Martha is big, ugly, lazy, and gassy. And a world champion. In a competition annually dominated by the old, the tiny, and the hairless, the 3-year-old, 125-pound Neapolitan Mastiff used her lollygagging youth to win the 29th annual World's Ugliest Dog Contest. Per the AP, she was a favorite 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. The judges didn't even need to hear her signature snore to give her the award. Martha lumbered away with $1,500, a flashy trophy, and a trip to New York for media appearances, all things she could hardly care less about.
The dog was rescued when she was nearly blind from neglect by the Dogwood Animal Rescue Project in Sonoma County, where the contest was held. After several surgeries, she can now see again. Moe, a 16-year-old Brussels Griffon-pug mix from Santa Rosa, Calif., who was the oldest in the competition, came in second while Chase, a 14-year-old Chinese Crested-Harke mix, came all the way from Neath, UK, to take third. The contestants were judged on first impressions, unusual attributes, personality, and audience reaction. These dogs—some with acne, others with tongues permanently sticking out—are used to getting called ugly. But for their owners, it was love at first sight. (Read more dogs stories.)