Rejoice, Puppy Bowl IX -- which airs on Animal Planet at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3 -- is baaaack. This year features another super-cute all-star team of adoptable puppies, the legendary kitten half-time show and, wait for it .... hedgehog cheerleaders! (Why are you trying to make our hearts explode, Animal Planet?) A list of this year's contenders has been released, and let's just say, it'll be close this year. The full list is really long, so to help with your betting pool we've compiled our top ten favorite little players from starting lineup! One word: Gunther.
Breed: Miniature Pinscher
Agatha looks like she's got moxie and we like it (her adoption agency says that she "loves to be the center of attention.") No pooping on the 50-yard-line for Agatha. She'll take everyone down with her steely gaze.
Breed: Great Pyrenees
What a mug! Juniper's gaze tells us that 1) She thinks she's better than you (and is right); 2) She's tripping the light fantastic on Beggin' Strips secretly laced by Agatha and 3) She is picturing one of the hedgehog cheerleaders on a platter with an apple in its mouth. According to her adoption agency, she's "both a lover AND a fighter." She's totally gonna get DQ'd for not playing by the rules.
Breed: Chocolate Dachshund Smooth
Harry looks completely gentle and timid in this picture, but apparently he's a "lovable little terror!" He's not in it for the win. He's in it for the chaos.
Breed: Australian Shepherd/Catahoula Mix
We love Althea's name and she's adorable, but we gotta say we're on the fence about this one. Her agency says she loves to "snuggle" and we could totally see her taking a mid-game nap. But then again, she's a sheep dog and an inherent herder and might very well dominate on the field. Though we take her for more a good side-kick team-player type, she just might make Rookie of the Year.
Breed: Puerto Rican Sato
Butterscotch was rescued from a beach called 'Dead Dog Beach,' so the Puppy Bowl is probably a real walk in the park for her. (Side note: 'Dead Dog Beach' is where Donald Trump will marry his next wife in a beautiful cliff-side ceremony officiated by a dead dog.) Butterscotch also looks like she's going to cut a bitch if she doesn't win. We may have to put all of our money on her.
Breed: Labrador Retriever/Collie Mix
We don't know much about little Arlo except that he's from South Carolina, but he looks like he has a gentle demeanor and would just love it if you cupped his head in your hands and kissed him while cooing "who's my whittle wuv bug" in a creepy baby voice. His soft side might not make for great puppy football antics, but this blog says that South Carolina's football team has been kicking ass lately, so maybe he'll be great by osmosis.
Breed: Siberian Husky/Retriever Mix
Oh god, Aurora is giving us heart palpitations. Look at that eager face! According to her adoption agency she also "loves toys" and likes to "play, play play." She'll definitely give everyone a run for their money, but maybe she's a tad too eager and energetic to be the winner of Puppy Bowl. Girl just wants it too much.
Breed: Schnauzer/Beagle Mix
We took Marta for a pageant pup. What can we say? She's got the lewk. But she "loves to wrestle with bigger dogs," so bring it gurl.
Breed: Yorkshire Terrier
Daisy is definitely the underdog in this race. She's spunky, she's clearly got drive and she also likes to "wrestle with her two brothers." Hold Daisy's earrings, Marta is going down.
Breed: Pit Bull/ Hound Mix
Gunther is totally that dog with the intimidating, tough-guy exterior who's a softy on the inside. That said, Gunther seems like he has seen some STUFF. He's obviously a fighter, survivor and apparently he's "amazingly quiet" and a really good cuddler. Our prediction: He will stealthily take down all opponents, win the game, snuggle with the ref, and then, after the game, stare off into the sunset while leaning against his pick up, the only car left in the Puppy Bowl Arena lot, while taking slow pulls from a flask.