Meet the 6 Amazing Special Needs Dogs Competing in the 2021 Puppy Bowl


We’re counting down the days to the big game — that’s right, Puppy Bowl!

Puppy Bowl XVII is set to air on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 7, led by two truly spectacular co-hosts and some astoundingly cute competitors.

Among the pups making up 2021’s Team Ruff and Team Fluff are six special needs dogs that will be hitting the turf at GEICO Stadium to prove that puppies of all kinds can play hard and love harder.

So while you dig into the seven-layer dip and prepare for three hours of adorable animal athleticism, make sure to keep an eye out for these adoptable puppy players and the amazing spirit they bring to the field.


Team: Fluff
Shelter: Pets with Disabilities in Maryland
Jett is Labrador retriever/German pointer mix who was born without his two front legs. And while he was the runt of his litter, Jett has proved since birth that he’s a fighter. With help from Pets with Disabilities, Jett has learned how to walk on his hind legs, use a wheelchair, and jump without help. Jett’s rescuers feel that his early hardships have helped him grow into a smart, strong puppy that can easily keep up with any of the other Puppy Bowl players.


Courtesy of Animal Planet

Team: Ruff
Shelter: Green Dog Unleashed in Virginia
Fletcher is a deaf and vision-impaired American Staffordshire terrier/Beagle mix, who is also described as a “charmer” by his rescuers. Thanks to specialized training and support, Fletcher has been to explore the guarding and herding traits that come naturally to his mixture of breeds.


Courtesy of Animal Planet

Team: Fluff
Shelter: Green Dogs Unleashed in Virginia
Marshall is a Boston terrier from the same rescue as Fletcher, which specializes in training and placing special needs dogs. This deaf pup is small, but his rescuers say he has a big, bright future ahead.


Courtesy of Animal Planet

Team: Ruff
Shelter: Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland in Maine
This American Staffordshire terrier /Australian cattle dog mix was born deaf and at 20 weeks old is already mastering commands through hand signals. Rumor arrived at the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland with her siblings from an Oklahoma rescue called Skiatook Paws & Claws Animal Rescue (SPACAR). SPACAR is a foster/volunteer-based group, who works with their local high-intake shelters to pull animals, place them into foster homes, and then ready them for adoption or transport. Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland is one of their transport partners that welcomes their animals for rescue.


Courtesy of Animal Planet

Team: Fluff
Shelter: Green Dogs Unleashed in Virginia
Hank was also born deaf and was surrendered by his previous owner, who didn’t have the time to train him. Despite this early upset, the Dalmatian is a big sweetheart that is looking forward to a forever home.


Courtesy of Animal Planet

Team: Fluff
Shelter: Green Dogs Unleashed in Virginia
Theodore is a deaf Great Pyrenees/McNab mix. His rescue says, like many deaf dogs, Theodore’s remaining senses are heightened, making him especially intelligent and sharp.

Puppy Bowl XVII airs Sunday, February 7 at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT as a 3-hour event on both Discovery+ and Animal Planet

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