His name is Peanut and he's been named the World's Ugliest Dog. The annual contest, which is held in Petaluma, Calif., named the tiny mutt the winner of its 26th competition. And although one might find the title somewhat objectionable, it should be noted that the top prize-winner strutted away with a $1,500 purse.
As the Associated Press reported June 21, Peanut is two years old and hails from North Carolina. He sports a mean overbite and a shocking tuft of white hair sprouting from his tiny head, neatly bisecting very protuberant eyes. He is believed to be cross between a chihuahua and a shitzu.
"He's my baby. I guess I don't see him every day as being that ugly. But I guess the judges thought so," Holly Chandler, Peanut's owner, told CBS San Francisco.
The new World's Ugliest Dog was chosen from a contestant pool of 29 dogs. Photos and descriptive comments of 20 of the dogs can be found at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds & Event Center website, where an unofficial online vote takes place. Result there aren't counted in the actual decision, which is made by a three-judge panel at the fair. Categories for judging include special or unusual attributes, personality and natural ugliness.
And that wasn't all the ugly little canine won; Peanut was a dual winner. He also won the title of 2014 Ugliest Mutt.
The photo of Peanut is an eye-catcher. Looking every bit like a mix between one of those Texas chupacabra photos (you know, those cryptid animals that always turn out to be a hairless coyote or something?) and a troll doll (because of that tuft of hair and big eyes), or, oddly enough, a tiny canine version of Disney's animated Cruella DeVille, it is easy to see how Peanut was this year's winner. Still, glancing at photos of his competitors lets you know that he likely only won the 2014 World's Ugliest Dog title by just an unkempt hair or two.
But Peanut's unusual appearance isn't all due to faulty genetic lineage. He was also abused by a previous owner, suffering burns to parts of his body that have left him bald in some places.
Chandler says that her little dog's frightening look is just that -- a look. And one she says belies his true nature.
"A friend at an animal rescue forwarded me a photo of little Peanut," Chandler wrote about Peanut on the contest's website. "He had been at an animal hospital for over nine months and was ready for a new home. While his face scared away many, it melted my heart. They named him Opossum - which was pretty fitting. Don't let his teeth scare you! He isn't growling. He is smiling! Because of his hardships as a puppy, his lips and eyelids are deformed. He no longer has hair on much of his body including his tail, legs, feet, and face."
The descriptor continues: "He has helped me raise awareness for Animal Cruelty by allowing me to share his story."