Americans love their college sports teams, and college sports teams love their mascots. But why stick a man in a costume and call him your mascot when you could have a real dog instead? A live dog at the sidelines might not be able to whip up the same kind of frenzy as a hyped-up male cheerleader in a Pluto suit, but they do tend to add a bit more class. So, which dogs rank as the most popular college mascots? By a clean mile, the Bulldog. With 15 Bulldogs in Division 1 alone, Bulldogs have clearly figured out how to ace the mascot interview. As for the rest? Find out for yourself as we run through the most popular doggy college mascots in the country.
Why so many colleges have adopted the Bulldog as their mascot, who knows? But clearly, there’s something about this flat-nosed pooch that gets students excited. In Division I, a total of 15 teams have claimed the breed as their mascot, including Alabama A&M, Bryant, Butler, The Citadel, Drake, Fresno State, Gardner-Webb, Georgia, Gonzaga, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State, UNC-Asheville, Samford, South Carolina State, and Yale. And that’s not all. In Division II, we get to see the Bulldog again as it proudly represents Barton, Bowie State, Ferris State, Minnesota-Duluth, Southwestern Oklahoma State, Truman State, Union University, and Wingate. Now, that’s a lot of colleges and an equally huge number of Bulldogs. Out of all of them, Yale’s Handsome Dan is possibly the most famous. As the first-ever mascot for the college (actually, for any college in the US), Handsome Dan was welcomed to the university’s ranks in 1889. Over 100 years and 17 dogs later, the legacy of Handsome Dan continues.
It may not be able to compete with the Bulldog in sheer numbers, but the Husky has proved to be a hugely popular choice among colleges. Fourteen schools in total are proud to call the Husky their mascot, including UConn, Houston Baptist, Northeastern, Northern Illinois, Washington, and Cloud State University (who, appropriately enough, have called their Husky ‘Blizzard’).
One of the most famous Collie mascots is Reveille, a.k.a Miss Rev, the shaggiest member of Texas A&M University’s Corps of Cadets. Miss Rev was first introduced to the university in 1931 and has been a much-loved honorary student ever since. Legend has it that if she barks during a class, she’s become bored enough to justify the professor ending the class. We doubt if it’s anything more than an urban myth, but it’d make a great alternative to the school bell if it works.
Two colleges have elevated the Saint Bernard to the status of mascot – Sienna College in Albany, New York, and Emmanuel College in Massachusetts.
The Bluetick Coonhound is known for being smart, athletic, and tenacious – little wonder it’s been adopted as the official mascot of the University of Tennessee, then. As akc.org writes, the university decided on its mascot at a contest in 1953, where the students were asked to cast their vote by cheering. Whichever option got the most cheers would be elected the winner. In the end, it was the baleful baying of a Bluetick Coonhound named Brooks’ Blue Smokey that won the most students over.
According to iheartdogs.com, the athletic Greyhound has served as the University of Indianapolis’s mascot ever since it was decided that the UIndy athletes were “a long, lean animal renowned for its speed, jumping prowess and fighting heart” – a description that fits in perfectly with what we know about the breed. Several other colleges have also decided to embrace the metaphor, with both Moravian College in Pennsylvania and Loyola of Maryland standing proudly by their Greyhound yell leaders.
If Boston University had chosen the Scottish Terrier as their mascot, you might have raised an eyebrow. But it didn’t, so it’s ok. Instead, they opted for the all-American Boston Terrier, a breed that has its roots in the city itself and is said to possess all the same fine manners of a good Boston student. The breed also represents Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
As dogoday.com writes, when the students of Southern Illinois State University met in March of 1951 to decide on a new team name, they were in the mood for something a little more original than their previous moniker of “maroons”. So, what did they decide on? ‘Saluki’, a dog renowned for its speed and hunting skills who’s served as the team mascot ever since.
Sometimes, the decision to choose one mascot over another seems random. Other times, the explanation is obvious. Both Agnes College and Carnegie Mellon University both have nicknames with a Scottish bias (Agnes College call themselves the ‘Scotties’ and Carnegie Mellon University are known as the “Tartans”), so it made perfect sense when both schools decided to adopt the Scottish Terrier as a mascot. Although they might have consulted each other before making the obvious mistake of naming both their mascot’s ‘Scottie’.
In fairness, not many colleges have chosen the Great Dane as their mascot. But when we’re talking about a dog that stands 32 inches at the shoulder and tips the scales at 200lb, it would take a brave person not to give them a mention. So here it is – a big shout out to the mighty Damien the Great Dane of the University of Albany.
According to parade.com, Pace University in New York State spent several years causing all kinds of confusion by referring to its teams and its mascot as simply ‘setters’. What kind of setters, we had no idea – until they recently decided to throw light on the situation by confirming that its red-coated mascot, T-Bone, was in fact (and as many had suspected) an Irish Setter.
There’s a fine tradition of college’s adopting the wolf as a mascot. The problem is, getting a wolf to lead out your team is a difficult, not to mention dangerous, task. So, what’s a college to do? Pick a mascot that looks like a wolf but acts like a dog, of course. Enter the Tamaskan, a gorgeous blend of Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute who serves as the proud mascot of North Carolina State.