Beauty is in the eye of the beholder for ugly dog owners. Judging by the popularity of ugly dog contests, a lot of other people find these unusual-looking canines fascinating as well.
Surge in Popularity for Homely Dogs
Ugly Dog contests are popping up at county fairs and dog shows all over the nation. In the last few years, ugly dogs have surged in popularity, ascending to celebrity status. Case in point: Sam, The World's Ugliest Dog, and official poster boy for ugly dogs everywhere. At one point Sam's website received the most hits of anything on the web. Now that's a lot of people wanting to get a good look at some ugly dogs. And although Sam is no longer with us, rest in peace, he leaves behind his family to carry on for ugly dogs worldwide. Tater Tot, Sam's sweetheart and Pee Wee, also known as Son of Sam have ugly dog careers of their own. Tater Tot has shown some promise, placing second in the ugly dog contest, but we think you'll agree that it's Sam's son Pee Wee who will inherit his father's crown someday.
While Sam and his family remain in the celebrity spotlight, there is certainly no shortage on ugly dogs. If you've been entertaining the idea of getting your own ugly dogs and wading into the competition, we have some breeds that are contenders right here.
To some of us, Chinese Cresteds are bit like a My Little Pony gone wrong. First and foremost, the majority are nearly hairless and quite blotchy, with just a mane on their heads, some furry ski boots that went out of style in the seventies, and a plume of hair on a skinny tail. Then there is the Powder Puff variety, which looks a little like a miniature abominable snowman on a bad hair day.
Do you even want to try to pronounce Xoloitzcuintle? A progenitor to the Chihuahua, and perhaps also the Crested judging by the body type, the Xoloitzcuintle (show-lo-its-quint-lee) are truly unattractive dogs. One website describes viewing a few lying in the grass in their owner's backyard as looking like "half inflated inner tubes". Xolos are mainly hairless, but some have varying degrees of sparse hair on their heads and chins.
This ancient breed had been on the point of extinction, with less than 500 known, until breeders finally took notice and began efforts to save Xolos from disappearing entirely. Today, numbers run in the thousands again, and the future is looking brighter for these dogs.
The Neopolitan Mastiff falls into the category of huge unattractive dogs. The drooping folds of flesh hanging from their faces looks a bit like a Halloween mask that melted after coming too close to a bonfire. And shall we talk about the drool? If you enjoy long thick runners of slime dripping from your canine companion's mouth, this is the breed for you. Neopolitans would put Beethoven to shame.
While we admit that Shar Pei puppies are kind of cute in their ridiculously oversized skin suits, they quickly outgrow that cuteness to resemble W.C. Fields just a little too closely. The squinty little eyes and those large wrinkly schnozzes firmly rank the Shar Pei as officially ugly dogs.
Familiar with the phrase "They're so ugly, they're cute"? It had to have been coined by a Bulldog owner. One can easily picture some of these ugly dogs crawling up from a hole in the ground with their snaggled teeth jutting out of their awesome jaws, snorting and snuffling as they carry their massive barrel-shaped bodies on those little bowed legs. Throw in their propensity for flatulence, and we have a winner. There's no doubt that these are some truly unattractive dogs; yet they have a redeeming factor -- those beautiful soulful eyes that always seem to be apologizing for the way the rest of the package looks.
What Ugly Dogs See
Perhaps the problem lies not in the way some dogs look, but in our own inability to look past their outer shell to see the beautiful canine soul that lives beneath. Maybe we should be more like these beauty-challenged dogs, who look past our own failings and offer their love and devotion to us so freely, no matter what we look like. After all, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, something ugly dog owners already know.