Jezebel put up a slideshow of the past 10 World's Ugliest Dog winners the other day in honor of a new champion being crowned over the weekend. I thought I'd take a look at the field and rank them in order of cutest to WHYGODWHYest.
CUTEST UGLIEST DOG: Pabst, 2009 Winner
I found Pabst to be the cutest winner of the past decade by far. 2009 must have presented a particularly weak field, because I find Pabst to be not just non-ugly, but rather cute. Sure, he's got a brutal underbite--but once you see some other past winners, you will wonder how this Pabst got his blue ribbon. Just like the beer.
Gus, 2008 Winner
Awww. I love Gus. The combination of cute smile and permanent wink (albeit due to only having one eye) give this little guy something special. While Pabst is objectively less ugly, Gussy here is my fave of the bunch. I like his spark.
Next in the rankings is Princess Abby, a four-year-old chihuahua mix. To her credit, she's not even the ugliest thing in this picture. (Thank youuuu, sandals.)
Nana, 2000-2001 Winner
Nana's a mess.
Rascal, 2002 Winner
I stared at Rascal for soooooo long trying to figure out who he reminded me of, and then it hit me--the guy from Insane Clown Posse.
Needless to say, it is a truly F-ed up competition when looking like that guy lands you on the cuter half of the rankings.
I think Yoda is the real tipping point in my personal rankings. The first few dogs were ugly; from here on out they are horrifying.
Archie is a purebred Chinese Crested. Those in the know are aware that Chinese Cresteds have historically done very well in ugliest dog competitions. This is because the BEST Chinese Cresteds resemble Fraggles that have been in a horrible accident. It's not too hard to understand how things can get so bad when that is the starting point.
I had trouble deciding whether Elwood was uglier than Archie. It was the toughest differentiation I had to make in my rankings. Ultimately, Elwood emerged triumphant on the grounds that his face was that much smushier; his eyes, crustier and swollen shut; and his tongue, just that extra degree more shriveled and lolling. For these reasons, he represents a slight evolution in ugliness over Archie that is enough to make him the second ugliest dog of the entire past decade of winners. But, oh--just wait until you see number one.
Sam, 2003-2005 Winner
Sam is epic. Sam is everything. Sam looks like if an already ugly, Satan-possessed dog walked into a burning building and emerged, hours later, singed and somehow still alive, charged with new evil powers and ready to take over the world. No dog can ever be uglier than Sam, and it is no wonder this champ won for three straight years before his death in 2005. He blows the other competition away. There is no place your eyes can rest on his tiny body that doesn't ellicit sheer horror. Every time you look at him, you notice something new and disgusting: his brittle, mangled ears with their white wisps of hair; his blind, soul-deadening eyes; his feeble, ratlike tail; the wrinkled, liver-spotted skin; the teeth! The warts! I could go on. The one small mercy this dog was granted was an inability to see himself. That probably added years to his life.
Sam lived to the ripe (there's another good Sam adjective) age of 14, and I think we can all agree that his time on this earth was well spent. I'm glad the World's Ugliest Dog competition existed to give him his rightful recognition, and I only wish there were further stages of competition--Ugliest Animal, Ugliest Mammal, Ugliest Living Organism, Ugliest Anything--for him to have climbed through. I'm fairly certain he could have placed respectably at any level of competition.
Rest in peace, little guy. You were sooooo, soooooo ugly.