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Meet Martha: The Gentle Giant Crowned 'World's Ugliest Dog' Of 2017

25 June 2017, 7:57 am EDT By Athena Chan Tech Times
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Martha is the Neapolitan Mastiff who won the title of 2017's World Ugliest Dog. Get to know Martha as well as some of her other competitors.   ( Sonoma-Marin Fair )

The search is over, as the World's Ugliest Dog 2017 has already been crowned. Get to know this year's winner — a Neapolitan Mastiff named Martha — and some of her other buddies that were in the running.

World's Ugliest Dog 2017

Well, it's that time of the year again to choose the world's ugliest dog. She had a lot of competitors, but the gentle giant named Martha takes the crown.

Martha is a 3-year-old Neapolitan Mastiff from Sebastopol, California who was previously suffering from an eye condition that caused her to be nearly blind and in chronic pain. After several surgeries, Martha is now a healthy dog as she has gotten her eyesight back and is completely pain-free.

Without her ailment, Martha has turned into a gentle, silly, and affectionate girl who slobbers over guests upon arrival. The 125-pound Martha takes the crown — in this case, ribbon — along with the $1,500 prize and flights to New York for media appearances.

Although she won the contest for the world's ugliest dog, Martha is quite confident in her own, saggy skin. When the announcer asked Martha's owner, Shirley Zindler, if Martha was aware that she was ugly, Zindler said she didn't, and that Martha thinks that she is beautiful.

"We tell, her every day," said Zindler.

'Big Dog For The Little Man'

Neapolitan Mastiffs like Martha were originally bred in Italy to serve as estate guard dogs. Known as the "big dog for the little man," Mastiffs began as war dogs used in the Roman army, but breeders from the Neapolitan area of southern Italy eventually focused on breeding Mastiffs to guard homes.

Since then, Neapolitan Mastiffs retained their massive size, loose skin, and personalities that fit well with families. They are bred to detect and deter intruders, and many say that their unsightly appearance alone would be enough to deter intruders.

Martha's Competitors

The competition wasn't as easy as it seems because Martha had a lot of competitors to beat. One such competitor that was particularly difficult to beat was Rascal Deux who, aside from being the fifth generation to enter the contest, has previous experiences with being on television.

Rascal's father won the title in 2002 along with seven other titles, and his great grandfather has a world record for winning seven world titles.
(Photo : Sonoma-Marin Fair) Rascal's father won the title in 2002 along with seven other titles, and his great grandfather has a world record for winning seven world titles.

There was also Scamp, who was rescued from a shelter in Los Angeles, with his wild hair that no conditioner can tame. He is a pet therapist who visits senior centers and a "reading dog" for first graders.

Scamp's most striking feature is his hair that always seems to grow into dreadlocks.
(Photo : Sonoma-Marin Fair) Scamp's most striking feature is his hair that always seems to grow into dreadlocks.

Josie was also one strong competitor with wild hair. Though she spent her early years in a cage in a puppy mill, Josie now lives in Tucson, Arizona. Just like Martha, she was rescued from a hard life and was eventually adopted by loving people.

Josie helps other foster pets to adjust to their new life after being rescued.
(Photo : Sonoma-Marin Fair) Josie helps other foster pets to adjust to their new life after being rescued.
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