How to Watch the Puppy Bowl 2023

Puppybowl XIX is the biggest bowl yet! Here's everything you need to know.

February 12, 2023 is obviously a massive holiday for football lovers. With huge Super Bowl sales, lavish parties, and long-teased musical comeback of Rihanna, there’s more than enough to look forward to this Sunday.

But even if you’re not a football fan or party lover, there’s a super-sweet reason to tune in on February 12: the annual return of the Puppy Bowl! Animal lovers can watch the adorable antics of over 100 puppies this year (and cats, and penguins, and hamsters) and celebrate their impending adoptions to their forever homes. Here is everything you need to know about every pet shelter’s favorite holiday.

What is Puppy Bowl?

The Puppy Bowl is an annual televised event put on by Animal Planet on the day of the Superbowl. Since 2005, the “game” has featured dozens of not-so-trained puppies taking a scaled-down stadium and field to play ball. Pups are divided into orange and blue teams by bandanas, known as “Team Ruff” and “Team Fluff,” respectively. The dogs’ goal is to get the ball into an end zone—unlike in real football, it doesn’t matter which one—to win the coveted “Lombarky” trophy. The whole game is overseen by a designated “rufferee.”

How does it benefit shelter dogs?

Emma 2023 Puppy Bowl Courtesy Warner Bros. DiscoveryCourtesy Warner Bros. Discovery

Now, the point behind the Puppy Bowl isn’t really a rough-and-tumble football game. Rather, it’s an opportunity to showcase some of the country’s adoption-available shelter dogs and cats in order to find them a new home. Each year, every dog and cat featured in the Puppy Bowl has been adopted.

“We really couldn’t ask for a better platform, says Chrissy Beckles, founder and president of the Sato Project, a non-profit focused on rescuing abandoned dogs in Puerto Rico. Beckles has numerous dogs participating in this year’s bowl. Laurie Johnson, director of Florida Little Dog Rescue, concurs, highlighting the stigma-busting capacities of the Puppy Bowl: “[I]t shows you that you can get just about any type of dog in rescue….I would say 90, 95 percent of the dogs that are in rescue are not here because they failed as dogs. They’re here because human failed them as owners.”

Beckles and Johnson both claim that interest in adoption spikes dramatically after the Puppy Bowl. “We get calls from all over the country when Puppy Bowl airs asking about our pups,” says Johnson. “There’s been a couple years where we’ve had our website crash.” Beckles adds that the attention also results in a “definite increase” in donations and volunteer applications. That’s no surprise as there are many benefits to adopting a shelter dog.

What you can expect to see in Puppy Bowl 2023

Jimmy Kibble 2023 Puppy Bowl Courtesy Warner Bros. DiscoveryCourtesy Warner Bros. Discovery

This year, 122 dogs from 67 different shelters will be participating in the Puppy Bowl. They are all different breeds with various abilities and individual personalities. Four of the dogs this year come from the Sato project, six from Florida Little Dog Rescue, and the rest from shelters all across the United States and Caribbean.

For a small sample, the little dogs of Florida include Majesty, a purebred corgi; Emma, a chihuahua mix who was rescued at just two days old; DaVinci, a labradoodle who’s already met his adoptive dad; and Jimmy Kibble, an energetic Pomeranian-Husky mix (“Pomsky”). All of the dogs have been appropriately socialized and prepared for the bright lights of the Puppy Bowl, so get ready to see some extra-happy, playful pups!

Additionally, the Puppy Bowl will continue its tradition of featuring a “Kitty Halftime Show” of adoption-available cats. There will also apparently be penguin cheerleaders and a blimp full of hamsters flying over the stadium.

Where to watch Puppy Bowl live

Effie 2023 Puppy Bowl Courtesy Warner Bros. DiscoveryCourtesy Warner Bros. Discovery

The Puppy Bowl airs on February 12, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. EST. You can watch it on Animal Planet, the Discovery Channel, or TBS, or streaming on Discovery+ and HBO Max.

It’s important to note that the Puppy Bowl isn’t exactly “live.” Like an SNL digital short aired on Saturday night, it has been pre-taped, meaning that many of the puppies featured in the bowl will have already been adopted by the time it airs. However, if you see a pup you particularly like, do not hesitate to reach out; you never know who’s still available (like Jimmy Kibble!).

Additionally, even if your preferred pup has already been adopted, participating shelters are more than happy to refer you to other adoptable puppies in their care or at other shelters. So, be sure to tune in to find your fur-ever friend, or just to fawn over some paw-fect pups! Might I suggest cuddling up with your own companion and preparing some homemade dog treats? That’s what I’ll be doing.