Show Dogs, Schmo Dogs: New ‘American Rescue Dog Show’ Features Prizeworthy Mutts

March 21, 2018 Update: Good news — the Hallmark Channel announced today that the “American Rescue Dog Show” will become an annual event each February! The inaugural show “successfully competed against (and bested) the best known pure breed dog show in the world,” according to the Hallmark Channel. In other words, mutts rule, purebreds drool.

2018 America Rescue Dog Show

If you were watching the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show last week and, like me, wished there was a show that honored mixed breeds and rescue dogs (by the way, was that was a big cotton ball or an actual dog that won the Best in Show title?!), we’re in luck: The “2018 American Rescue Dog Show” makes its debut on the Hallmark Channel Feb. 19.

Unlike the WKC show, whose competitors have to comply to certain physical standards — some of which can cause serious health issues — the “American Rescue Dog Show” will award dogs rescued from shelters across the country for what they do best: There are prizes for, among other things, Best in Couch Potato, Best in Wiggle Butt, Best in Underbite, Best in Snoring and Best in Kissing. The top dog in each category will then vie for the top honor of Best in Rescue.

The purpose of the “2018 American Rescue Dog Show” is to spotlight rescued mixed-breed and purebred dogs with the hope they’ll inspire viewers to adopt their next four-legged family member from a shelter or rescue organization.

Hosted by Rebecca Romijn and Rich Eisen, the celebrity judges will include Linda Blair (whom I interviewed a few years back at the Pit Bull rescue she founded, the Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation), Rick Springfield (who had one of the best album covers ever, IMHO), and dog trainers Brandon McMillan and Andrea Arden.

“We are proud to honor rescue pets and raise awareness of how truly special these animals are,” said Bill Abbott, president and CEO of the Hallmark Channel’s parent company, Crown Media Family Networks, in a press release. “There are beautiful animals available at local shelters and we encourage our viewers to choose adoption through our pet programming, which is at the heart of our brand.”

“The pedigree of these dogs,” says the Hallmark Channel, “is pure love.” I think we can all agree that’s the very best kind of pedigree.

This isn’t the first TV special to feature rescue dogs. On Thanksgiving night in 2014 and 2015, FOX presented “The All-Star Dog Rescue Celebration,” which resulted in thousands of adoption applications being submitted for the featured dogs. Unfortunately, the show hasn’t aired since 2015. Here’s hoping the Hallmark Channel keeps its “American Rescue Dog Show” around for many years to come.

Watch “2018 American Rescue Dog Show” on the Hallmark Channel Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Photo: Hallmark Channel/YouTube

Laura Goldman

I am a freelance writer and lifelong dog lover. For five years, I was a staff writer for i Love Dogs. When that site shut down, I started this blog...because I STILL Love Dogs!