Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl XVI is reality television with good intentions. The network puts big money into raising awareness that lovable and worthy dogs are out there in the shelter system, awaiting a forever home.
Finding a friend to become part of your family also doesn’t require big bucks for specialty breeds (often given up because of poor breeding standards).
It reinforces pet ownership values too, urging all pet owners to spay and neuter pets to prevent unwanted litters and to value animals at any age, not just the adorable pups they find to have a friendly match.
Puppy Bowl is one of our favorite annual TV events ahead of the actual Super Bowl, and Monsters and Critics will be in Pasadena this January to interview host Dan Schachner, who is back emceeing the furry four-legged event.
When is Puppy Bowl on?
The event featuring Team Ruff and Team Fluff returns Sunday, February 2, at 3 PM ET/12 PM PT for a special Sweet Sixteen match between the teams, featuring a historic 96 Puppies from 61 Shelters, and making this year the biggest Puppy Bowl ever.
Is there a warm-up Puppy Bowl show?
Yes! Viewers will also be able to learn about the incredible people who put animals before themselves in a new mid-form series Road to Puppy Bowl, launching on Jan. 2.
Team Goldies and Team Oldies are coming back too! The older canines have their dog day on Sat., February 1, at 8 PM ET/PT.
Animal Planet’s canine competition, Puppy Bowl Presents: The Dog Bowl returns for a one-hour football competition for adult and senior dogs living in rescues and shelters, hosted by animal advocate Jill Rappaport.
This year’s game features more dogs than ever before, bringing both experience and charm to the gridiron. To date, 100% of the dogs that have participated in The Dog Bowl have been adopted.
Animal Planet released a press statement underlying the need for this event:
While these loving dogs may have a few years under their collars and they’re frequently overlooked for puppies, Dog Bowl audiences will see the amazing spirit and love these players can bring to any loving family. Similar to Puppy Bowl, The Dog Bowl works in tandem with shelter and rescue partners (32) to create two amazing team rosters – Team Goldies and Team Oldies – as they matchup for their own furry football competition to score touchdowns under the ALLSTATE nets to win the CHEWY Lombarky trophy.
This year includes incredible ‘Pup Close’ stories featuring Jonathan and Drew Scott, Whitney Cummings and Emmylou Harris who all get in on the Puppy Bowl XVI and Dog Bowl III action.
Who are the Animal Planet puppy and dog heroes making this happen?
It takes a village to make this happen, and we would be remiss if we didn’t salute our network pup pals at Animal Planet. The event is produced by Discovery Studios, where Simon Morris is the executive producer and showrunner, and Cindy Kain is vice president of current production.
Over at Animal Planet, Dawn Sinsel serves as senior executive producer, and Pat Dempsey is supervising producer.
And as we mentioned above, Dan Schachner returns for his ninth year as the Puppy Bowl referee.
The tail-gating starts with the Puppy Bowl Pre-Game Show at 2 PM/ET and 11 AM/PT, featuring commentary from sports correspondents, including Rodt Weiler, James Hound, and Sheena Inu serving as pre-game show analysts.
The star wattage is supplied by HGTV stars Jonathan and Drew Scott, comedian-showrunner Whitney Cummings, and iconic musical legend, Emmylou Harris.
The sponsors of this event are heroes too, and we can thank Chewy, who provides the “Lombarky” trophy at GEICO stadium. Milk-Bone, Meow, Bissell, Subaru, Temptations, Arm & Hammer, Home Depot, and Pedigree are also sponsors.
The first half of Sunday’s Puppy Bowl is sponsored by Scoob! from Warner Bros. Pictures.
What will happen at the Puppy Bowl?
Returning to the field for his ninth year is ref Dan Schachner, along with animal advocate Jill Rappaport, who introduces the Subaru of America sponsored “Pup Close and Personal” segments that allow viewers to get all the details of these furry athletes.
In honor of 16 years of heartwarming adoption stories and pawtastic touchdowns, XVI unleashes more puppy players with all-new new team colors – from yellow and green to ‘Bark Blue’ and ‘Tail Mary Tangerine.’
Guaranteed moments include “sloppy kisses, puppy piles and penalties, epic puppy playtime, and more,” according to Animal Planet.
Saturday kicks it off with The Dog Bowl, the one-hour competition for adult and senior dogs living in rescues and shelters.
Animal Planet worked with 61 dedicated animal shelters and rescue organizations representing over 25 states, with Team Ruff and Team Fluff having a roster with over 96 adoptable puppies, making this the biggest Puppy Bowl in history.
More international puppies will take part than ever before with players representing Cartagena, Colombia, St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Toronto.
With the help of genetic tests from Wisdom Panel (think 23&me for dogs!), all the puppy athletes go beyond fur-deep to find out what they’re made of and discover what skills are part of their DNA makeup as a result of their ancestry, and what advantages they can use on the field.
There will be slow-motion replays, nose-to-nose action from the water bowl cam, and the Pedigree puppy kiss cam. Viewers can check out the Locker Room Cam, where the new colors will be seen plus the brand-new Home Depot training room space for the pup players to prep ahead of the event.
The Chewy end zone pylons will capture the touchdowns, and aerial shots of the field through the Temptations Sky Box, and the official Puppy Bowl Blimp as Surge the hamster takes the wheel to power the scoreboard.
The stars come out to play with the Pups too
According to Animal Planet’s press release:
This year’s Pup Close and Personal profiles will feature Whitney Cummings who has teamed up with Love Leo Rescue in Los Angles and picked Jack, a Chihuahua mix for game day; Lucca, a Chihuahua / Miniature Pinscher mix from Texas Chihuahua Rescue picked by Jonathan and Drew Scott of HGTV’s series ‘Property Brothers: Forever Home’ who are not only helping clients make the best of their home but making their dreams come true by adding a forever friend to their family; and Sol, a Chihuahua / Border Collie mix who made the brave journey back to the U.S to play in the big game with our very own Dog Bowl host, Jill Rappaport, who teamed up with Colombian-based rescue Cartagena Paws, an organization that relies heavily on volunteer flight companions to send them to homes in the US.
Some Pup-tastic backstories
This event will feature five special needs players that are looking forward to finding forever homes.
They include Ferris, a three-legged Labrador Retriever mix, two hearing-impaired pups — Kismet, a Great Dane, and Paprika, a Chihuahua mix, Filbert, a blind and hearing-impaired Shetland Sheepdog mix; and Rooster, an American Staffordshire Terrier /Bulldog mix with a cleft palate.
In-depth profiles reveal the hard work of the Double J Dog Ranch, a sanctuary for dogs with special needs.
Also, watch for a segment where we head to the beaches of St. Croix with Cruzan Cowgirls, a rescue focused on rehabilitating rescue horses. We’ll also meet Puppy Bowl player Rummy, a Chihuahua mix.
Aspen, an Australian Cattle Dog/American Staffordshire Terrier mix from Rocky Mountain Puppy Rescue in Colorado, will play for the first time with the Instagram famous hiking rescue dog, Finn and his human, Henry Friedman.
Plus, there is Maverick, a Dachshund/Pekingese mix from Virginia Beach SPCA who got a forever family and doggie home when the Norfolk Botanical Garden put on their ‘Barkitecture’ event.
There are cheerleaders too! Enjoy a trio energetic baby pygmy goats and a trio of roly-poly armadillos, which root and shake their pom-poms on the sidelines!
Are there Cats at the Puppy Bowl?
Halfway through the game, the Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Kitty Half-Time Show brings the pussycats to the mix.
The fun begins with an unforgettable performance by legendary divas Jenni-PURR Lopez & CAT-ira, who will arrive at the GEICO stadium in “a decked-out limousine to give Animal Planet audiences a rendition of ‘Catnips Don’t Lie!’”
At the end of the performance, there will be an adoption update on where these foxy felines found their forever homes.
The digital extras
Puppy Bowl fans can see the early premiere of the Puppy Bowl XVI Pregame Show on January 26 on Animal Planet GO.
Broadcast of the event will also be available on GO in conjunction with the 3:00 PM ET/12:00 PM PT start time and unlocked at 5:00 PM ET/3:00 PM PT.
There will be a GEICO Puppy Bowl Draft, to get an early look and the top picks for Teams Ruff and Fluff.
The digital audiences can point their paws to AnimalPlanet.com/PuppyBowl to view the roster of adorable puppies in the Pedigree sponsored Starting Lineup.
There will be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube original social content including the Puppy Bowl pygmy goat cheerleaders getting “pumped up” before the big game, Kitten Halftime kittens behind the scenes with a Meow wrestling match and a Billiards competition, and a special interview with Instagram sensation @TheDogist.
Animal Planet audiences can also check out a live puppy playtime warm-up on Animal Planet’s YouTube channel.
Plus, you can get puppy and dog training tips from the official Puppy Bowl behind-the-scenes trainer.
Additionally, when Animal Planet viewers post a pic of their animal watching the Puppy Bowl on Sunday, they may be featured on Animal Planet’s Instagram story during the game.
Also back is the Pedigree Puppy Bowl Trading Cards, where you can upload a photo of your pet, pick from specialized team frames, and add creative stats, including “Favorite TV Show,” “Naughtiest Habit,” and more.
Is there a contest?
There are sweeps to win a $1,000 prize that Animal Planet will donate to an animal shelter of their choice, along with an Animal Planet swag bag.
Digital audiences are invited to vote on Twitter, in real-time, for the winner of the Most Valuable Puppy award at twitter.com/animalplanet, and results will be revealed during the broadcast.
This year’s starting lineup for Dog Bowl includes dogs who are also competing for the individual Milk-Bone MVP (Most Valuable Pooch) Award, which fans will be able to choose in a LIVE vote on Twitter during the game.
There will be a brand new Super Senior Award.
Past Dog Bowl star players will be invited back for the very first ‘Dog Bowl Hall of Fame’ where viewers will get to see an update on where these dogs ended up and the families who took them in.
Subaru’s sponsored “Dogs Life” features all shed light on the amazing organizations and dogs as they prep for their road to Dog Bowl.
Puppy Bowl Presents: The Dog Bowl III Pairs Sat. Feb. 1 at 8 PM ET/PT and Puppy Bowl airs Sunday, February 2nd at 3 PM ET/12 PM PT on Animal Planet.
For more information about the shelters, rescues, and organizations that participated, Animal Planet audiences can visit here.