White House dog ‘Commander’ and Dr Jill Biden to share message of love at Puppy Bowl

White House dog ‘Commander’ and Dr Jill Biden puppy bowl message
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sunday 13 Feb is an important calendar date for sports fans and pet lovers alike. Not only is it Super Bowl Sunday, it’s also the date of the 18th ‘Puppy Bowl’, staged to help shelter pups find homes. This year the USA’s ‘First Dog’ Commander, a German Shepherd puppy belonging to President Joe Biden and his wife Jill, is making his TV debut.

Jill and Commander appear in a 45-second commercial set to air before Puppy Bowl XVIII. Both the high-profile events are being held a day before Valentine’s Day and Jill uses the upcoming holiday to focus on the love that pets bring into our lives.

The First Lady, wearing a dark gray roll neck sweater with the word ‘amour’ in pink letters, cuddles with her lively new pup who clearly feels he deserves to be more in shot!  

"Hi there. I'm Jill Biden, here at the White House with our new puppy Commander," she says. "You know, Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays because it's all about love. What's so wonderful about having pets is they bring us unconditional love, joy and comfort every day."

Commander moved into the White House in December 2021 and has clearly already become a part of the family.

In this year’s Puppy Bowl, 115 canine participants will ‘compete’ on either Team Ruff (orange bandanas) or Team Fluff (in blue) to win the coveted Lombarky trophy (modelled on the real Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy).

The dogs come from shelters across the US and include several special needs pups including a deaf border collie. This year’s contest will be hosted by Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg, who’ll also be able to coach their respective teams from the sidelines.

While many of the specific dogs who feature will already have been adopted, the event is a great way of raising the profile of shelters and rescue dogs in general. Amy Heinz, who runs AHeinz57 Pet Rescue in De Soto, has been sending pups to Puppy Bowl for ten years. Speaking to the Des Moines Register, she said, “Suddenly people started noticing our rescue and coming in for adoptions and help with their rescues.”

Puppy Bowl can only good news for the approximately 3.1 dogs who go into shelters every year in the USA, and it’s great to see first dog Commander lending the event his support. The only question that remains is: is he rooting for Team Ruff or Team Fluff?

Puppy Bowl airs at 2PM ET on Animal Planet.

Sara Walker

Sara is a freelance journalist and copywriter of many years’ experience with a lifelong love of animals. She’s written for a range of magazines and websites on subjects varying from pet care to travel. A horse rider since the age of five, she’s currently a full time pet slave to horse Blue and gorgeous, goofy English Springer Spaniel Olly. Adorable Olly has a huge sense of adventure and no sense of direction, keeping Sara on her toes.