Jeneda Benally of Flagstaff, Arizona poses for a photo with her dog Mr Happy Face (AP Photo/D Ross Cameron)
A 17-year-old hairless Chinese crested-Chihuahua mix has been crowned the World’s Ugliest Dog 2022 in an annual competition in America.
Mr Happy Face beat out the other contestants with his epic white mohawk, crooked face and long tongue hanging from the side of his mouth.
Owner Jeneda Benally adopted Mr Happy Face from a shelter last year. He’d come from a hoarder’s house where he’d been abused and neglected.
The vet told Jeneda the dog would probably only have a few weeks to a month left, but Jenna said as soon as she laid eyes on him she saw “a creature who was indeed old, needed a second chance and deserved to be loved.”
“When I first met him, he was the happiest creature that I had ever met,” Jenna wrote in Mr Happy Face’s competition profile. “He hobbled up to me and chose me. I vowed that day, he would be so loved that he would never remember how awful his previous life had been.”
The World’s Ugliest Dog Contest has been running for nearly 50 years and organisers say the competition is "not about making fun of ugly dogs, but having fun with some wonderful characters and showing the world that these dogs are really beautiful!"
It also promotes the need to adopt dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds and give them a loving forever home as many of the dogs entered in the competition are from puppy mills and animal shelters.
Mr Happy’s goals are to have a longer tongue than Gene Simmons and a more dashing snarl than Billy Idol. He also sounds just like a Dodge Ram diesel truck reviving an engine when he is feeling happy.
In an Instagram video of Jeneda and Mr Happy Face in New York after their win, Jeneda said, "We hope that his cuteness will inspire you to create acts of compassion and acts of kindness today towards each other because the world is a whole lot less ugly when we’re kinder to each other."
The runner-up dogs were:
2nd Place – Wild Thing
3rd Place – Monkey
Spirit Award – Morita
People Choice Award – Liberace!