Skip to content

With a face only a mother could love – or a pet owner, at least – ugly dogs bring a whole heap of joy to their human families. Even if they are a bit unsightly, it’s not all about looks in this world. And Ugliest Dog Day is here to prove it! 

History of Ugliest Dog Day

Each year, in the city of Petaluma, California, a contest is held to determine exactly which dog of all of them is truly the ugliest. This ‘honor’ has been an annual tradition in the local area since the 1970s when the contest got its start. Beginning as a way to generate some revenue for a group called the Old Adobe Association.

Starting out as a pet parade activity, the ugliest dog contest seemed to be a better fit for the event and became very popular – so much so that it became part of the Sonoma-Marin Fair by the late 1980s. And by 2009, the phrase “World’s Ugliest Dog” was trademarked by the folks who run the fair.

With the Ugliest Dog Contest typically taking place around the last week of June, Ugliest Dog Day can be celebrated in advance by people around the nation or even around the world. Ugliest Dog Day is scheduled to fall on the Third Friday in June.

How to Celebrate Ugliest Dog Day

Enjoy Ugliest Doy Day with some of these ideas for celebrating the day:

Attend the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest

Those who are super serious about Ugliest Dog Day can make plans in advance to head on over to Sonoma County, California to attend the Ugliest Dog Contest. And those who have an ugly dog of their own? Perhaps it would be fun to enter the contest too!

While there, it would be a shame to miss out on the thing that Sonoma County is famous for all over the world – the wine. Visit a few vineyards, take a tour, enjoy a wine tasting. Perhaps even pop down to San Francisco for even more access to interesting travel activities and sites.

Show Some Appreciation to an Ugly Dog

Have an ugly dog yourself or know someone who does? Ugliest Dog Day is an ideal time to spoil that ugly dog with a little gift. Buy him a new toy or a little treat to chew on. Delight her with a new doggie bed or just pick up an extra box of her favorite biscuits. Or, even better, enjoy the nice summer weather and take that ugliest dog for a walk at the dog park to be social and play with some other ugly dogs!

Learn About the Ugliest Dog Breeds

One fun way to celebrate Ugliest Dog Day might be to learn a bit more about breeds of dogs that are considered to be ugly. Sure, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there are certain breeds that tend to win the Ugliest Dog Contest each year.

  • Chinese Crested
  • Mexican Hairless Dog
  • Chihuahua (often mixed with other breeds)
  • Neapolitan Mastiff

Also on ...

View all holidays

National Take Your Dog to Work Day

Take Your Dog to Work instead of leaving them home alone, and reconsider the important bond between man and his best friend, that shouldn’t end on workdays.

National Smoothie Day

A delicious and refreshing drink that's perfect for any time of day, packed with nutrients and flavor — it's the ultimate healthy indulgence!

Wagyu Day

With its tender texture, this premium beef creates a melt-in-your-mouth sensation, leaving taste buds in a state of pure delight.

World Humanist Day

Consider your own agency and actions as a human, and how you might benefit yourself and others by striving to do good, be kind, and participate in society.

View all holidays

We think you may also like...

National Dress Up Your Pet Day

Set up a literal catwalk and treat your furry friends to some safe, comfortable fashion, organize a fun photo shoot or go all out with matching outfits.

National Walking the Dog Day

Take your furry friend on a leisurely stroll and explore the outdoors together. Bond, get exercise, and breathe in the fresh air!

National Guide Dog Month

Four-legged companions, these furry friends provide unwavering support, guiding and brightening the lives of those they accompany with their boundless loyalty.

Calendar