The annual World's Ugliest Dog competition awards the winning pup with $1,500, a trophy and a free trip to New York City
If there’s one way to describe Scamp the Tramp, ugly would do. However, the dreadlocked former stray is so much more.
Scamp was this year’s champion of the World’s Ugliest Dog contest, an annual event that shows off the diverse dogs of the world who have less-than-desirable features — but lots of love to give.
The event is held each year at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California, and on Friday, Scamp became the newest addition to the long list of most unsightly dogs, a title that comes with a $1,500 prize, a trophy and a free trip to New York City.
Scamp the Tramp may be gaining popularity now, but was actually kind of a big deal even before he won the prize.
Here are five facts to know about this year’s World’s Ugliest Dog.
1. He Was Found on PetFinder
Scamp first came into owner Yvonne Morones’ life in 2014, where she discovered the pup on PetFinder, an online pet adoption website.
“I ran across Scamp’s photo and it was just like Tinder for dogs,” Yvonne Morones told the New York Times. “I swiped right and fell in love with that face.” Morones adopted Scamp from a Los Angeles animal shelter after he was found wandering the streets of Compton, California, licking Taco Bell wrappers.
“He rode home with me in the car and all the way home he sat next to me,” Morones said, adding that the two bonded when the Bob Marley song “One Love,” came on the radio, which Morones noticed Scamp was bobbing his head to.
2. He Is Named for His Owner’s Grandmother
It was essentially love at first sight for Morones and Scamp, so she wanted to give him a moniker that expressed her deep feelings, too.
The name Scamp is inspired by Morones’ late grandmother, who, when Morones was a child, warned her not to talk to the “hobos” and “tramps” on the streets.
A simple warning from a grandmother ultimately turned into inspiration for her pet, something Morones felt was special enough to pass on.
3. His Owner Has Previous Ugliest Dogs
This is not the first time Morones has felt the joy of victory at the World’s Ugliest Dog competition: the dog owner has two other pups, Nana and Munchkin, who’ve been named winners in the past.
Nana, who won for three years between 1995 and 2001, was a 3-lb. Chihuahua mix with wire-like gray hair around the face and down her chest. She died in 2001.
Munchkin is small but round with wild hair that sticks out on top of her back. As Morones told the New York Times of why her dogs tend to win: “I think they have to be naturally just odd-looking. Usually, the tongue is hanging out. They could be missing hair. Their parts could be kind of crooked.”
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4. Scamp Has Kept Busy Over the Years
Scamp has quite the résumé now with the Ugliest Dog win, but it’s not his only big bullet point.
Over the years, Scamp served as a social therapy dog and a reading dog for a first-grade class. In addition, he’s represented the Humane Society of Sonoma County in a kissing booth at events and greeted passengers at the Sonoma County Airport.
5. He Was Last Year’s Runner-Up
Turns out, Scamp the Tramp came oh-so-close to nailing that first place prize just one year ago, as he was the runner-up in the 2018 competition, which ended in victory for Zsa Zsa, a 9-year-old bulldog who had an extremely long tongue that protruded almost to the ground.
Scamp’s narrow loss in 2018 gives hope to this year’s silver and bronze winners — Wild Thang, the runner-up with distemper, a condition that affects musculature and the nervous system, and Tostito, who landed in third place with no teeth or lower jaw.
Morones also plans to enter the contest next year and keep her winning streak going.
“I’ve never looked for a dog for this,” she told the New York Times. “They seem to find me. Who knows? There might be another dog in my future.”