Are You Ready For Some Floofball?

It’s the best, the biggest, the cutest game of the year, it’s Puppy Bowl XVI!

What began as Super Bowl counter-programming in 2005 has turned into a ratings bonanza for Animal Planet. It started as a joke when someone suggested they “point a camera at puppies on a football field”. And now draws 10 million viewers over a 12 hour broadcasting period.

While Puppy Bowl I was simply puppies playing in front of a camera, it’s now a full fledged extravaganza that includes announcers, a variety of adorable cheerleaders, referees- both human and animal, sponsors, and a kitten half time show. Since working with animals can be unpredictable it’s prerecorded over two days. There is onsite veterinary care, representatives from the ASPCA, the Humane Society and the shelters providing the canine contestants. The athletes are rotated in and out every thirty minutes to rest and avoid overheating from the lights.

Archrivals Team Ruff and Team Fluff will go head to head at Geico Stadium this Sunday at 3pm on Animal Planet. Touchdowns are scored when a toy is dragged into the end zone. Time outs are called by the referee for unnecessary rrruff-ness, paws interference, or to refill water bowls. Penalties can be issued for, uhm, excessive fertilization or premature watering of the field. As well as napping and terrorizing the ref. The MVP is chosen at the end of the game. I’m rooting for Rhubarb because I can’t resist a wire haired dog.

Team Ruff
Miniature Schnauzer/Shi Tzu

This years show will feature 96 puppies from 25 states and Colombia, the US Virgin Islands and Toronto. They’ll be cheered on by kid goats, the scoreboard powered by Surge the Hamster, and the half time show stars Jenni-Purr Lopez. The Pre Game Show is available now .

At it’s heart though, The Puppy Bowl is really a PSA for animal rescue. Each of the puppies and kittens on the program are adoptable. All of them will have found their forever families before the show airs. There is also a one hour Dog Bowl addressing the need for senior adoptions, Pup Close and Personal segments profiling shelters and educating people about animal rescue. Please, never adopt a pet on a whim, it’s a serious commitment. Consider what type of animal is right for you based on the time and type of care you’re willing and able to provide. Choose a pet that fits your lifestyle, and your home. Expect an adjustment period. Opening your heart to an animal friend is fulfilling but comes with challenges.



  1. …this is entirely awesome & somehow also a thing that I didn’t know anything about for years…thanks for this

    …& between you & me I think you might be right about the wire-haired dog thing…although I have a friend with a border terrier that seems to go a long time between haircuts & actually the shaggy look has something to be said for it…at least until there’s mud involved?

      • …I think shaggy dogs are great but I shudder to think what it must be like to actually own an old english sheepdog or an afghan hound anywhere where water & dirt collide on a regular basis

        …despite which, if I lived in a castle where the dog-beds could be sofa-sized & I could afford to buy pet food by the truckload I always thought I’d be prepared to get up at an ungodly hour to walk a dog if it were an irish wolfhound?

        • I’d love to have an Irish Wolfhound! A pony size grizzled dog. 💗
          Afghan hounds are beautiful but I’m not willing to put in the amount of grooming needed. But I’d happily have a Saluki.

  2. I know someone who volunteered to help tend to dogs at Dog Bowl.

    As you might expect they shoot a lot more footage than they actually use. They spend quite a while just seeing which dogs do interesting things and which ones just sort of sit there, and then try to sort them out. Then they try to get them to do vaguely football related things, like wrestle for a toy and then make a break for the end zone.

    They also run a humane shop, as you would hope, so there are no stage moms off camera with dollar signs in their eyes hoping for a shot in the next Purina commercial who are emotionally torturing the ones who don’t get camera time.

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