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Is This Dog Really That Ugly?

We don't mean to be offensive, but someone has to say it: Walle, a 4-year-old beagle-basset mix who was just crowned the 2013 World's Ugliest Dog, is just NOT that ugly.

In fact, Walle is downright cute.

There's something not quite right in Petaluma, Calif., where the annual competition is held. Genuinely ugly (and, in our opinion, totally deserving) Icky, Josie, Rascal and Mugly — all Chinese cresteds — were shut out.

Even a pug named Penny seems more deserving.

Still, it hasn't stopped the press from fawning over Chico, Calif., native Walle. The Associated Press describes him as a "huge-headed, duck-footed mix of beagle, boxer and basset hound." Paleeze!

And naturally the judges, too, had only kind words for the winner.

"This dog looked like he's been Photoshopped with pieces from various dogs and maybe a few other animals," judge Brian Sobel said.

Walle's owner, Tammie Barbee, who got the dog when he was three months old, says, "People come up to me and say that dog is not right. ... but I love him."

Organizers of the competition, now in its 25th year, say the dogs are judged for their "natural ugliness in both pedigree and mutt classes."

Still, given the dominance in recent years of hairless Chihuahuas, Chinese cresteds, or some combination thereof, we have to wonder if there wasn't some subtle pressure to spread the joy to other breeds and breed mixes.

Walle's prize? Cash in the amount of $1,500 and a chance at stardom. Walle is already scheduled to make several network TV appearances next week, including on NBC's Today show and ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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