The 'World's Ugliest Dog' Has an Adorable Problem

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Every year a panel of distinguished judges must decide on a new "world's ugliest dog." Some past "winners" were hideous. There is very rarely any debate about the choices. But there's controversy swirling around this year's winner because the dog is actually pretty freakin' cute.

Meet Walle, the 4-year-old beagle, boxer and basset hound from northern California who was entered at the last minute, according to the Associated Press. He beat out 30 other dogs being judged on their "natural ugliness" for this year's crown. Judge Brian Sobel weighed in: "This dog looked like he's been photo-shopped with pieces from various dogs and maybe a few other animals." But the Internet, the great arbiter of everything cute and adorable, disagrees with the assessment of Sobel and his team of judges: 

The people have spoken and they think Walle is a lil' cutie. And The Atlantic Wire agrees: Walle is adorable and these judges are crazy. But Walle's defenders should know that he's not walking away with nothing more than a crown, sash and a horrible self-esteem. Walle and owner Tammie Barbee get $1,000 and a slew of television appearances. Walle will be on The Today Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live this week.

One explanation for the backlash is that Walle doesn't fit our preconceived notions of an ugly dog. It seems his choice bucked a trend. "Walle overcame the dominance in recent years by nearly hairless Chihuahuas, Chinese Cresteds, or combinations of the two," the AP explains. For instance, 2011's winner was Yoda, a 14-year-old Chinese Crested and Chihuahua mix. That's him on the right. There was no debate when Yoda won. Everyone agrees that he is an impossibly ugly dog. But Walle is a combination of three of the most popular breeds. Beagles are the fourth most popular breed in the U.S. according to the American Kennel Association. Boxers are seventh while basset hounds are further down the list but still in the top 50. 

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How could a dog that's a combination of two of the most popular breeds in the U.S. win an the distinction the world's ugliest dog? The Atlantic Wire does not know. If we cannot trust the world's ugliest dog judges, who can we trust?

We are sure of one thing, as first dictated by Atlantic Wire writer Philip Bump:

You can bet on that. "People come up to me and say that dog is not right," Barbee told the AP, "but I love him." We do too.

[All photos via the AP]

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.