Meet Scooter, the winner of this year's World's Ugliest Dog contest
Scooter isn't what many would call a conventional beauty.
The 7-year-old Chinese Crested dog, with reversed hind legs, is nearly bald but for a shock of white wispy hairs.
But it's those kinds of peculiarities that endeared the pooch to judges at the "World's Ugliest Dog" contest in Petaluma, Calif., where he took home the grand prize on Friday.
Scooter's pink, wayward tongue may be drooping from his mouth. The contest's title, however, is meant to be tongue-in-cheek. The nearly 50-year-old event is held to show that these dogs are uniquely beautiful by celebrating "the imperfections that make all dogs special," and to advocate for adoption.
"From the second he sits his hairless little booty and backward legs on your lap, you feel his warm, huggable power to change the meaning of the word ugly," said NBC host Gadi Schwartz, one of the competition's judges, in an interview with Today.
Catherine Liang, another judge, told The New York Times: "In the cutest way possible, he kind of reminds me of a hairy hippopotamus."
Scooter, now celebrated for his peculiarities, once faced death for his deformity. He was born with two deformed hind legs that hindered his ability to walk, according to his biography on the contest's website.
As a new puppy, Scooter was saved by a volunteer from the Saving Animals From Euthanasia (SAFE) rescue group after a breeder brought him into animal control in Tuscon, Ariz.
"He knew that this pup might have a chance at finding a good home and a fairly normal life with the support of our rescue group," the biography said.
Linda Elmquist adopted Scooter seven months ago from a man with the rescue group, reported Today.
When the 7-year-old gets tired from navigating on his front feet, he props himself up on his butt, "which he uses as a tripod," according to his bio.
Scooter recently got a new cart to help with his mobility. He's now able to zoom around the park like the other dogs, and "welcomes any outstretched hand."
When the wheels are off, Scooter can do what most dogs can't: walk while balancing on his two front legs.
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