With his tongue always on the side, 'Mr.

Happy Face 'does justice to the name of it.

But this dog is more than joy: he has won over a jury in California that has crowned him "The ugliest dog in the world."

The

17-year-old Chinese crested

has competed for the prize with nine other competitors in the return of the contest that for decades has been held

at the Sonora-Marin fair in Petaluma, California

.

Candidates included the furry 'Wild Thing', the flirtatious 'Liberace', the pug 'Jinny Lu', and 'Mono', a Brussels griffon.

'Mr.

Happy Face' has a white plume and short ears.

It was his joy that captivated his guardian, Jeneda Benally, who

adopted him last year during the pandemic

.

When Benally arrived at the kennel in Arizona, she heard about an elderly puppy with some health problems.

"The staff was trying to prepare me for what I was about to see," Benally said at the 'Mr.

Happy Face' for the contest.

"I saw a creature that was actually old,

needed another chance and deserved love

," summarizes Benally, who also tells how this puppy also had to face a life of "abuse and neglect."

Benally discusses the medical history of 'Mr.

Happy Face', but he spends more time describing his qualities.

"His hobbies are being fearlessly adorable, invoking his older privilege among his 4- and 3-legged furry siblings, and eating stinky things," says the guardian.

"He doesn't like climbing stairs, wearing diapers, sharing a bed, not being the center of my universe and mommy's kisses."

The contest of the ugliest dog in the world prides itself on being a space to shout to the world that

"the pedigree does not define the pet"

.

"Dogs of all breeds and sizes have filled our hearts and filled our lives with unconditional love," organizers say.

Benally, whose life was transformed by 'Mr.

Happy Face,' he agrees.

"I think this humble soul is also being an example, in a subtle way, to help humans realize that

even old dogs need love and a family too

."

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