Organizers say the competing dogs are judged for what they term their "natural ugliness in both pedigree and mutt classes."
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PETALUMA, Calif. —
Even the fleas are itching now for this evening's World's Ugliest Dog Contest to begin at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma.
The event that attracts worldwide attention -- but only ugly American contenders this year -- begins at 5:30 p.m. with a walk down the red carpet.
Last year's winner was Mugley, a Chinese Crested dog from the United Kingdom.
Five dogs entered the contest at the last minute today, bringing the total number of contenders to 29 barring any late scratches, Sonoma-Marin Fair spokeswoman Vicki DeArmon said. Their owners had to pony up $20 to enter their pet.
Media coverage has intensified in the last day or so with calls from Good Morning America, The Today Show and NBC Universal, DeArmon said.
Jimmy Kimmel also intends to have the winner on his show next week, she said.
There have been dog-related events all day at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, including presentations by the Sonoma Humane Society about pet adoption and rescue dogs, Canine Companions for Independence and Paws as Loving Support dogs.
Some of the contestants have "Paw-tographed" the 25th Anniversary Book about the World's Ugliest Dog Contest. Owners pressed their pet's paw in a stamp pad and imprinted the paw print on the dog's page in the book, DeArmon said.
Radio personalities Bob and Sheri from The Mix 104.9 will provide the laughs to accompany the "Yucks!" from the crowd during the hour-long contest that starts at 6 p.m.
The ugly pedigree winner will face off against the ugly mutt winner and be crowned Ugliest Dog in the World.
"There are a lot of happy dogs. All tails are wagging. It looks like this will be the best one yet," DeArmon said this afternoon.
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