Jeff Munson / Tahoe Daily Tribune

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May 24, 2009
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'World's Ugliest Dog' is a real charmer

LAKE TAHOE " Women adore him. So do celebrities. He has a following and fan base, and those who meet him will often say that where he lacks in looks, he makes up in style and charm.

Voted as "The World's Ugliest Dog" multiple times over doesn't bother Rascal. He loves the attention. And his owner, Dane Andrew of Stateline, wouldn't have it any other way.

"To me, he's a beautiful dog, and those who know him kind of think so too after meeting him," said Andrew, showing off his dog this weekend.

Rascal is a healthy seven-pound purebred Chinese Crested who is a rescue descendent of the world-renowned Chi Chi "The World's Ugliest Dog" voted eight times over for the infamous prize and featured in the Guiness Book of World Records.

Never shaven, Rascal is naturally and completely hairless except for his mohawk and a little hair on his tail and feet. His warts and freckles make him look a bit like a rat or a ferret, and because he doesn't have many teeth, he can't keep his tongue in his mouth, which makes his face look crooked.

Otherwise, he's all dog, and warms up to just about anyone who looks at him or rubs his hairless back.

"People are calling him a 'space alien', 'Einstein', 'Phyllis Diller', 'Bat Dog' or 'Hairless Potter' but to us he is our loving little family member," Andrew said.

As an professional actor and photographer, Andrew switches up his time between Lake Tahoe and Sunnyvale, preferring Tahoe summers for his rare, 7-year-old Rascal.

"It gets pretty cold for him when he's here in the winter," Andrew said.

Rascal is ugly dog royalty, being from a dynasty of ugly K9s with his mom, grandmother, and grandfather all who have each held the title of "The World's Ugliest Dog," Andrew said.

Rascal's grandfather Chi Chi is in the Guinness Book of World Records for winning eight international ugly dog contests. That sense of honor has helped Rascal keep a family tradition going. Rascal has two mayoral proclamations, including from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. The dog was named official Fire Dog of Station in Newark. He has received an honorary doctorate in Animal Magnetism from San Francisco State and the dog was present at Andrew's Palm Springs Walk of Fame dedication in May 2007.

Rascal is so ugly that Jay Leno had him on the NBC Tonight Show before winning his first title in 2002. The dog even took Donald Trump by surprise, where he stopped to pet Rascal in the Green Room of the NBC studios.

"He looked at the dog and let out this big smile," Andrew said. "You usually don't see Trump smile but Rascal does that with people. Even people like Donald Trump."

Rascal has also been on "The View", "The Jane Pauley Show", "The Carson Daly Show", three "Animal Planet" shows and has made Kathy Griffin's D-List.

Andrew recalls a recent film festival he attended where there was a table of three men and three women. When Andrew and Rascal walked into the room the three women got up from the table to see and hold the dog.

"The men seemed put out that there dates had left them for Rascal," Andrew said. "He has this affect on woman. They love him."

He has also been cast in five horror movies, including "Tele-Zombie" with Scream Queen Brinke Stevens; "The Last Nightmare,"; "Curse of the Smoke O' Lantern" and "Scanky Doo", a cameo in "Carma" with Oscar-nominee Karen Black. Rascal is also an official actor listed at www.IMDB.com

Rascal has a cartoon strip and documentary film on the way, both called "The Ugliest Dog." Andrew said he doesn't profit from the dog because there's no real money to be made; as an actor and one who knows directors, the notoriety of the dog has made it easier for him to get Rascal exposed.

About the only thing Andrew is banking on with Rascal money-wise is a leash that he made and had patent. He wishes to mass produce the hotdog leash, sell them, with a portion of the proceeds going to animal rescue programs.

Coming soon will be a Web site, www.OfficialWorldsUgliestDog.com.

What's next for Rascal is anyone's guess. Meanwhile he will continue to live like royalty. He has a wardrobe of sweaters and jackets that suit any climate condition, and, Andrew promises to give him his royalty food, including two sardines a day.

"He loves sardines and he loves Iams dog food," Andrew said. "This dog will always get the best because he deserves the best."


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated May 24, 2009 07:19PM Published May 24, 2009 07:19PM Copyright 2009 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.