Animal Planet released the lineup for Puppy Bowl VII yesterday, and it wouldn't be enough for me to say, "Here's the lineup, enjoy the cuteness!" No, as one of the Internet's leading experts on cute dogs, I'm dedicated to bringing you the best analysis of soft fur and floppy ears possible.
Above is Amy, an 18-week-old Golden Retriever/Corgi mix who will grow up to be the most playful dog on the entire planet. Sadly, Amy is the closest thing we have for a representative of our beloved Corgi breed. To its credit, Animal Planet seems to be favoring mixes and mutts, which of course are generally hardier and healthier dogs. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't watch the hell out of some Corgi Bowl counter-programming. (Hint, hint, NatGeo.)
Click through for the rest of the lineup and my expert analysis. UPDATE: Animal Planet unveiled more puppies as part of the starting lineup. I've updated the post to include the new entries. (Spoiler alert: there are basset hound puppies, plural.)
Big Red is a shepherd mix. Mixed with what? A WHOLE LOT OF CUTENESS. Look at those big paws: he's gonna be clumsy and adorable. Grade: four out of five Corgi puppies.
Booda's a pug mix, and while I find pugs funny, the bug-eyed thing doesn't really trigger my "AWWWWW" reflex. Upside: the fact that he's a mix softens the weird factor. Grade: two and a half Corgi puppies.
Ugh, I loathe Cocker Spaniels. Their eyes are all goopy and they piss on the floor if you look at 'em cross-eyed. And they make your hand stink after you pet them. The only thing saving Brownie Sundae's bitch ass is that she's mixed with some better breed. And by "better" I mean "any other." Grade: one Corgi puppy.
Hmmm... I like the ears and the scruffy fur, but Calvin's serious demeanor is kinda bringing me down. I think I need to see him in action before coming to a decision. Grade: three Corgi puppies, with a possible upgrade to three and a half.
You know what's cuter than a Shih Tzu/beagle mix? Just a beagle. Under the "dogs must be larger than cats" rule, Shih Tzus are officially not dogs and downgraded to "object to be punted." Automatic subtraction of two Corgi puppies.
Charlie's a tough one. He's a Yorkshire terrier mix, and if there's a non-dog that's stupider and more yappy and annoying and worthless than Shih Tzus, it's Yorkies. HOWEVER, I'm a sucker for scruffy puppies, and they don't come much scruffier than Charlie. Grade: 3 Corgi puppies, downgraded to two if he's a wuss around bigger dogs.
Now this is more like it! Duncan is a Golden Retriever/bulldog mix, and I would be happy to quit my job just to hug him for eight hours a day five days a week. I'd probably even log some overtime doing that. Grade: four Corgi puppies.
Jack is a Lab mix, but that hardly matters with those expressive eyes and floppy ears. And the white patch on his belly just kinda says, "Rub me!" Only apparent weakness: could be fluffier. Grade: three and a half Corgis.
Koda's a Siberian husky, which is one of the dogs I had growing up. Obviously, then, I'm biased because I know what great dogs huskies are. Four Corgis!
Nope, I feel nothing. Lindy's a Brittany Spaniel/Schnauzer mix, and neither of those breeds really do it for me. But she's scruffy and has floppy ears, so I'll give her half a Corgi more than I want to.
Little Red, like CB, is a Shih Tzu/beagle mix. However, he got a lot less of the crappy Shih Tzu and a lot more of the super-cute beagle. In fact, since I can't readily identify any Shih Tzu traits in Little Red, he gets three and a half Corgi puppies.
Louise is a mix of rat terrier, Lab, and hound. The hound is most obvious, because she has those long ears that I want to tie in a bow on top of her head. Oh, Louise. Come be my friend. Grade: four Corgi puppies.
Stop the Cuteness Pageant and send all the other puppies home. Mae is a mix of Newfoundland and Great Pyrenees, which are both large, gentle mountain dogs. Mae is not only perfect and adorable now; she's gonna grow up to be a humongous, chill dog. I MUST HAVE HER.
Meh, Yorkie mix. The only way I'd ever like a Yorkie is if I could cram it into an M203 grenade launcher and fire it into a crowd of hippies. Grade: two Corgi puppies.
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! I can't handle it when dogs have one ear flipped the wrong way. I die. I just die. (And I mean all of that in the best way possible.) Grade: four and half Corgi puppies.
Molly's a boxer mix, but it looks like she's got some Lab in her face (which is a big step up in cuteness from a boxer). Missing a certain je ne sais quoi that would bring her to four Corgi puppies, though.
Let's get this out of the way: I wanna stick my face in his coat. Oliver is a Great Pyrenees, which are one of the best breeds on the planet. If anyone is old enough to remember the old Nickelodeon cartoon "Belle and Sebastian" (that's right, it's not just a hipster folk band), Belle was a Great Pyrenees. Four Corgis!
Cute face, but minus points for being a Cocker Spaniel mix, which results in those ears that look like the fur's been crimped. The '80s are over, dude.
Pauly is a Smooth Fox Terrier. And credit where it's due: you'd be hard-pressed to find a cooler name for a breed than "smooth fox." Unfortunately, like Kate Moss, he's a little too skinny for my tastes. Three Corgi puppies.
Oh. Oh no. When I started judging puppies on the patented Warming Glow Corgi Scale, I promised myself that only a Corgi puppy could score a perfect five out of five Corgis. But damned if this little border collie mix isn't making me re-think that. Look at that dark little face. The fluffy fur. The perky/floppy combo of the ears. NEW FRACTION JUST FOR REENIE:
Wow, another Great Pyrenees. This must be the cool, big dog breed Animal Planet injected into the Puppy Bowl to make up for all the crappy little Shih Tzus. Is River as cute as Reenie? That sad, fluffy face says yes.
A basset hound puppy? Damn, Animal Planet is bringin' out the big guns at the end of the lineup. And by "big guns" I mean "cutest puppies." Those ears can cloak all the unhappiness in the world. Grade: four and a half Corgi puppies.
People who say that pit bulls are a bad breed should be torn limb from limb by the pit bulls. That way they can die smug. There are no bad dogs, only bad owners. (Note: if it's smaller than a cat, it's not a dog.)
Sadie gets four Corgi puppies because she looks full of love.
It's well established that I don't like the small dogs, but Pomeranians are so damn fluffy it's hard to hate them. Savannah (a Pomeranian-Maltese mix) has got a disheveled coked-out look that I find charming in a puppy. Three and a half Corgis.
Yay, another basset hound! For my money, Rudy is a little cuter, but Suzie holds her own by upping the sadness. She looks like a tired old soul, and that makes me want to hug her.
*breathes into paper bag* As the owner of a Rottweiler mix, I turn to pudding any time I see brown eyebrow spots on black fur. Thelma got four and a half Corgis before I could blink.
Eye spot. Attentive floppy ears. Eager-to-please face. Oh yes, Thirteen has it all. Bonus points for sharing a name with Olivia Wilde's character on "House."
Two Face is pretty cute -- and I like the Batman reference -- but I've been doling out some pretty high grades as the puppies have upped their cuteness. He would've been a 4 at the beginning of the slide show, but I'm bumping him to 3.5 given all the competition.
It's a slightly furrier version of Jabba the Hutt's court jester, Salacious B. Crumb (not exactly what I'm looking for in a puppy). He will find a new definition of pain and suffering at Puppy Bowl VII. Grade: two Corgi puppies.