The Cutest Live College Mascots

Animals have long been a part of college sports. And it's no surprise that the most enduring – and adorable – of these fan-friendly, fun-loving furballs are dogs

01 of 10

Uga VIII, Georgia's English bulldog

Uga VIII, Georgia's English bulldog
Danny White

The newest Dawg won’t officially start prowling the sidelines until Saturday, but this purebreed comes with a pedigree as prodigious as his underbite. One of his storied ancestors was the first live mascot to appear by himself on the cover of Sports Illustrated and to attend the Heisman Trophy ceremonies (where he sported a tux!). He once even tried to turn a player from archrival Auburn into a chew toy. Now that’s school spirit!

02 of 10

Blue II, Butler's English bulldog

Blue II, Butler's English bulldog
Brent Smith/Butler University

Butler’s good-luck charm led his school’s men’s basketball team – a perennial, ahem, underdog – all the way to the national-title game last March. As a crowd of more than 70,000 looked on, each Bulldogs player petted the 6-year-old on the head during pregame introductions and he responded by barking up a storm. In spite of that stirring pep talk, Butler missed a last-second shot to win the game and fell to Duke 61-59. But Blue won a host of new fans; he now has more than 2,000 followers on Twitter.

03 of 10

Handsome Dan XVII, Yale's bulldog

Handsome Dan XVII, Yale's bulldog
Courtesy Yale University

This dapper fellow is certainly Ivy League material; he follows in the paw prints of the oldest official line of college mascots – the Dan Dynasty, which dates all the way back to 1889. His weary, patrician bearing is suitably Yalie, and he has lunched with the likes of former President George Bush (Yale, ‘48) and Sir Paul McCartney. But Dan is no mere aristocratic alpha dog. In fact, this 3-year-old pooch has plenty of new tricks: he can stand on his hind legs, jump through a Hula Hoop, stare down a (stuffed) Princeton tiger, and, when asked if he would rather go to archrival Harvard or die, he drops to the ground, rolls over and plays dead.

04 of 10

Rocky I, UNC-Asheville's Victorian bulldog

Image
Matt Rose

This athletic, affectionate pooch isn’t just 85 lbs. of slobbery, black-and-white-spotted school spirit. He’s also a former pound pup. Adopted from an Alabama animal shelter by two UNC-Asheville alums in 2008, the gregarious fellow immediately showed he was mascot material. After settling in with his new owner – a mathematics professor at the university who admits that his new charge has, in fact, been known to eat homework on occasion – Rocky was introduced as the school’s top dog in 2009, where he has found a new leash on life cheering on Asheville’s teams.

05 of 10

Tuffy, North Carolina State's Tamaskan wolf dog

Image
Peyton Williams/NC State Athletics Media Relations

For years, Wolfpack fans had been howling for a live mascot. After several failed attempts to field an actual wolf (the shy, nocturnal creatures proved ill-suited to crowds), this Tamaskan – a rare Finnish breed that is people-friendly and lupine-like – finally made his debut in September. Named after the school’s strutting wolf logo, Tuffy already seems to enjoy the spotlight. He fancies having his photo taken with the cheerleaders and playfully stalking the sidelines.

06 of 10

Reveille VIII, Texas A&M's collie

Reveille VIII, Texas A&M's collie
Glen Johnson/TAMU Athletics

The first Reveille arrived at Texas A&M in 1931, after some cadets hit a small black and white dog on their way back to campus. They picked up the pup and brought her back to school to care for her. The next morning, when “Reveille” sounded, the revived pooch began barking – and was thus named after the morning wakeup call. Reveille, who is always female and often attends classes with her handlers, is the highest-ranking member of the Corps of Cadets and is addressed as “Miss Rev, ma’am.” Upon death, each mascot is buried in a special cemetery located outside the north end of Texas A&M’s stadium, from where the dogs can “watch” the Aggies play.

07 of 10

Dubs, Washington's Alaskan malamute

Image
Courtesy University of Washington

His team is known as the Huskies, but Dubs is actually an Alaskan Malamute who was hand-picked from a kennel outside Seattle to become UW’s 13th live mascot. His breed is prized for its ability to pull heavy freight as a sled dog, and the easygoing pup has certainly been pulling his weight as an eager representative for Washington’s athletic department. In addition to starring in TV commercials and palling around with Huskies quarterback Jake Locker’s pup, Ten, Dubs even has his own blog – er, blawg.

08 of 10

Zeke the Wonder Dog, Michigan State's yellow Labrador

Image
Cory Morse/Muskegon Chronicle

Zeke III – aka “Boo Coo,” so named for his “beaucoup” energy – is no mere show dog. This athletic lab has been awing fans with his amazing half-time acrobatics since 2008, and the Wonder Dog tradition actually began at MSU back in 1977 when the original Zeke first flaunted his frisbee-catching skills. Zeke III, who beat out 600 other canine contenders, is truly Spartan in spirit and work ethic.

09 of 10

Jonathan XIII, Connecticut's Siberian husky

Image
Peter Morenus/University of Connecticut

Since 1934 – when students voted to change the mascot from Aggies to Huskies – all UConn mascots have been named after Jonathan Trumbull, the governor of the state during the Revolutionary War. In 1970, during the height of another conflict (Vietnam) the UConn student government voted to sell Jonathan because it was believed he represented the establishment. A student petition saved the mascot, however, and decades later Jonathan XIII, a rambunctious, brilliant white, Siberian Husky made his official debut during a UConn men’s basketball game in 2008. The fact that Jonathan eats an all-organic diet would probably please those ’70s-era protesters. But the fact that he’s never seen in public without his official event vest – which features the name of the fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, that cares for him as well as his official “sponsors” – might not.

10 of 10

Smokey IX, the University of Tennessee's bluetick coonhound

Image
Joe Robbins/Getty

In 1953, the Tennessee pep club held a contest to select a coonhound, the native breed of the state, as the school’s first live mascot. “He must be a ‘Houn’ Dog’ in the best sense of the word,” read the announcement trumpeting the event. When Blue Smokey was presented at halftime of the Vols’ first game in 1953, he howled a loud, lusty “hello” and the crowd went wild. Since then, a coonhound has led the Tennessee football team through the “Power T” before each game and then patrolled the sidelines of Neyland Stadium. And Smokey has certainly proved himself worthy of the “Houn’ Dog” title; he has survived both being stolen by Kentucky students in 1955 and an altercation with Baylor’s bear mascot, Judge, at the 1957 Sugar Bowl.

Related Articles