Puppy Bowl XVIII Featured The Most Special Needs Rescue Dogs Ever


To many Americans, “the big game” refers to the Super Bowl played between the year’s winningest football teams. For a lot of us though, the real event is the one that precedes it on TV: The Puppy Bowl!

On Sunday, Feb. 13, Puppy Bowl XVIII kicked off on Animal Planet and Discovery+. As usual, Team Ruff took on Team Fluff. Per another important tradition, all the doggie players came from shelters.


About Puppy Bowl XVIII

The way the game is played is simple: the dogs just have to drag a chew toy into the end zone. Any other calls are made up “on the fly,” according to Dan Schachner who has refereed the Puppy Bowl for the past 11 years.


The annual TV program airs over the course of 3 adorable hours. In addition to regular “game” footage, the 2022 event included a water bowl cam and slow-motion replays.

Spoiler alert: Team Fluff took the trophy this year. But in the end, every pup who found their forever home after the event is a winner.


The Puppy Bowl is currently available for streaming on the Discovery+ app.

A Fun Way To Get Rescue Dogs Adopted

More than just a way for animal-lovers who don’t care for football to enjoy Super Bowl Sunday, the Puppy Bowl is a huge adoption event. Every single puppy and kitten who’s ever participated in the Puppy Bowl has been adopted, usually before the event even ends.

Schachner said:

“Every Puppy Bowl ends with every single dog being adopted. Our goal is to showcase as wide of a variety as possible.”

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2022’s game was the largest ever competition, featuring over 100 dogs from 63 shelters in 33 different states, including one from Hawaii. Puppy Bowl XVIII also included the most special needs rescue dogs to date.

The Puppy Bowl is Animal Planet’s most widely-viewed program. That’s tons of attention on adoptable rescue dogs and the “adopt don’t shop” mentality.


2022 Success Stories And Featured Players

Just like in previous years, the Puppy Bowl rescue dogs are off to new, exciting lives. The game’s MVP, a Labrador named Kirby, is currently training to be a service dog with America’s Vet Dogs.

Once he completes his training, Kirby will be placed with a veteran or a first responder with disabilities. Follow Kirby’s journey on Instagram.


Hoku, the 8-month-old Pit Bull mix, represented the great state of Hawaii in the game for the first time. The Maui Humane Society has been posting updates about her journey as well. She was born in a shelter, and now she’s a professional athlete!


This year, 9 special needs dogs participated, including Benny, a wheelchair-bound poodle, Moby, a French Bulldog with a cleft palate, and Rocket, a deaf Chihuahua/Dachshund. These dogs will now all end up finding forever homes, something which may have been more difficult without their TV appearances.

Benny even won the “Pup-ularity Playoff.” The poodle has a birth defect which obviously doesn’t affect his joie de vivre.


You can view the entire game lineup on Discovery’s website. Long live this super cute adoption event!

Featured Image: Instagram

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