Ruff-down: Adoptable pets to compete for “Lombarky” trophy in 17th annual Puppy Bowl

The puppies come from all across the country to compete against each other

Last year’s Puppy Bowl winners, Team Fluff, are making another appearance at the much anticipated championship game this Sunday. Puppy Bowl XVII, airing at 2:00 p.m. EST on the Animal Planet channel, will feature two all-star teams: Team Ruff and Team Fluff.

Last year’s game ended with a score of 63-59, as Team Fluff took home the Chewy “Lombarky” Trophy, — for those who aren’t familiar with football, this alludes to the National Football League’s Vince Lombardi Trophy, named after coach Vince Lomardi, who led the Green Bay Packers to win the first two Super Bowls. The main purpose of the annual game, which has been ongoing for sixteen years, is to encourage adoptions of the puppies participating in the championship. One hundred percent of puppies who have appeared on the television special have been adopted.

So how does the Puppy Bowl work? Every year a new set of puppies are split into two teams to compete in a mini stadium. In order to score a touchdown, they must carry a toy into their team’s endzone. If a puppy carries a toy into the other team’s endzone, it’ll count as a touchdown for the other team. In order to better grasp the team’s offense and defense though, let’s look at some players in this year’s lineup for Team Fluff and Team Ruff. Remember, these pets are not just superstar players, they’re looking for homes as well.


Aaron Pawdgers is a Treeing Walker Coonhound/American Staffordshire terrier mix from Last Chance Animal Rescue in Maryland. True to his name, Pawdgers is a proud cheesehead.

Accompanying Pawdgers, Chunky Monkey is a Chow Chow/Maltese mix from Green Dogs Unleashed in Virginia. Though he is a mere 15 weeks old, his inspiration is Ruth Bader Gins-bark.

Ariel, a 14-week-old Siberian Husky/Large Münsterlander mix, is best friends with a Jamaican crab. Ariel is housed in The Sato Project in New York.

Bananaberry is an Australian Cattle Dog/Golden Retriever Mix from Operation Paws for Homes in Virginia. The puppy, only 17-weeks-old, enjoys the film “Breakfast at Sniff-any’s.”

James is a 20-week-old Labrador Retriever/German Shepherd mix and also serves as the host of “Carpooch Karaoke.” James resides in Dog Star Rescue in Connecticut.

Labrador Retriever/Golden Shepherd mix Lee, at just 20-weeks-old, loves country music star Blake Shetland. Lee resides in Dog Star Rescue in Connecticut.

Lucy, a Beagle/Bluetick Coonhound mix, goes by the motto “Hot Pup Summer Fur-ever.” The 19-week-old is from the Danbury Animal Welfare Society in Connecticut.

Tank is a 15-week-old Rottweiler/Boxer mix who has a starring role in “Mission Im-paw-ssible.” Tank is representing Charlie’s Crusader’s Pet Rescue in Mississippi.

Tina is a Chihuahua/Plott Hound mix also known as “The Queen of Rock and Rollover.” The 15-week-old puppy is from Operation Paws for Homes in Virginia.

Duke is a 20-week-old Great Pyrenees/Poodle mix who enjoys birdwatching on the weekends. Duke is representing the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland (Maine).

For more information on the other pups playing in the Puppy Bowl, visit their profiles on USA TODAY, and make sure to enjoy the Puppy Bowl this Sunday.