The one-eyed three-legged Gus, pedigree Chinese Crested, was the 2008 winner of the World's Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California.
As one L.A. reporter put it, "I"ve seen uglier dogs." And to tell the truth, compared to some years' winners he was rather good looking. The breed is believed to have been developed from crosses of Mexican hairlesses with chihuahuas, and some chihuahua clubs include cresteds as honorary chis.
After he was rescued from an abusive home (he'd been kept perpetually in a crate in a garage), Gus became the pampered pal of Jeanenne Teed of St. Petersburg, Florida. He lost the eye when a cat gave it a good scratch, and he lost the leg because of an advanced skin tumor.
He lost his fight with cancer in June 2008. The largely hairless Chinese Crested breed is susceptible to skin cancer due to having no protection from the sun, and Gus's owner used all the contest-winnings in radiation treatment for his melanoma.
They're also susceptible to tooth problems since the genes that control fur also effect teeth. And yet for all their possible prooblems, crestedssss are surprisingly long-lived on average. Even with his serious health concerns, Gus made it to nine.
Ugly Dog contestants often promote causes. So in his last year of life Gus was instrumental in heightening cancer awareness among pet lovers. Seriously Gus wasn't that ugly but his good-natured personality and the seriousness of his cause won over the judges.