Meet The World's Ugliest Dog Contenders

For once, it pays to have a bad hair day.

Over the years, we've grown accustomed to praising our pets for their prettiness or cleverness, but one best in show contest is somewhat challenging this shallow practice -- and proves that when it comes to award-winning traits, beauty is definitely in the eyes of the beholder.

The contest, aptly called the World's Ugliest Dog, is held every year at the Sonoma Marin Fair in Petaluma, California -- but before you start thinking the event is making a cruel mockery of these unfortunate hounds, think again.

The World's Ugliest Dog Competition takes place in Petaluma, California. Image: Getty.

In fact, it's rather the opposite, with owners of these hairless, toothless and loose-skinned mutts doting all over their pampered -- if not rather ungainly looking -- pooches.

What's more, there's a lot to be gained from entering the annual contest. In addition to receiving a whopping amount of international media coverage, the winner of the coveted title of World's Ugliest Dog also gets a spectacular trophy as well as $1500 in cash -- now you're talkin'.

Best of all, unlike other best in show contests, there's no prep work for the big day. So you can forget the tongs and crimpers because, for once, it pays to have a bad hair day. Other prize-worthy traits include eye issues, bad fur, and irregular body shapes -- it's genuinely a warts and all kinda thing.

To be crowned ugliest pooch, canines are judged in four main categories: first impression, special or unusual attributes, personality, and audience impression.

The winner and their human will also receive an all expenses paid trip to the Big Apple for television appearances.

Last year's winner was Martha the Mastiff, whose bloodshot eyes and saggy jowls were standout features for the judges. But it was the massive cheers she was greeted with as she walked onto the stage that ultimately led judges to awarding her as the overall winner.

While the contest isn't necessarily for everyone, it comes as a welcomed addition to the best in show category -- and it's great to finally see the less fortunate of pooches finally having their moment in the spotlight -- even if it is for being so doggone ugly.

To tide you over until this year's winner is announced tomorrow, here are some of the hot contenders to feast your eyes upon -- and don't worry, they have a very good life!  

Image: Sonoma Marin Fair.
Image: Sonoma Marin Fair.
Rico Alexander Valenzuela
Image: Sonoma Marin Fair.
Image: Sonoma Marin Fair.
Rascal Deux
Image: Sonoma Marin Fair.

Feature image: Sonoma Marin Fair.