusual characteristics, personality, and inherent ugliness”.
Beating out 29 other dogs from around the country, Peanut’s startling appearance was a showstopper, earning him the top prize at the event, which included a 4-foot trophy that’s bigger than him, along with $1,500.
Held at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California, The World’s Ugliest Dog competition has been recording winners since the 70s.
Previous winners include a duck-footed beagle, a boxer and basset hound mix with a waddle, a Chihuahua with only one eye, and a Chinese crested and Chihuahua mix with a stuck-out tongue and short tufts of hair.
In 2014, Peanut additionally won the mutts category before going on and winning the whole thing over 29 other dogs, including Sweetpea, a Chinese Chihuahua who won the pedigree category, and Quasi Modo, a mixed breed with a back too short for their body.
Both Sweetpea and Quasi would get their revenge with Quasi taking the title in 2015 before Sweetpea nabbed it in 2016.
Peanut’s owner says she doesn’t see Peanut as particularly ugly, but Holly said she’s grateful for the prize money. “He’s my baby,” she said. “I guess I don’t see him every day as being that ugly. But I guess the judges thought so.”
With the win, she plans to help other dogs like Peanut, by using the prize money to help pay for their veterinary bills. She said she also hopes Peanut’s win will bring more attention to animal abuse. “We’re trying to use him as a poster child for what can happen to animals who are abused,”.
With wild white and black hair, bulging eyes, and protruding teeth, due to being burned as a puppy as a result of animal abuse, Peanut certainly has the appearance. And with an energetic and can’t-knock-me-down spirit, he has the personality too to be a poster child.
What kind of dog breed is Peanut?
Peanut is believed to be a Chihuahua-Shih Tzu mix. Chihuahuas are small dogs originating from Mexico and are considered to be among the smallest of all dog breeds.
With larger-than-life personalities, Chihuahuas are known for being slightly prone to aggression toward strangers and other dogs. To their owners, they are incredibly loving and loyal.
Another toy breed, Shih Tzus are known for its incredibly long and delicate coats, floppy ears, and very short snouts.
Like the Chihuahua, the Shih Tzu, who originates from China, has a larger-than-life personality, and while prone to barking at others, they have a more playful, calm, and friendly temperament toward those other than their owners.
Despite health issues as a result of their small size, both the Chihuahua and the Shih Tzu generally live long lives that surpass 10 years, with some living close to two decades. Both breeds are recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club) and other major dog federations worldwide.
What caused Peanut’s unique appearance?
Peanut’s appearance is a result of being burned in a fire as a puppy due to animal abuse. If you’re interested in helping animals who have been abused, there are many ways you can help, from reaching out to your local shelter to donating to an animal rescue organization.
What’s the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest?
Starting in the 1970s, every year, the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest takes place in Petaluma, California, as part of the Sonoma-Marin Fair.
Canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the contest came back in 2022, with Mr. Happy Face, a hairless Chinese crested-Chihuahua mix with a tongue that just won’t stay in his mouth, winning. Like Peanut, Mr. Happy Face was rescued from a dire situation — coming from a hoarder’s house.
The World’s Ugliest Dog Contest has separate divisions: pedigreed dogs and mutts. The winner of each then faces off for the overall prize. The Sonoma-Marin Fair partners with several animal rights groups, such as Sonoma County Humane Society, to help raise awareness about rescue dogs, including providing opportunities to adopt them. The contest draws thousands from all over the world looking to participate. So, if you think your pup has a chance, the contest is open to all, not just Americans.