Thirty-six mischievous mutts are here to put the “tail” in “tailgate.”
Animal Planet is airing its 15th annual “Puppy Bowl” game on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 3, 3 EST/12 PST), featuring a fetching lineup of 93 puppies from 51 shelters in the U.S., Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. USA TODAY has the first look at the three dozen starting players, which include a Corgi, a Shar Pei, a Labrador Retriever, a St. Bernard and various mixed breeds.
Three special-needs dogs will also be “competing” – or rather, chasing squeak toys and each other – including Bumble, a hearing-impaired Lab-Chow Chow mix, and Will, a three-legged Old English Sheepdog, both pictured in the gallery.
Most if not all of the pooches you’ll see on TV were adopted last fall, when the special was taped, from shelters such as Muddy Paws Rescue in New York – which is teaming with Olympic silver medalist Gus Kenworthy for a special segment airing on game day – and Vanderpump Dogs in Los Angeles, founded by “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Lisa Vanderpump.
Longtime “ruffaree” Dan Schachner is back for his eighth “Puppy Bowl,” which features porcupine and capybara “mascots,” and a kitten halftime show. A pre-game show airs at 2 EST/11 PST, with canine “correspondents” Rodt Weiler, James Hound and Sheena Inu.