Handicapped Chinese Crested Dog, Scooter, Crowned "World's Ugliest Dog"


Jun. 26 2023, Published 3:44 p.m. ET

Scooter and his human with his trophy for World's Ugliest Dog.
Source: World's Ugliest Dog Contest

The 2023 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest winner is Scooter, a 7-year-old handicapped Chinese Crested dog.

Scooter’s tongue hangs out the side of his mouth, and he’s almost hairless, except for a wisp of white hairs on his face. His hind legs are reversed and underdeveloped, so he gets around using his front legs or with the assistance of a scooter made especially for him.

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Keep reading to learn Scooter's story, and to learn more about the runners-up in the 2023 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest.

A closeup of Scooter the dog
Source: World's Ugliest Dog Contest
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All the 2023 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest winners are rescue dogs with imperfections that make them special and unique. That’s what the annual contest is all about, promoting the adoption and adoration of all dogs, warts and all.

Other winners in the 2023 contest are:

  • Second Place: Wild Thang, a 7-year-old Pekingeses

  • Third Place and Spirit Award: Harold Bartholomew, an over 16-year-old Chihuahua

  • People’s Choice Award: Rascal Deus, a Chinese Crested.

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Second and third place finishers of the World's Ugliest Dog contest.
Source: World's Ugliest Dog Contest

Wild Thang (left) won second place and Harold Bartholomew (right) received third.

Scooter was saved from euthanasia.

After Scooter was born with two deformed hind legs, he was slated for euthanasia, because it was thought he would never be able to walk. But a volunteer with the nonprofit Saving Animals from Euthanasia took Scooter home with him and gave the dog another lease on life.

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“He knew that this pup might have a chance at finding a good home and a fairly normal life with the support of our rescue group,” reads Scooter’s bio.

“Today, Scooter isn’t only surviving, he’s thriving,” his bio says. “He has no idea that he is any different from any other dog.”

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Scooter was adopted by his human, Linda Elmquist, about seven months before the contest. After years of getting by just on his front two legs, Scooter now has a brand new cart thanks to funds raised from friends and rescue groups.

“He appreciates his newfound ability to zoom around and check things out. He loves going to the park and welcomes any outstretched hand,” his bio reads.

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Scooter struck a chord in the hearts of contest judges.

“In the cutest way possible, he kind of reminds me of a hairy hippopotamus,” judge Catherine Liang told The New York Times.

"From the second he sits his hairless little booty and backward legs on your lap, you feel his warm, huggable power to change the meaning of the word ugly," contest judge Gadi Schwartz of NBC told Today.

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Some contestants are victims of abuse, like 2014 winner Peanut.

The World’s Ugliest Dog Contest has been held at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, Calif., for almost 50 years. Some of the contestants’ “imperfections” are ones they were born with, while others are the result of abuse from human hands.

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The 2014 World’s Ugliest Dog contest winner, Peanut, was the victim of animal abuse. His face had been severely injured by fire, and he no longer had lips or eyelids. But he was still precious to Holly Chandler, the woman who adopted him.

"He's my baby,” Chandler reportedly said after Peanut was crowned 2014 World’s Ugliest Dog. “I guess I don't see him every day as being that ugly. But I guess the judges thought so."

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