Scamp The Tramp Claims World's Ugliest Dog Title

Scamp the Tramp's looks have made him a winner -- but it was not a beauty contest.

Nineteen dogs strutted their stuff at the annual World's Ugliest Dog contest in Petaluma, California, on Friday.

But it was Scamp's snaggle-hair and bug-eyes that stole the judges hearts and gave him the win.

"Ugly is a four letter word...and so is cute, and when you can combine the two, doggonit, you got a great, great, ugly dog," said judge Kerry Sanders.

Scamp the Tramp rests after winning the World's Ugliest Dog Contest. Photo: AAP

It's not the first time Scamp has been in the competition -- he came second last year to Zsa Zsa, who has sadly passed away since.

Scamp is a therapy dog and volunteers at his local airport, elementary schools, libraries and senior centres.

"I am shocked and happy for him," owner Yvonne Morones told reporters after the win.

"He deserves it for everything that he does for everyone else."

Scamp the Tramp is held by Darlene Wright. Photo: AAP

Abnormally large tongues, buckteeth, bowed legs were just some of the ailments the other pooches in the contest had.

But the competition isn't skin deep, organisers say it is a way of bringing attention to the plight of rescue dogs.

Most of the dogs entered into the competition have been rescued from shelters or puppy mills.

With Reuters and AAP.