Monday 23 October 2017

Looking ruff: Martha the mastiff wins World's Ugliest Dog Contest

Shirley Zindler, of Sebastopol, Calif., sits with her dog Martha, a Neapolitan mastiff, who won the World's Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair on Friday, June 23, 2017.(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Shirley Zindler, of Sebastopol, Calif., sits with her dog Martha, a Neapolitan mastiff, who won the World's Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair on Friday, June 23, 2017.(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Linda Wang

A 125lb gentle giant named Martha has been crowned the winner of the 29th annual World's Ugliest Dog Contest.

The Neapolitan mastiff was a favourite of the northern California crowd from the start, often plopping down on her side on stage with her droopy face spread across the ground when she was supposed to be showing off.

She was rescued when she was nearly blind, but after several operations can see again, according to her handler Shirley Zindler.

She lumbered away with 1,500 dollars (£1,170), a flashy trophy and a trip to New York for media appearances, all things she could hardly care less about.

She beat 13 other dogs, most of them the kind of older, smaller dogs who dominate the competition.

Moe, a 16-year-old Brussels griffon-pug mix who was the oldest in the competition, came in second.

Shirley Zindler, of Sebastopol, Calif., sits with her dog Martha, a Neapolitan mastiff, who won the World's Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair on Friday, June 23, 2017.(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Shirley Zindler, of Sebastopol, Calif., sits with her dog Martha, a Neapolitan mastiff, who won the World's Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair on Friday, June 23, 2017.(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

He had lost his hearing and sight but his sense of smell is strong and he was enjoying all the smells at the Sonoma-Marin Fair where the contest is held, including funnel cakes and other fried goodies.

Chase, a 14-year-old Chinese crested-harke mix, came third.

The contestants were judged on first impressions, unusual attributes, personality and audience reaction.

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