Second place wasn’t good enough for Quasi Modo, who last week was honored as the world’s ugliest dog.
The 10-year-old pit bull-shepherd mix was born with birth defects that left her with a hunched-over appearance shared by the fictional character Quasimodo in the novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.”
The canine Quasi Modo, who lives in Loxahatchee, Fla., with veterinarian Virginia Sayre, DVM, finished as runner-up in the 2014 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest but returned to Petaluma, Calif., to try again.
The competition, held annually at the Sonoma-Marin Fair, is a beauty contest of sorts.
“We aren’t interested in lineage—it’s the inner beauty and personality that shine in our World’s Ugliest Dog Contest,” said the fair’s marketing director, Karen Spencer.
More than two-dozen arguably unattractive contestants walked a red carpet in front of judges and 500 spectators. Chief judge Brian Sobel said Quasi Modo “epitomized excellence in ugliness”—an achievement worthy of the $1,500 first-place prize.
The contest also served to draw attention to shelter dogs and pet adoptions. Like Quasi Modo, most of the contestants had been rescued.
Quasi Modo’s application, ghost-written by Dr. Sayre and husband Mike Carroll, explained her origins.
“I was abandoned at an animal shelter and because of my strange looks life was looking pretty grim,” the entry read. “Luckily, one of the veterinarians there saw the sparkle in my eyes and took me home.
“I have multiple birth defects to my spine. My back is too short for the rest of my body and the parts went together in the worst possible way. In spite of this I still run, play and enjoy life to the fullest. My appearance can be a little unsettling to some (I have had grown men jump on top of their cars to get away from me because they thought I was a hyena or Tasmanian devil) but once they get to know me I win them over with my bubbly personality.”