The Handsomest Dog in the World

I write frequently about my dog Oliver.


He is loyal. Intelligent. A good eater (lately into ripe strawberries from my garden). Brave. Well, loud and aggressive, anyway, and I think  he’s secretly a bit of a chicken.

We got Oliver as a baby from a dog rescue family that was fostering his ma, a seemingly unadoptable, classic yellow cur. Father: unknown. In a White Plains kitchen squirmed eight chubby balls of fur, attached to eight wagging stumps of tails. It was January. We had run out of time to find adolescent Maud a puppy birthday present. Ollie was it. He might be a beagle, from his coloring. Who knew?


We found everything he did delicious even though he smelled bad and was so snaggletoothed he needed a lot of dental work. His lip was partly cleft. He waddled. Most of all he didn’t play well with others. All he did in obedience class was bark at his classmates. He once found a warren of rabbits and killed them all. His genetic origins, it seemed clear, spanned the basset hound and the pit bull.


Still. Ferocious as he is, he can be the picture of docility. Smiles over the shoes he brings when we come in the door, earning his nickname the Jolly Rancher. He can be mellow, even soulful.




He’s was a flaming redhead for Halloween when he was about a year old.


Clownface, I call him.


Whatever else he is, he’s unique.

And so it is that I became shocked and miffed to see this year’s Ugliest Dog in the World paraded across a stage in California and then making the talk show circuit in New York. The contest has taken place for 25 years, and the Chinese Crested breed, which is hairless, usually triumphs. Not this time.


Walle came from Chico, and they were calling him a cross between a basset hound and a boxer. One judge said that Walle looked like “he’s been Photoshopped with pieces from various dogs and maybe a few other animals.”


Walle didn’t look like any other dog, everyone said, with his pudgy gait, chunky paws, large head, lowrise posture, oversize nose.


Well, you tell me. Is Walle unique? Or did we finally locate one of Oliver’s vanished siblings? More to the point, is the dog who won the laurels ugly?

Because Oliver is beautiful.



Filed under Culture, Dogs, Home, Jean Zimmerman, Nature

10 responses to “The Handsomest Dog in the World

  1. Pingback: Thank You for Reading | Jean Zimmerman

  2. Awww. He misses you too.

  3. David Riggle

    Now that is a prince of a dog- in looks as in character!

  4. He’s a Heinz 57 dog, alright.

  5. Lori

    And after looking at all the pictures of Oliver I would have to agree with those who have spoken: he does indeed look like one of his parents was a Basset Hound. However, I do think that perhaps he had Beagle in his background, but he also has the pit bull’s wide head.
    At least he is loyal! That’s what’s important.

  6. Lori

    No dog is ugly who is loved.

  7. He does waddle. Wish I could show a video of his swish on my blog but there are technical limitations. Was it Professor Longhair who sang, “She walks, she walks, she waddles when she walks”? I always think that when I see Ollie galumphing across the lawn.

  8. We all know that mutts tend to have more personality and intelligence than pure bred dogs. In terms of beauty, I happen to think there’s no difference.


    Awww… does Oliver waddle when he walks… like Walle? They sure look like litter-mates! Lucky dog… to have you for his family… so cute.

  10. I look at him and think corgi/beagle mix. he is cute none of those dogs were ugly to me, I guess these type of dogs are so rare you have to just find dogs that are less pretty or cute then

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