With all entertainment culture officially at a standstill this week, Vulture turns its attention to the one reality show of the summer that doesn't look completely terrible: CBS' Greatest American Dog. At last, a prime-time television program bold enough to take twelve adorable canines and rank them in order of quality. After the jump, we take a look at the competitors on GAD's official Website and pick a few early favorites. And, yes, we know the show doesn't premiere for another three weeks, but we wanted to write about it before The New York Times Magazine does their inevitable cover story.
His story: According to his owner, Andrew is "a perfect companion" with a "keen ability to make people smile." In other words, he's a bit of a dunce, to put it charitably. He allegedly attends "special training classes" twice a week "to keep him challenged." Quite frankly, we'll be impressed if he can make it through an episode without pooping on a carpet.
Odds of winning: 100:1
Breed: Miniature schnauzer
Her story: She may be adorable, but Beacon's laughably unimpressive résumé (highlight: She can ring a bell when she wants to be let outside) makes one wonder whose leg she humped to get on this show.
Odds of winning: 200:1
Her story: Bella Starlet has a solid CV (she's appeared in commercials and a number of feature films), and is as bilingual as one could reasonably expect from a dog (she understands the word "sit" in both English and French), but, at 70 dog years, her age could become a factor.
Odds of winning: 10:1
Breed: Parson Russell terrier
His story: The fact that his owner, a rich Upper East Side doctor, blew $10,000 on Elvis's "Bark Mitzvah" doesn't bode well for his scrappiness. Still, he recently won first place at the St. Michaels Maryland Terrier Race, which, on paper at least, sounds like a pretty good place to measure a terrier's agility. He could be a competitor.
Odds of winning: 8:1
Breed: Boston terrier
Her story: Finally, a dog who looks like she could make it through a round of fetch without a lung exploding! According to Ezzie's owner, she's "hyper, highly intelligent, and high-strung," and "if she were human, she'd be a professional marathon runner." If this show takes athleticism into account — which it will need to if CBS expects us to take it seriously — she stands a pretty good chance.
Odds of winning: 5:1
Breed: English pointer and Border collie mix
His story: More than just a pet, Galaxy is a touring show dog who can do "flips" and "sit-ups," which sounds totally awesome. It's dogs like him that truly make you wonder how ones like Beacon and Andrew can live with themselves.
Odds of winning: 4:1
Breed: Giant schnauzer
Her story She's a tad oafish, and her trick repertoire is lamentable (sit, down, roll over … zzzzz), but, at 71 pounds, Kenji has a big size advantage and could certainly rip our throats out.
Odds of winning: 8:1
Breed: Border collie
His story: A Renaissance dog if ever there was one, Leroy can purportedly "shoot baskets and play the piano." His ability to "set the dinner table with his own kitchenette set" could make him the classiest mammal ever to appear on a reality-television show, but his obvious love of Frisbee saves him from being completely insufferable. Leroy, if you're reading this, send us an e-mail — we're always looking for new writers.
Odds of winning: 2:1
His story: Presley is playful and energetic, and at 53 pounds, he could probably fight off a burglar or two, unlike some dogs (Beacon, you're pathetic). But we have to say it — he's homely, even by Boxer standards. We just hope the other dogs can figure out which end to sniff.
Odds of winning: 10:1
Breed: Purebred Pomeranian
Her story: Oh please.
Odds of winning: 1,000:1
Breed: Purebred Brittany
Her story: Ostensibly, Star is what this competition should be all about. She's smart, extensively trained, and a natural performer. She was part of a team that competed in the United States Dog Agility Association Nationals, but, an avowed lover of bacon, she's no snob. Also, her owner is a diabetic, and Star is trained to "sense and alert her when her blood sugar goes low." Man, that's impressive.
Odds of winning 3:2
Breed: English bulldog
His story: Tillman can ride a skateboard. Competition over.
Odds: Even money
Greatest American Dog [CBS]
Earlier: Unscripted Apocalypse: The Twenty Worst Reality Shows of Summer