Martha, a 3-year-old Neopolitan Mastiff, won over the judges and the crowd for her drooling chops, excess skin and wrinkles in the 2017 World’s Ugliest Dog® Contest.
Chief Judge Brian Sobel said “We were impressed by a 125-pound dog with 300 pounds of skin. And Martha was the overwhelming crowd favorite.”
Before her turn at fame, Martha, like thousands of other neglected large-breed dogs, which face shorter life spans and dietary issues, faced an uncertain future. But, when Martha’s original owner tried to sell her on Craigslist, Shirley Zindler, the founder of the Dogwood Animal Rescue Project, came to the gorgeously droopy girl’s aid.
For her win, Martha and her human takes home $1,500 and a monumental, 5-foot-tall trophy.
“She’s a 125-pound, drooling, snoring, gassy, loud and silly girl. She knocks over every water bucket no matter how securely attached to the fence. She bosses the other dogs around and makes sure all guests are suitably slimed on arrival,” says Shirley.
Fourteen homely hounds competed in the annual World’s Ugliest Dog® contest for the title and world fame from as far away as Neath, UK. An Ugly Dog contest has been held in the small California coastal town of Petaluma for over 50 years, most of them at the Sonoma-Marin Fair.
“We celebrate the spirit and imperfections that make these dogs loveable and adoptable,” explains Karen Spencer, Marketing Director who explains the event is not meant to poke fun at perfectly imperfect pups, but to promote the adoption of dogs who might otherwise seem less adoptable.