The Bulldog Beauty Contest returns, with all breeds and mixes thereof invited

As spring springs forth, so do outdoor activities and a couple of indoor ones. This weekend and next, organizers invite you, the pet-loving public, to three events featuring adoption, wellness, and the cleverness and whimsy of Justin Rudd and his Haute Dogs team.

The Bulldog Beauty Contest is making a welcome comeback! Actually, “bulldog” is now more of a remembrance of the pets who inspired the contest. The event has evolved to including every breed and mix, age and number of legs that could compose human’s best friend. Rudd and his partner, Ralph Millero, have been parents to three English bulldogs in the past 20 years—their first, Rosie, is the name behind Rosie’s Dog Beach near the Granada Avenue boat launch in Belmont Shore. Rosie was also behind the first of the Bulldog Beauty Contest, which featured American and English bulldogs and took place at the small, neighborhood Livingston Park. The event was a real sight—bulldogs everywhere, snorfing and slobbering as far as the eye could see.

As the contest’s popularity grew and diversity and number of dogs became the rule, the contest moved to the more spacious Marine Stadium Park. Small bully breeds such as English bulls and bull terriers were invited to participate, and later, the beloved mutt finally had its day. Categories such as Best Senior Dog and Best Legs were introduced. The 16th event, which was the last one before this year’s, took place in February 2020—more than 300 dogs showed up.

IN PICTURES: Bulldog beauty is in the eye of the beholder

No thanks to COVID-19, last year’s contests didn’t happen, but at last, the dogs are back in town. Sunday, March 20, the 17th (kinda) annual Haute Dogs Bulldog Beauty Contest will again feature tons of wagging tails at an appropriate venue—the boat launch by Rosie’s Dog Beach.

“Although the venue is new, we will be bringing the red carpet runway to showcase the dogs,” Rudd said. “We’ve shortened the number of contests from 20 to 12, so this makes the day shorter for the dogs and people.”

Registration is $10 per dog by Saturday night or $20 in cash per dog on Sunday at the event. Contests will include small and larger bullies, Best Senior and Best Young Dog, Best in Show, Best Adopted/Rescued Dog, and a new category, Best Siblings. Titleholders from the Long Beach and Southern California Cities will judge the pageants, and Belmont Pets and LaunderPet, Raising Cane’s, Bark! Bark! Daycare, Pawlistic Treats, and Joyful Paws Pet Hotel and Daycare will provide prizes. All pets and well-behaved humans are welcome to spectate—front-row seats are $5 cash.

Event sponsors include the Port of Long Beach and District 3 Councilwoman Suzie Price. Vendors will be on-site from 8:30 a.m. to noon along with adoption groups that include Southern California Bulldog Rescue and Southern California Golden Retriever Rescue. Dr. Greg Perrault of Cats & Dogs Animal Hospital will be on hand for any doggie medical needs.

Check out the details of all the events under Great Furballs of Fun.

 Virtually pets

 What, no dog for the contest? Our shelter at Long Beach Animal Care Services has quite a few. Meet up with the Adoption Waggin’ on Saturday, or make an appointment to meet a few of the tail waggers on this link. Email [email protected] or [email protected], or call 562-570-3080.

black and tan Doberman with floppy ears stands, mouth open, on cement near an El Dorado Nature Center signl

Millie (ID##A667920) gets front and center today. If an adopter or foster won’t come forward, she is scheduled for euthanasia on March 23. She’s suffering from severe kennel stress and weight loss, and she needs a foster or adopter who’ll know to move slowly with her. She’s a dear Doberman pinscher who entered the shelter in December as a stray. She was fearful when she came in, but thanks to the volunteers and staff, she has emerged from her shell. You need to go slow with Millie and show her you want her to work out, and she will return the solid communication with earned respect for you. To help get a better understanding of Millie and gauge her behavior in a different environment, staff and volunteers enjoyed an adventure with her at the nearby wilderness park. The look of increasing happiness on her face as we got farther away from the place she’s been cooped up in for over three months was moving. She still has a way to go, and the only way to do this is out of the kennel and into a home, either as a foster or a permanent resident. She’s only 2 years old, and she deserves the rest of her life.

little white dog with tan ears and eye patch and rump sits in grass and smiles.

Look for Lobo (ID#A659678) at the adoption event this Saturday at the adoption event at Akua Strong! Lobo’s about 5 years old, and he loves every toy there is! He’s been at our shelter since July 1 and is really struggling with the long-term noise and confinement. Furthermore, he’s a cattle-dog mix and needs something to do. He’s high energy and will need frequent, long exercise. Experience with herding breeds is a plus! He loves to be pet and has shown friendliness toward other dogs. He also has a rock-solid “sit.” He’s very smart and would thrive with additional training and activities. Because of his energy level and toy drive, Lobo would probably do best in a home without children. If you’re looking for a super-cute, mid-size exercise buddy, Lobo is ready to be your best friend!

smiling tan pit bull stands on the grass. He wears a black collar.

Whether you call her “Zela,” “Shella,” or “Alex backward,” Xela (ID#A669125) will be happier than a dog with your best pair of shoes if you simply call her to play, for dinner, for cuddles. Xela is a 2-year-old American pit bull terrier who, once she’s out of her kennel, does not want to return to it. She sees how much fun she can have with people and wishes someone would take her home and foster her, or make it permanent!

woman with gray hair and wearing a light shirt and green apron cuddles a big pit bull as they sit on a bench.

Are you in the mood for love—forever, unconditional love? Go online to Long Beach Animal Care Services and look for Poncho (ID#A671445). Poncho’s an 8-month-old puppyish pittie, and you’ll fall in love immediately. So will he! Volunteer Jo said that Poncho’s only flaw, if you can call it that, is jumping up on every park bench he passes for some cuddles. Make an appointment to fall in love.

Great Furballs of Fun

Akua Strong in-person adoption event: 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., Saturday, March 19, Akua Strong, 5355 Carson St., Long Beach, adoption fees apply.

Take part in this event with your own pet—vendors include veterinarians, groomers, microchip inserts and pet supplies. No pet? Long Beach Animal Care Services is coming around with its Adoption Waggin’!

17th annual Haute Dogs Bulldog Beauty Contest: starts 9:00 a.m., Sunday, March 20, boat launch near Rosie’s Dog Beach, 5000 E Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, $10 advance donation.

A beach full of bulldogs and other breeds and combinations thereof will compete in 12 competitions, including best senior, best youngster, best sibling set and, of course, most beautiful English bulldog! If you believe that your pooch’s face can be loved by more than a mother, read the rules here and then fill out an application!

Cat Wellness Clinic: 10 a.m.–2 p.m., Saturday, March 26, 1179 E. Wardlow Road, Long Beach, free event.

The Little Lion Foundation will sponsor a clinic for Long Beach resident cats only, offering free microchips, FVRCP vaccines and flea meds. A pet pantry and other resources will be available. Make an appointment here.

Foster for awhile—or furever!

If you’ve always wanted a pet but aren’t sure if you’re ready for a lifetime (the animal’s) commitment, or if you’re past the pet-roommate days for any reason, fostering might be a great way to go, especially with one or more of the kittens popping up during kitten season. Every one of the organizations listed below is in desperate need of fosters who’ll social them and help save their little lives. Who knows—maybe one of those lives will change your mind about the not-ready-for-roommate thing!

These nonprofits also regularly feature cat, dog and rabbit adoptions. As of now, adoptions are mainly by appointment. Click on the links for each rescue in case of updates or changes. These organizations operate through donations and grants, and anything you can give would be welcome. Please suggest any Long Beach-area rescues to add to the list.

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Kate Karp is the Pets Columnist for the Long Beach Post covering the world of animal activism, pet adoptions and lots of cute cats. She’s called Long Beach home since 1994 and has written for the Post for about 10 years. Kate’s day job is as a copyeditor, which she discovered a love for during her 30-year tenure as a teacher. She describes the job as “like taking the rough edges off a beautiful sculpture.”