They say beauty is in the eyes of the beholder but there was general agreement Friday night in Petaluma about what constitutes ugly.
A beagle-bassett-boxer mix with an oversized head, humped back and drumstick legs got the nod, beating out hairless, drooling pooches of all kinds to be named the World's Ugliest Dog.
"He reminds me of Arnold Schwarzenegger," said Tammie Barbee of Chico, owner of the 4-year-old mutt, Walle. "That's what everybody says."
Contest emcee Sheri Lynch, co-host of the nationally syndicated Bob & Sheri radio show, said he "looks like someone Photoshopped him."
Petaluma political consultant Brian Sobel, who served as a judge, also chimed in about the oddly bred hound with disproportionate features.
"His body configuration has me stunned," Sobel said. "He looks like an experiment that went wrong."
The appearance-impaired pup was deemed more hideous than Rue, a black Chinese crested from Lodi that the hosts said looked "half-dinosaur, half-kangaroo."
"She has a mullet and no other hair," said her owner, Annie Ragsdale. "She's a hoarder. She's got OCD a little bit."
Other top finishers included Mayzie Brown, a tiny Pomeranian from Nevada with patches of pink, speckled skin; Sophie, a cross-eyed Chihuahua-mix from the Bay Area that produced bubbles from her nose; and Isaboo, a mixed Chihuahua-Chinese crested from Idaho with a scraggly mohawk.
Walle's owner got a five-foot tall trophy and $1,500. But more importantly, he's expected to be catapulted to fame with appearances on the "Today" show" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live."
Dog and owner soaked up the limelight before a crowd of hundreds as press photographers snapped their pictures at the Sonoma-Marin Fair, which continues through Sunday.
Barbee said Walle's mother was a beagle-basset mix and his father was a boxer.
Some pointed out that his face lacked the usual physical horrors of past winners. A few said he was actually good-looking.
But others, including many of the two-dozen competitors, said the title was well-deserved. His deformed features made him the most repulsive.
"He was lopsided," said Jim Partridge of Santa Rosa, who entered his chubby pug, Grovie. "It's nice to see a dog with some hair win."
You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne 568-5312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shelters for Pawnee fire evacuees
Lower Lake High School, 9430 Lake St., Lower Lake, is the official shelter established for people evacuating from the Pawnee fire. It is equipped to handle animals.
The Clearlake Oaks Moose Lodge, 15900 E. Highway 20, Clearlake Oaks, is not authorized by the Office of Emergency Services but is also sheltering fire evacuees, mostly people in campers and RVs who want their animals with them.
There is an authorized Lake County animal services station in an open field at Highway 53 and Anderson Ridge Road in Lower Lake.