Scooter, a Chinese Crested, Awarded the Title of World’s Ugliest Dog

by Britt
Photo credit: Olga Aniven /

As dog lovers, we’re all familiar with the Westminster Dog Show and the perfectly groomed and well-trained dogs that it introduces to the world. But in Petaluma, California, a different group of pups is being shown the spotlight… This city in the San Francisco Bay Area is home to the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest.

Hosted as part of the Sonoma-Marin Fair, this show celebrates the unique qualities that make every dog special, even if they don’t fit the traditional definition of “beauty.” For nearly 50 years, this one-of-a-kind contest has brought together dogs of all sizes, backgrounds, breeds, and ways of life. While they may have little quirks that make them an individual, like crossed eyes, underbites, mismatched ears, or abnormal stances, these pups quickly capture the hearts of everyone they meet.

This year, the contest was held on June 23rd. The judging panel featured some big names, including Miss California Catherine Liang and Gaudi Schwartz, co-host of NBC news Stay Tuned. After viewing all the contestants, including paperwork confirming they are healthy (despite their unique features), the title was awarded to a Chinese Crested named Scooter.

“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!” Explained Schwartz when asked about the winner. “He leaves you feeling love and inspiration for the differences, difficulties, perseverance, and happiness that he radiates like a little heater! Even when he’s gone, you can’t help but smile thinking of that sideways tongue hanging out his tiny precious mouth. He also smells so much sweeter than he looks!”

Perseverance is arguably the best word to describe Scooter’s challenging start to life. The 7-year-old dog was abandoned with animal control in Tucson for euthanasia as a young puppy after a breeder turned him in due to his disabilities. His back legs were deformed, with his joints and legs turned backward. Luckily, the incredible people at Saving Animals From Euthanasia (SAFE) stepped in to give him the second chance he deserved.

Scooter was adopted by a man that gave him a loving home for seven years. However, after some time, he could not continue providing the care the dog required. At that point, Linda Celeste Elmquist, a member of SAFE who had been checking in on Scooter and taking him to his many veterinary appointments, stepped up and took the pup into her own home.

As a young puppy, Scooter learned to walk primarily on his front legs, stopping to rest on his back legs when tired. But to give him more mobility, he has been fit with a wheelchair, allowing him to motor around with surprising speed as he explores his surroundings and embraces his joy of life.

Scooter is a beautiful (in his way) example of the magic of adoption and the importance of giving animals in shelters and rescue organizations the second chance they deserve. The contest organizers hope that Scooter’s story, and the contest as a whole, will help raise awareness and build support for pets still seeking their forever homes.


Britt Kascjak is a proud pet mom, sharing her heart (and her home) with her “pack” which includes her husband John, their 2 dogs – Lucifer and Willow – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx. She has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. In her free time, she enjoys traveling around the country camping, hiking, and canoeing with her pets.

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