Below are the finalists in our contest to pick Washington's cutest and ugliest dog. More than 3,000 online votes were cast. We’ll announce the winners—and run more photos—in the April issue of the magazine. Each winner will receive a $50 gift certificate from the Big Bad Woof, a store in Takoma DC with ecofriendly pet supplies and a large selection of holistic and raw organic food.
>> Here’s the ultimate guide to caring for your pet, whether you’ve got cats or chameleons, puppies or parrots: 250 top veterinarians, alternative-medicine experts, kennels, daycare spots, dog walkers, groomers, and more in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia.
14-month-old miniature dachshund, eight pounds
Katie was about as big as a hamster when Jennifer Ortiz and husband Eddie got her last February. She’s grown into her long, floppy ears, and they remain—along with a sweet face—her most charming feature. When something catches her attention,” Jenny says, “they stick straight out at the sides, like Dumbo.” Katie spends most days on a couch with a picture-window view of their busy Silver Spring street.
13-month-old miniature goldendoodle, 25 pounds
Barkley lives on Capitol Hill with owner Stephanie Weir and a three-year-old flame-point Himalayan cat that’s his wrestling partner. “The cat attacks him, and he attacks the cat,” Weir says. Barkley’s father was a sire with a West Virginia breeder, Fox Creek Farm, that claims to be one of the first to create the golden-retriever/poodle hybrid; Barkley had the same distinctive red fur as his dad. “I don’t think it’ll fade,” Weir says. “I love it.”
Three-year-old yellow Labrador, 75 pounds
Jeff Shi bought Magic, who has champion show dogs in his bloodline, as a present for his daughter, Rena, on her 12th birthday. Sweet-natured and playful, the dog spends hours outside on the Shis’ three acres in Clarksville, Maryland, chasing anything that moves—rabbits, squirrels, and even birds. In summer, he swims with Rena, 14, in the backyard pool. Says Shi: “He’s faster than she is—and she’s pretty fast.”
Done voting? You might be interested in our calendar of events, our restaurant finder, or our new 100 Best Restaurants package. Bella
Eight-month-old Persian, six pounds
Owner Jill Martire of Broadlands in Loudoun County says Bella is mellow and sweet—a good thing because Martire’s two daughters, nine and six, dress her up. “They like to pretend she’s a baby doll,” Martire says.
Bella’s long hair—a Persian trademark—is full and soft. She can’t make the leap to the counter, so she sits, front legs in the air like a gopher’s, and meows for help.
Five-year-old housecat, ten pounds
Ramona is queen of Kelly Ventura’s home in Rockville, dominating the two other cats and a dog and delivering a bop on the nose to any who cross her. “She basically rules the house,” says Ventura.
Still she’s the most affectionate of the animals, and her pretty green eyes can melt hearts. At night, she sleeps between Kelly and husband Andrew, occasionally shoving him to the edge of the bed.
Two-year-old part Bengal, 15 pounds
Edmund is such a friendly cat that he throws himself at people—literally. Launching himself from the floor, he targets the warm spot under your chin, burrows in, and expects you to hold him. “It was charming when he was a tiny kitten,” says owner Rosemary George of Falls Church, “but it’s more of a challenge now.” George adopted Edmund as a kitten from a rescue litter of part-Bengal cats, which are known for their rich spotted coats. George’s friends say he looks like Jack Nicholson.