Petaluma, CA – The crowd at the Sonoma-Marin Fair this past Friday chanted “Pabst, Pabst”, while the judges of the 2009 World’s Ugliest Dog contest made their final deliberations. The two final contenders were the crowd favorite Pabst (a boxer-mix shelter dog) and Rascal, a Chinese Crested and former champion of the World’s Ugliest Dog contest. Given that the Chinese Crested breed has held dominion over the title for over seven years and that it accounted for over 50% of this year’s contestants in the pedigree class, many people were surprised when the boxer-mix was named the winner.
Among those surprised by the outcome was Pabst’s owner and contest first-timer Miles Egstad, of Citrus Heights, California. “I don’t think he’s that ugly,” said Egstad of his boxer-mix, whose most distinguishable feature is his large under-bite. But it was Pabst’s sweet personality that won the crowd over, and perhaps convinced the judges to break from tradition.
Egstad, 25, says his dog’s name comes from the fact that he has a “bitter beer face”. Egstad became aware of the World’s Ugliest Dog contest when he saw it on television. His friends urged him to enter Pabst, and as a consequence Egstad is now a couple thousand dollars richer. Pabst swept in all three rounds of the dog contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair, earning $100 for mutt class, $500 for runoff in the pedigree class, and $1000 for World’s Ugliest Dog.
On top of that, contest sponsor House of Dog added another $1000 in prize money, a table of expensive dog collars, lashes and bowls and a modeling contract for Pabst, which the World’s Ugliest Dog signed with his paw. Grace Chon, the event photographer, conducted a professional photo shoot.
Pabst was a shelter dog when Egstad adopted him three years ago. This year marked the first time that a so-called “mutt” has won the contest. Karen Halligan, one of the contest judges and a veterinarian famous for her roles in the television series Groomer Has It, Dog Tales, Animal Rescue 911 and Dogs 101, performed screenings to ensure that all competing dogs were healthy. As judge Brian Sobel stated, the contest was meant for “dogs who are naturally ugly.”
The show was filmed by Dogs 101 and will air this fall on the Animal Planet television network. The local humane society was also present at the contest, bringing along its adoption wagon. The World’s Ugliest Dog contest has been trademarked by the Sonoma-Marin Fair and this year marks its 21st anniversary.
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