By Michael Leaverton, Dogster

Cute is the new ugly at the 25th annual World's Ugliest Dog Contest, as a dog who is not ugly at all was named the ugliest dog on the planet.

Either that, or the contest is a SHAM.

Okay, we know the contest is not a sham. It's a very nice contest to make everybody feel good about dogs. But the little boy who won, Walle, isn't even ugly, much less ugly enough to get a prize for it.

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Just look at him: He's not even hairless. He tongue stays in his mouth. He doesn't look like he just emerged from the hospital -- or from a toxic waste site.

Last year's winner, in contrast, whoa:

worlds ugliest dog 2013

Why did judges switch to the sort of dog that you would not shield your children from? Perhaps they were getting bored with all the hairless or nearly hairless Chihuahuas and Chinese Cresteds, who have been dominating the events.

According to the AP, judges were especially impressed by Walle’s "bizarre waddle of a walk." Also: “This dog looked like he’s been Photoshopped with pieces from various dogs and maybe a few other animals,” judge Brian Sobel said.

None of that screams ugly, but fair enough.

Let's hear some more about Walle: He's a Beagle, Boxer, and Basset Hound, with a large head and duck feet. On paper, pretty ugly. Owner Tammie Barbee got the four-year-old dog when he was three months old, and, according to the press release, was "a late entry in the contest, arriving minutes before the closing time."

Suspicious? You bet! Are we going to make a big deal out of it? No way!

“People come up to me and say that dog is not right,” Barbee said, “but I love him.”

According to the release, Walle "won the crowd with his hind-leg stance, which demonstrated his girth and large head as he took a biscuit from his owner."

We're on board with that. We're suckers for a hind-leg stance that demonstrates girth.

worlds ugliest dog 2013

For his ugliness, Walle took home $1,500, and has already appeared on Weekend Today and Today. He'll be on the Jimmy Kimmel Show on Wednesday. You should watch. Ten bucks Kimmel says that the dog is not very ugly.

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