The pet overpopulation problem in the United States is incredible and many organizations are working to improve the situation - Animal Planet”s effort is focused on getting people to adopt shelter puppies by showing happy people with their adopted dogs, and cute puppies playing with toys in The Puppy Bowl!


Begun in 2005, The Puppy Bowl starts hours before the actual “game” with endless puns and fake game predictions and analysis by a panel of “experts.” Also included are pre-game interviews with the players, during which none of them say anything (because they’re puppies!).

But, not too surprisingly, the lack of comments from puppies being held by loving handlers and having a network microphone shoved under their nose actually are very reminiscent of the actual pre-game comments and stunned looks we commonly see from actual super bowl players asked to explain why their team is the best in the world.

The two teams of shelter puppies are Ruff and Fluff.

Your reporter's puppies practicing for a wrestling competition.

Production values

The ASPCA and a veterinarian are present during all the filming to ensure the safety and well-being of all the animals. Since these are puppies with needle-like teeth, a major concern is to make sure none of the puppies injure each other during the 50-plus hours needed to get enough video of the puppies.

The 50 hours are spread over three 12-hour days according to Wikipedia (despite the fact that 3x12 isn’t 50) and the puppies are given water breaks every half hour due to the heat from TV lights. Some years the 50 hours of video are recorded over two 12-hour days. The discrepancy is due to the producers counting total video time from multiple cameras.

Nearly 100 humans are needed to manage the 50 to 60 puppies used in The Puppy Bowl show.

All puppies are between 12 and 21 weeks of age and there are usually some special needs puppies included - this year one of the puppies is completely deaf and another has only three legs.


In the 2014 Puppy Bowl and pre-game, the puppies were accompanied by 30 kittens, three trained cats, some adult tailgate dogs, 4 retired police dogs, and a cage-full of hamsters, all of which were up for adoption.

In addition there were five penguins from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium who weren’t up for adoption.

Below, your reporter’s puppies practicing broken field running for our traditional touch-football game during half-time.

Discovery Channel says that a Puppy Bowl event usually attracts about 10 million viewers, which is approximately double the number who tuned into the first new Celebrity Apprentice of the year.

Highlights from 2016

One important rule is that if a puppy “squats” during the play a penalty is assessed. It isn’t clear if there is a longer penalty for a #2 than a #1.

There are normally bunny cheerleaders and during half-time a scratching pole is brought out for the kitten half-time show.

This year Punxsutawney Phil was present to supervise the coin toss.