The world’s ugliest dog, Elwood, died on Thanksgiving morning, says owner Karen Quigley. The Chinese crested and Chihuahua mix was named the world’s ugliest dog back in 2007, holding onto that prestigious and not so dignifying title for over 6 years, until his untimely death earlier this week.
The New Jersey born pup was renounced for his drooping almost lifeless tongue, chaotic and untamed thinning grey hair, and set of off balance, slit-like eyes. According to Elwood’s owner Karen Quigley, the canine was experiencing some minor health issues, but seemed to be doing fine up until Thanksgiving morning when they found Elwood deceased.
The world’s ugliest dog was crowned at the annual ugly dog contest at the Sonoma-Marin County fair in California. He had entered in 2006 but was beaten out by a dog named Archie, who ironically enough looked very similar to Elwood, a Chinese crested purebred himself. Archie died two years later in 2008.
The hairless, mohawk sporting dog in addition to being crowned the world’s ugliest dog, was also the topic of a children’s book promoting acceptance.
Karen Quigley says she rescued Elwood in 2005 when he was about nine months old from a pessimistic breeder who saw the chances of selling Elwood as slim to none.
“The breeder was going to euthanize him because she thought he was too ugly to sell,” said Quigley.
Elwood’s crowning gained him a considerable fan base, appearing at hundreds of events and raising thousands of dollars for various animal rescue groups and nonprofit animal organizations.
The book “Everyone Loves Elwood” was popular among children, and taught “lessons of love, compassion, and perseverance,”
Chinese Crested dogs have won the World’s ugliest competition several times, including 2002 when Rascal, a descendant of record holding Chi Chi, who won more World’s Ugliest Dog titles than any other dog in history with 8 wins, won the spot in 2002. Following him was a blind Chinese crested dog named Sam from Santa Barbara California, who won 3 years in a row. He died later in 2005, ultimately ending his 3 year reign as World’s Ugliest Dog. There was also 2008 when a Chinese crested dog named Gus took the title.
The World’s Ugliest Dog Contest has been running for 13 years, making its debut on television in 2000 as part of the Sonoma-Marin Fair. The winner’s owner receives a check for $1,000, and with the contest’s popularity, abundant media coverage and deals are offered to those owner’s with the World’s Ugliest Dog. Much like Karen Quigley, many of the title holders used their new found stardom to back causes such as animal abuse prevention, animal rescue operations, and animal adoption centers.
Animal Planet signed onto the contest, sponsoring the event and broadcasting the show on television. Judges sometimes include celebrities like Jon Provost (he played “Timmy” on the 1950’s television show Lassie).
Heartbroken as any pet owner would be, Karen Quigley said in a statement Saturday “He made people smile, he made them laugh and feel good. It was wonderful… He will truly be missed.”
2007’s World’s Ugliest Dog Elwood died at 8 years old Thanksgiving morning.
By John Amaruso