WATCH: The 2024 World's Ugliest Dog Contest winner

Hailing from Oregon, Wild Thang clinched the top spot on his fifth attempt at the title. Picture: YouTube

Hailing from Oregon, Wild Thang clinched the top spot on his fifth attempt at the title. Picture: YouTube

Published Jul 10, 2024


In celebration of canine uniqueness that defies traditional beauty standards, an eight-year-old Pekingese named Wild Thang has been crowned the winner of the 2024 World's Ugliest Dog contest.

This annual event, held near San Francisco, California, has become a beloved tradition, drawing contestants and spectators from across North America.

Hailing from Oregon, Wild Thang clinched the top spot on his fifth attempt at the title.

The competition, which took place on Friday, June 21, showcased a diverse array of contestants vying for the unconventional honour and a share of the $10,000 (R181.3510,00) prize pool sponsored by Mug Root Beer.

Wild Thang's journey to victory is as remarkable as his appearance. Born in Los Angeles, he faced major health challenges early in life. As a puppy, he contracted distemper while in foster care, a potentially fatal viral disease that claimed the life of another puppy in his litter.

Although Wild Thang survived, the illness left him with permanent physical effects, including malformed teeth and a constantly paddling right leg.

Despite these obstacles, Wild Thang's resilient spirit has made him a champion for pet health and welfare. His owner has used the dog's Instagram presence to promote pet vaccination and raise funds for rescue efforts.

The platform has supported Pekingese dogs affected by the conflict in Ukraine, resulting in the successful adoption of seven dogs by families in Canada and the United States.

The contest, now in its 35th year, aims to promote the adoption of all dogs, regardless of their appearance. It serves as a platform to celebrate the imperfectly perfect dogs that need adoption and remind people that all dogs deserve love, regardless of their physical attributes.

As the first-place winner, Wild Thang will receive a $5,000 (R90.675,50) cash prize and the unique opportunity to be featured on a limited-edition can of Mug Root Beer. The exposure from this win is expected to boost Wild Thang's platform, potentially amplifying his advocacy efforts for animal welfare causes.

The second-place title went to Rome, a pug with his own set of endearing quirks, who will take home $3,000 (R54.405,30). Daisy Mae secured the third spot and a $2,000 (R36.270,20O) prize, rounding out the top three in this unusual pageant.

The World's Ugliest Dog Contest has been a topic of discussion among animal welfare advocates. While some argue that it might encourage breeding practices that prioritise unusual features over animal health, supporters contend that the event celebrates rescue dogs and promotes the adoption of animals that might otherwise be overlooked.

With its tongue-in-cheek title, the contest continues to challenge perceptions of canine beauty while championing the cause of animal adoption and welfare.

IOL Lifestyle