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Contest winner is a real beauty

A Bulldog named Tiberius – after the middle name of the owners’ hero, Star Trek’s Captain James T Kirk (the T stands for Tiberius), has been named Most Beautiful Bulldog in a contest in the American Midwest.

The dog beat 50 other eye-catching examples of the breed to capture the annual event at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa.

"What they look for is the ugliest bulldog you can find... droopy eyes, protruding teeth, slobbering,'' said Dolph Pulliam, Drake's community outreach and development officer, in a rather politically incorrect way.

Tiberius, owned by Karen and Phil Swift and their three children, will now reign as the canine king at this years Drake Relays, Iowa's premier sporting event.

"He rides in a golf cart around the track as the announcer announces him as the 2005 most beautiful. It is a coveted thing,'' Mr Pulliam added.

"He's very gentle. He loves to be played with and petted,'' Mrs Swift said. "He's a typical bulldog.''

It was third time lucky for Tiberius, who had entered the competition twice before. What made the difference this time? "Just maturity making him more handsome, I guess,'' Mrs Swift said.