Meet the canine college mascots who are the pride of their universities.
By Kim Campbell Thornton
Andrews McMeel Syndication
It’s football season, and everywhere you turn there are bulldogs and huskies representing college sports teams. Bulldogs seem to be the clear favorite, serving as mascots for Butler, Georgetown, University of Georgia, Gonzaga, Yale and many more schools, at least 42 altogether.
Yale, credited with being the first university to have a mascot, has been repped by a bulldog since 1889. Because of concerns about breed health, though, the college switched this year from the AKC-registered bulldog to a variety known as the Olde English Bulldogge, thought to have less extreme physical characteristics. Following a long line of dogs named Handsome Dan, the current mascot is named Walter after Yale’s Walter Camp, known as the father of American football.
The husky is another popular canine mascot. Colleges claiming the husky as a symbol include University of Connecticut, University of Southern Maine, Michigan Tech, Northeastern, Northern Illinois University, St. Cloud State University in Minnesota and University of Washington.
Northeastern adopted the husky as its mascot in 1927 in honor of the sled dogs — Togo and Balto being among the best known — and their drivers who delivered life-saving diphtheria vaccine to Nome, Alaska, through near-blizzard conditions. While UConn’s Jonathan, named after Jonathan Trumbull, Connecticut’s last colonial and first state governor, is a Siberian husky, the term “husky” doesn’t always refer to that breed. Dubs, the University of Washington mascot, is actually an Alaskan malamute.
But what about other dog breeds? Do they get a shot at being big dog on campus? Here’s a look at some of the lesser known or more unusual canine college mascots.
The saluki, a sleek and speedy sighthound, has been the mascot at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale since 1951. Salukis are believed to be one of the most ancient types of dogs, and that’s how they became SIU’s mascot, says Saluki breeder and all-around dog expert Caroline Coile.
“That area of Southern Illinois is known as Little Egypt,” she says, “so they wanted an Egyptian mascot, hence the saluki, an Egyptian dog. They seem like a great mascot for a track team — not so much for a football team.”
A bluetick coonhound, Smokey (the 10th of that name), leads the University of Tennessee’s Volunteers onto the football field at home games and howls when they score. The first mascot, Blue Smokey, won his place in 1953 when he barked and howled on hearing his name called as students voted for their favorite dog.
North Carolina State University teams are known as the Wolfpack, but a live wolf as a mascot wasn’t a good option. Instead, they found a dog that resembled a wolf. Tuffy, who goes by the name Wave at home, is a tamaskan, a type of dog first bred in Finland by blending German shepherds, Alaskan malamutes and Siberian huskies.
Goldie the golden retriever does more than promote school spirit for University of Tulsa’s Hurricanes. This “Golden Furricane” is a therapy dog who makes the rounds among stressed students during finals, visits alums at retirement homes and supports local pet adoption events. She’s an athlete herself, competing in dock diving and, of course, being a natural at tail-gating.
A Scottish terrier named — what else? — Scotty is the mascot for Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, founded by Scottish robber baron turned philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. When Scotty’s off duty, she goes by Maggie, after Carnegie’s mother, Margaret Morrison Carnegie.
Pint is a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever who retrieves the kickoff tees at University of California, Davis, football games. In his off-hours, he’s a spokesdog for the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.
At Texas A&M, Reveille, or Miss Rev, is the ninth rough collie to serve as the school’s mascot and was recently named No. 1 dog mascot in college football by the NCAA.