'Mr. Happy Face' Wins World's Ugliest Dog Contest

Just look at that winning smile.

Meara Isenberg Associate Writer
Meara covers streaming service news for CNET. She recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she wrote for her college newspaper, The Daily Texan, as well as for state and local magazines. When she's not writing, she likes to dote over her cat, sip black coffee and try out new horror movies.
Meara Isenberg
2 min read
Woman holds small gray dog whose face and ears resemble a bat.

We're happy for you, Mr. Happy face.

Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

One very good boy has earned the coveted title of World's Ugliest Dog at a well-known annual contest held in Petaluma, California. 

Mr. Happy Face is a "fearlessly adorable" Chinese Crested-Chihuahua mix. His talents extend far beyond looking spectacular -- the prize-winning pup is also skilled at sleeping, snoring and woofing in his sleep, according to a description written by Jeneda Benally, whose family adopted him from an Arizona shelter in August 2021. 

He aims "to have a longer tongue than Gene Simmons and a more dashing snarl than Billy Idol," she adds of the dog, who is roughly 17 years old.

Benally knows Mr. Happy Face's life hasn't been a walk in the park. Before landing at a shelter, Mr. Happy Face spent time in a hoarder's house and experienced abuse and neglect.

"The veterinarian had suggested that because of his tumors and multiple conditions that we might only have him for a few weeks, maybe a month," Benally said in her statement. "When I first met him, he was the happiest creature that I had ever met. He hobbled up to me and chose me... Love, kindness and mommy kisses have helped him defy the anticipated short life that we all expected him to have with our family."

The World's Ugliest Dog contest returned this year after a pause in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, the top honor went to former stray Scamp the Tramp. According to the competition's website, the event "celebrates the imperfections that make all dogs special and unique" and raises support and awareness for animals that are up for adoption. 

The contest, which announced the winners on June 24, has been around since the '70s, so Mr. Happy Face is the latest in a long line of pooches to get his paw on the prize.

All hail Mr. Happy Face, long may he (hideously) reign.