Wahl's annual Dirty Dogs Contest will award a $10,000 grand prize to the winning dog's shelter.
before and after grooming images of Gracie
Credit: Courtesy of Wahl

Our favorite contest celebrating shelter dogs' epic transformations from dangerously unclean to wonderfully pristine has returned for another year.

That would be the 11th annual Dirty Dogs Contest, put on by Wahl Pets, Greater Good Charities, and The Animal Rescue Site. The 10 finalists were revealed Tuesday, and online votes will determine which of the formerly filthy pups will win. The dog's shelter or rescue organization will collect the $10,000 grand prize. (The second-place organization will receive $3,000, and the third-place winner will take home $2,000.) 

People can vote online once per day through Oct. 28. The winner will be announced around Nov. 7. Last year, the grand prize went to a cutie named Woodrow. 

The makeovers are more important than just a stunning glow-up. These former strays need grooming to have any chance of being adopted. Plus, the matted, dirty fur and overgrown nails can cause a variety of health problems.

These 10 finalists were brought in as strays or rescued from neglectful or hoarding environments. But with their new haircuts, it's nearly impossible to tell they were even so grimy. 

(All information courtesy of Wahl and the rescues and shelters who submitted their pups' stories.) 


before and after grooming images of Ziggy
Credit: Courtesy of Wahl

Pinky Paws Search and ResQ in California found Ziggy lying on the side of a road, next to another dog who'd died after being hit by a car. After 12 hours, the rescue team was able to trap her. Ziggy's fur was matted and contained burrs and a chewed rope, requiring sedation so she could be groomed.

She was having a tough time adjusting to her new life, but another dog named Batman helped her become a trusting, lovey pet dog. 


before and after grooming images of Zen
Credit: Courtesy of Wahl

Poor Zen was rescued from a hoarding case along with 37 other dogs before arriving at the Humane Society of Dickinson County in Tennessee. She was emaciated with demodectic mange, requiring medicated baths. 

She's hardly recognizable now. The puppy is relaxed and loves other pets as she learns how to walk on a leash.


before and after grooming images of Ottie
Credit: Courtesy of Wahl

Our little friend—at that point, a bunch of matted fur—was walking along a frontage road in Texas when someone picked him up and took him to Luv Us Mutts. He ended up losing about half his weight as the fur was removed—not to mention the chain that was intertwined in there.         

He's now the "sweetest little guy."


before and after grooming images of Luna
Credit: Courtesy of Wahl

Luna was neglected for years in a puppy mill, barely recognizable as a shih tzu, and covered in mats, sores, and dirt. But when National Mill Dog Rescue got to work, she transformed into a "little beauty queen."   

A family adopted her, and now she loves running around in her yard. 


before and after grooming images of Lucy
Credit: Courtesy of Wahl

Underweight and covered in mats, Lucy arrived at a Philadelphia city shelter before the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society took her in. 

Grooming and a foster home helped her overcome an illness, and she now loves to spread joy. 


before and after grooming images of Louie
Credit: Courtesy of Wahl

Former stray Louis was found as a very skinny pup covered in fleas and mats. Hearts of Hope removed him from a Detroit shelter and quickly found him a groomer. 

His new look and sweet personality helped him speedily find his new family. 


before and after grooming images of JD
Credit: Courtesy of Wahl

Matted fur after several years of neglect left JD unable to properly see when animal control staff brought him to a Mesa shelter. The Arizona Humane Society took over and had a garbage bag's worth of hair shaved off the poor pup.

He recently underwent treatment for prostatitis—prostate infection—and dental problems, but he should hopefully be ready for a new home soon. 


before and after grooming images of Gracie
Credit: Courtesy of Wahl

In February, Gracie arrived at a shelter in California as an approximately 2-year-old dog who'd likely never been groomed. Once she arrived at the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society, a groomer took three visits to get rid of all her extra fur because she was so nervous. 

She's still working on her fear of grooming, but luckily her new family is helping the newly playful girl out with that. 


before and after grooming images of Flynn
Credit: Courtesy of Wahl

Few dogs are ever in as poor shape as Flynn was. He was abandoned, found soaking wet inside a box outside a shelter. He weighed only 2 pounds and was covered in so much matted fur the staff couldn't tell his head from his tail. Oh, and his leg was broken while his eyes had ulcers in them. 

He understandably needed months of care along with the massive grooming job. A plate was surgically placed into his leg, and his eyes still needed extra care. A volunteer from his rescue, S.A.V.E. Rescue Coalition in the Houston area, adopted him, and Flynn now enjoys life with his new sister dog and two cats. 


before and after grooming images of Bentley
Credit: Courtesy of Wahl

A sheriff's deputy noticed a very hairy Bentley near a bridge several times and decided to take him to the Brookhaven Animal Rescue League in Mississippi. A volunteer groomer got to work and transformed Bentley into a handsome, bearded fella. 

It's no wonder he quickly found a new home, where quality time is couch time.

You can vote in the 2022 Dirty Dogs Contest here.