Mr Happy Face Dog crowned world’s ugliest canine

Mr Happy Face dog being held by his owner Janeda Banelly
(Image credit: TODAY/YouTube)

Move over Scamp the Tramp because Mr Happy Face has officially been crowned the World’s Ugliest Dog in the latest round of this much-loved annual competition. 

Watching the ugliest dogs in the world strut their stuff in front of the judges has long been one of our favorite pastimes, and we’re pleased to report that this year did not disappoint.

Designed to raise awareness for the thousands of pups living in shelters across the country who are in need of forever homes, the World’s Ugliest Dog contest is all about celebrating the imperfections that make our furry friends so special. And special is exactly how we’d describe Mr Happy Face.

Last year, the 17-year-old Chinese Crested-Chihuahua mix was given just a month to live when he was adopted from a rescue shelter by Janeda Banelly, but nearly one year on, the happy-go-lucky little pup is still going strong.

"When I first met him, he was the happiest creature that I had ever met. He hobbled up to me and chose me," Benelly explains. "I vowed that day, he would be so loved that he would never remember how awful his previous life had been. 

Love, kindness and mommy kisses have helped him defy the anticipated short life that we all expected him to have with our family."

And on Friday, Mr Happy Face not only defied his short prognosis, he showed that he was thriving in the face of it when the judges announced that he was this year’s winner of the World’s Ugliest Dog contest. 

While shelter staff told Banelly that Mr Happy Face could have been inbred because he was so ugly, she saw beyond the canine’s outward appearance to the beautiful spirit that lay beneath. 

"I believe that this humble soul is also being an example, in subtle ways, to help humans realize that even old dogs need love and a family too," she says.

Alongside the coveted ‘World’s Ugliest Dog’ crown, Mr Happy Face also walked away with $1,500 in prize money and an all-expenses paid trip to New York City to appear on the Today show. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.