The Puppy Bowl: 3 Special Needs Dogs Featured

It’s February, and for sports enthusiasts, this means the Super Bowl. For dog enthusiasts, something even more exciting comes at this time of year: the Puppy Bowl. Let’s take a look at how all of the cuteness came to be.

How Did The Puppy Bowl Start?

Put on annually by Animal Planet, the idea for the event originally came up as a joke, says Vox. The channel was brainstorming ways to gather viewers on Super Bowl Sunday and someone suggested using a box of puppies. From there the idea was born.

The first time the event was aired, nearly 5.6 million viewers tuned in to catch the action, according to Rolling Stone, and the A.V. Club reported 12.3 million viewers in 2013. With the initial Puppy Bowl being such a hit, Animal Planet knew that they would have to create a tradition out of it. It has become referred to as, “the cutest competition of year.”

Puppy Bowl

Picture: Flickr/ Moviesinla

This February marked the 13th year of the event. Unlike the Super Bowl, the Puppy Bowl is not filmed live. This is due to Animal Planet's want to showcase as much action as possible, and when dealing with puppies it is impossible to tell what they are going to do and when.

What Happens During The Event?

Essentially it is just a lot of puppies running around with chew toys and playing together. If a pup gets a chew toy over an end line as a result it is a touchdown. The two teams that face off are Team Ruff and Team Fluff.

The 2017 Puppy Bowl included cheerleaders of the small and furry variety, with guinea pigs and rabbits. This year each team was given a mascot. Team Fluff had a rescue Chinchilla as their mascot, and Team Ruff had a stoic owl, also a rescue.

A parrot named Meep held the responsibility of sideline correspondent for the event, tweeting highlights. The halftime show included a performance from a group of kittens called “The Rock Cats.”

There are requirements that the puppies have to meet to participate. They must be at least 12 weeks old and no older than 21 weeks. The pups must have all of their vaccines and be within certain height and weight limits.

Over the years, a number of other animals have been incorporated as well, as cheerleaders, halftime entertainers, and various other performers. Some of these animals have been chickens, hedgehogs, and even penguins. The only human to participate in the actual game is the referee.

Where Do The Pups Come From?

All of the puppies are rescues, looking for loving homes. The event, while a sporting extravaganza, is also an opportunity for the animals to get adopted. Viewers can go online to get an even better idea of the dogs up for adoption.

This year’s lineup included dogs like 15 week-old Archimedes, an Otterhound and Lab mix. The shelter that the pup resides in is included too, so that potential adopters can get an idea of their proximity to the dog.

Other participants this year were Bizmark, an 18 week-old Coonhound, Daisy Moses, a 12 week-old Chihuahua mix, and Foster, a 19 week-old Bernese Mountain dog.

Dogs with special needs are also incorporated into the event. One such dog this year was Lucky, a 16 week-old terrier mix who has an amputated leg.

What Were The Results Of 2017?

The fully narrated game includes big time sponsors like Petco, Pedigree, and Geico. The game even includes other famous animals. This year’s coin toss was done by the famous weather groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil.

Team Ruff had won the games the last two years, so Team Fluff went in looking for redemption. The teams were marked by colors, with Fluff in yellow bandanas and Ruff in green.

A fun and interesting addition to the game this year was the DNA tests that were done on the puppies prior to filming. Furthermore, stats on the dogs were incorporated into the show, giving viewers a better idea of what breeds make up the participating pups. Predicted size is also included, which is helpful for those looking to adopt the dogs.

Team Fluff took home the victory, with the final score of the game at 93-38, setting a new scoring record. The MVP award (Most Valuable Pup) was given to Rory, a poodle mix. Rory was awarded the honor after scoring three touchdowns within the first quarter.

If you missed the game and still want to check out the action, head to Animal Planet Go to watch the match. In addition, the website also has a lot of other fun puppy activities, like a “Pup Close and Personal” feature where you can learn even more about the dogs. And if you are feeling especially ambitious, you can watch highlights from past games.

Raising Awareness

Not only is the sporting event cute, it is informative as well. Animal Planet therefore calls it, “the loudest call to action to adopt.”

While the Puppy Bowl is a great time for viewers to watch a bunch of puppies run around and play, it is also an opportunity for people to see how many rescue dogs are in need of homes. All of the puppies showcasing their athletic talents are rescue dogs up for adoption. Most of all, this raises awareness to how many other dogs out there are in the same situation.

Puppy Bowl

Animal Planet

The hope is that this will inspire people to adopt dogs from animal shelters. If people get an idea of how many loving animals are out there looking for a home, then maybe they will go to a shelter next time they are looking to adopt, instead of to a breeder.

Keeping The Tradition Alive

We can only hope that as long as we have Super Bowls, we will have Puppy Bowls as well. Not only is the event an overwhelming amount of cuteness, it raises important awareness about animal adoption. With continued enthusiasm, puppy lovers can expect to see the game for years to come.

About the author

Melanie Fox

Hi there, I'm Melanie Fox, editor at Beloved Bark. We look to provide people with the knowledge and tools to make smarter, more educated choices for their dogs. We have made it our mission to inform our followers with expert advice and recommendations, that will make a difference in your dog's life.

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