With the help of Embark, fans get additional insight into cuddly canine players on teams Ruff and Fluff.
Glenn stands regally on his battleground. He smells victory. Or treats. Which, honestly, is kind of a victory. All photos courtesy of Animal Planet.“Now taking the field, at 4 pounds, 6 ounces: Stormy, a Staffordshire terrier-boxer-Australian cattle dog mix from Nashville!”
During this year's Puppy Bowl, sportscasters might add, “Boxer genes give Stormy an advantage in speed, the terrier DNA gives him tenacity, and the cattle dog genes make him relentless in pursuit of a touchdown!”
Fans of Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl will have the inside skinny on the players this year thanks to Embark, a canine DNA test developed at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine. According to a recent release from Cornell, Adam Boyko, co-founder of a biotech startup by the same name, used Embark to test all 78 Puppy Bowl players.
Although unable to meet the pups in person, Boyko's brother and Embark co-founder Ryan Boyko collected cheek swabs with the help of Embark veterinarian Erin Chu, DVM. Adam Boyko used the test results to compare team “Fluff” with team “Ruff” and come up with a favorite.
“Herding breeds have the drive, athleticism and temperament to excel in chaotic environments,” Adam says. “Look for Team Fluff to steal the show.”
Ryan, however, disagrees. “Looking at the whippet and greyhound ancestry on Team Ruff, their running backs and recievers will control the game to win it.”
Click through to see first-look photos of the adorable athletes participating this year.
Daphne assists teammate Laila by pulling her in the right direction. Despite the sportsdoglike conduct, the players seem to be saying, "Rough! Rough!"
A penalty flag, held by referee Dan, has been thrown by assistant Nikita. The two may suspect ruff play.
Sully, Noodle and Maybell line up for a great play.
Duke sprints past his defender, Dawson. It's a bold move, but seems to be pawsitively paying off!
Woody of Team Ruff charges the field, sniffing out an opportunity to score.
Nyquist and Hope of team fluff appear to be going for the fumble, or any of the other great toys on the field.
Reminder: Puppy Bowl XIII airs this Sunday at 3PM ET/12PM PT on Animal Planet.