Zsa Zsa the bulldog slobbers her way to victory in World’s Ugliest Dog Contest

Going into this year’s World Ugliest Dog Contest in Petaluma, Linda Elmquist of Tucson, Arizona, had high hopes that her dog could make another run at the title.

Josie, a Chinese crested with some chihuahua mixed in, had already participated five times in the contest held annually at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, taking home a respectable second- and third-place finishes in past years.

But after taking one look at a rival named Zsa Zsa, Elmquist figured it was game over Saturday night.

“I shouldn’t be promoting the competition. But she’s awesome,” Elmquist said of the giant 9-year-old English bulldog.

That prediction proved true as Zsa Zsa took home the crown along with the $1,500 winner’s prize for her owner, Megan Brainard of Anoka, Minnesota.

Zsa Zsa was definitely the crowd favorite among the approximately 300 fairgoers who watched the contest amid scorching 94-degree heat. She was unmistakable with protruding cartoon-like shoulders along with two bottom incisors that stuck out like crooked candy corn over her black snout.

“She looks like a predator,” Elmquist said.

What sealed the deal with the judges and the crowd was her tongue, a funnel of saliva when she was carried to the stage by Brainard. The tongue dangled at least four inches under her jaw while Zsa Zsa rested, similar to the melting watch of Salvador Dali’s painting “The Persistence of Memory.”

In fact, one of the judges during the competition asked Brainard: “That tongue is real?”

Brainard said she was shocked by the victory. She picked up Zsa Zsa about four years ago as a rescue dog from Missouri puppy mill. It took her family three days to drive out to Petaluma for the contest.

“She has come so far and she is just so beautiful in my eyes,” said Brainard, who operates a dog-and-cat grooming shop. “It’s her tongue, and her personality and her slobber.”

Josie finished third in the contest and Scamp, a dog owned by Yvonne Morones of Santa Rosa, finished second among the 14 dogs that competed.

You can reach Staff Writer Bill Swindell at 521-5223 or On Twitter @BillSwindell.

Bill Swindell

Business, Beer and Wine, The Press Democrat  

In the North Coast, we are surrounded by hundreds of wineries along with some of the best breweries, cidermakers and distillers. These industries produce an abundance of drinks as well as good stories – and those are what I’m interested in writing. I also keep my eye on our growing cannabis industry and other agricultural crops, which have provided the backbone for our food-and-wine culture for generations.

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