Who doesn’t love a dog? (If you don’t we don’t want anything to do with you!) For years colleges have had the right idea of placing pooches in the distinct position of University mascot. These guys inspire alums to get up and cheer at games and make team rivalries a bit more interesting (easier to kidnap a dog than a person in a dog suit!):
Uga the Bulldog – University of Georgia -
For a long time there was a debate on how Uga the Bulldog came to be the mascot for University of Georgia. While some said it was due to the schools close ties with Yale, it was discovered that Uga’s history actually began in 1920 when a writer from The Atlanta Journal printed a piece about school nicknames – “The Georgia Bulldogs would sound good because there is a certain dignity about a bulldog, as well as ferocity.” The name caught on and has been used ever since.
The current Uga is actually Uga VI. He is descended from a line of white bulldogs bred by Frank W Seiler since 1956. He dons a spiked collar and his own team jersey (made of the same material that the players shirts are made of) during games. Uga is even issued a school ID at the beginning of every academic year. Uga V seemed to be the most famous of his clan; he made an appearance in the movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and also appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Past Uga’s are buried in a mausoleum on the schools campus.
Handsome Dan the Bulldog – Yale University-
The history of Handsome Dan goes all the way back to 1889. Andrew B. Graves, a football tackle, saw a dog sitting out in front of a blacksmith shop and bought him for $5. At that time, Princeton brought a live tiger cub with their teams when they traveled and Graves felt that Yale needed an equally impressive mascot. From that point on, Handsome Dan was led across the field before sports games. The Philadelphia Press wrote, “a favorite trick was to tell him to ‘Speak to Harvard.’ He would bark ferociously and work himself into physical contortions of rage never before dreamed of by a dog.” Since 1889 there have been 16 Handsome Dan’s. The bulldogs have all varied in colors and markings. The current Dan is 69 lbs and is owned by a North Haven, CT middle school teacher.
Spirit the Alaskan Malamute – University of Washington-
In 1922 a committee was formed to decide on the new mascot of the University of Washington (the teams were formerly known as “The Sun Dodgers”). It came down to Huskies and Malamutes and Huskies received the popular vote. Strangely enough, since that time 10 Alaskan Malamutes have served as mascots for the school. Currently Whitepaw’s Arlut Spirit of Gold Dust (aka Spirit), makes appearances at games accompanied by his trainer.
Zeke the Wonder Dog – a Labrador Retriever – Michigan State University-
Zeke the Wonder Dog is a name given to the handful of Labs (and a lab/pointer mix) who have been entertaining fans at MSU games since 1977. Each of these dogs have been skilled Frisbee athletes, amusing crowds during halftime games. Zeke II was a rescue dog from the local Humane Society.
Smokey the Bluetick Hound – University of Tennessee-
Smokey the Bluetick Hound was chosen by the students of the University of Tennessee as their mascot in 1953. A number of hound dogs were brought onto the field during halftime of a game and the crowd was asked to pick their favorite. Smokey, a Bluetick Hound, howled loudly when his name was called – there was no question that the school had found its mascot. The line began with a dog bred by Rev W.C Brooks and still continues with dogs from his family members. The current hound is Smokey IX. He’s cared for by the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity.
Reveille the Collie – Texas A&M University-
Reveille became the mascot of Texas A&M by accident. In 1931 a group of cadets hit a small black and white dog with their car. They brought the dog back to the school to tend to her wounds. The next morning when the day was announced with the blowing of reveille, the little dog began to bark along – this is how she got her name. When the first Reveille died in 1944 she was given a full military funeral. In recent years all of the Reveille’s have been Collies. The current incarnation is Reveille VII who started her reign in 2001. On campus, Reveille holds a great deal of power! If she chooses to sleep on a cadets bed, that student must sleep on the floor! If Reveille barks during a class, the class is to be dismissed immediately!
Jack the Bulldog – Georgetown University-
The first unofficial mascot of Georgetown University was a mixed breed dog named “Stubby”. An American Pit Bull Terrier/ Boston Terrier mix, Stubby was quite a famous hero during WWI. A great deal of time passed after Stubby’s death in 1926 and in 1962 a group of students decided that the Hoya’s needed a mascot that matched their tenacious nature. The committee purchased a 2 year old Bulldog with the intention of calling him “Hoya”. However the Bulldog had been called “Jack”, and, as his breed is stubborn natured, he refused to be renamed and would only respond to “Jack”. For many years after the death of the original Jack, the mascot was replaced by a person in a bulldog outfit. However in 1999, students rallied to “Bring Jack Back”. Since that time there have been 2 Jack’s. The current mascot lives with an Associate Theology professor and has a crew of 20 official student walkers (known as “The Jack Crew”)!
Bully the Bulldog – Mississippi State University-
Another Bulldog! Mississippi State teams were once known as the “Aggies” and the “Maroons”, but in 1961 they officially became “Bulldogs”. However use of a bulldog as a live mascot started in 1935. When the first Bully died as a result of an accident with a campus bus, the University went into mourning. The dog lay in state in a glass coffin and was viewed by a funeral procession over 1/2 mile long. LIFE magazine covered the sad event as well. Since that time there have been many Bully’s. The dogs previously lived in fraternity houses or roamed the campus (one even lived in an old oak barrel), but now reside in the College of Veterinary Medicine.
Blitz the Boston Terrier – Wofford College-
Wofford College’s sports teams are known as “The Terriers”, so in 2003 they inducted an official live mascot named Blitz. Blitz is a Boston Terrier who enjoys roaming the sidelines at games. She takes her job very seriously and hasn’t missed a game since she took the position.
Jonathan the Husky – University of Connecticut-
The first “Jonathan” came to the UCONN campus in 1934. Named after Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut during the Revolutionary War, the black and white pup had an impressive pedigree. There have now been 12 Jonathan’s, though their history has not been well kept. Most of the Huskies have been pure white (and their costumed human stand in is an all white dog). 4 of the Jonathan’s lived to be over 14! With their stints combined they served over 50 years providing team spirit!