By Erica Browne GrivasSpecial to The Seattle Times
Seattle Police Department dog Pele regularly nabs robbers red-handed, but can she chase down the title of “America’s Top Dog” in A&E’s new reality show?
The show, basically “America Ninja Warrior” for dogs (and from the same producer), tests four police or military dogs and one civilian (the “underdog”) on their speed, agility, scenting and teamwork in three timed rounds. The “underdogs” come in every shape and size, from bulldogs to catahoulas.
Contestants race for $10,000 plus $5,000 donated to their favorite animal charity and a spot in the finale.
“America’s Top Dog” premieres on A&E Wednesday, Jan. 8, at 9 p.m., and will feature Pele and her handler, SPD Canine Officer T.J. San Miguel. The first season will consist of 11 weekly episodes.
Pele, named for the Hawaiian fire goddess, is a glossy, black 6-year-old German shepherd imported from Germany that SPD purchased from a Rochester-based breeder called Kraftwerk K-9.
San Miguel applied for herself and Pele to be on “America’s Top Dog” after her aunt heard about the new show and urged her to submit an application. Pele and San Miguel went through a Skype interview and were ultimately selected for the show. Filming took place in June.