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Dog ugly

These aesthetically-challenged canines have beaten off stiff competition to appear at the World's Ugliest Dog competition in Petaluma, California.

Each of the 29 dogs were judged on their "natural ugliness" during the annual run-off, which saw them parade in front of a crowd of hundreds.

And for those of you concerned about the ethics of labelling a dog ugly; fear not. Sonya Fitzpatrick, the pet psychic who hosted this year's contest, claimed she spoke to the furry hopefuls and they loved the attention. So that's sorted then.

After a tense selection process, Mugly (pictured below), a Chinese crested dog from the UK, was finally crowned this year's winner.

"I couldn't speak when they announced Mugly's name. I didn't know which way to look. I was shaking as much as the dog," said Mugly's delighted owner Bev Nicholson.

Mugly's short snout, beady eyes and white whiskers apparently made him a shoo-in for the judges (although we've definitely seen uglier mutts) and he was awarded a year's worth of dog cookies for his efforts.

Come see other contestants in this year's show, above and below.

Picture credit: Rex Features/ Kira Stackhouse, World's Ugliest Dog ® Contest, Sonoma-Marin Fair, Petaluma, California

ABOVE: Mugly, officially the world's ugliest dog for 2012

ABOVE: One of the ugly dog contenders, Roman, looks on hopefully

ABOVE: Abby, just one of the 29 dogs picked out for their 'natural ugliness'

ABOVE: Handsome Hector wears his coat with pride

ABOVE: Niara has some charming ear action going down

What do you think? Are these dogs worthy of their ugly title? Or is the whole concept a little mean-spirited? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments section below.

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