College football season is once again upon us, and that means it’s time to get your jerseys out and start planning your tailgate parties. College football is already great, but one thing that makes it even better? Live dog mascots on the sidelines. Even if you’re not a football fan, you’ll be sure to find a team to support from this list of spirited NCAA pups.
Uga X, University of Georgia, Bulldog
Although a few other animals — including a Bull Terrier and a goat — have served as mascots for the school, the University of Georgia‘s Uga the Bulldog is one of the most well-known mascots in college sports history. Uga I, named for UGA’s abbreviation, made his first on-field appearance in 1956. Now, Uga X reigns supreme with his custom-made jerseys, varsity letter, and air-conditioned doghouse at Sanford Stadium. After the incumbent Uga passes away, he is buried alongside his mascot comrades in a marble vault at the stadium. According to the school, the gravesite of past Ugas attracts hundreds of visitors each year.
As the fifth most popular dog breed in the U.S., the mellow, good-natured Bulldog is a favorite icon of many colleges, and these wrinkly, affable members of the Non-Sporting Group act as mascots for 15 NCAA Division I schools including Butler and Yale.
Dubs II, University of Washington, Alaskan Malamute
After trying out a few different ideas, the University of Washington settled on a Husky as the official mascot in 1922. Although the school’s athletic program refers to themselves as the “Huskies,” the live mascot has for decades been an Alaskan Malamute, considered by school officials as a similar, but stronger, spitz breed. The current mascot, named Dubs II, has been the official mascot since 2018. When not on football duty, Dubs II lives in the suburbs of Seattle with his family, and enjoys participation in conformation shows.
The Alaskan Malamute is a proud member of the Working Group, and they are sought-after as sled dogs in cold climates, due to their combination of strength, speed, and stamina. For active families, Mals can also make great companions.
Reveille IX, Texas A&M University, Collie
Reveille, a.k.a Miss Rev, is the First Lady of Texas A&M University and is the highest-ranking member in the Corps of Cadets. The first Reveille became the official mascot in 1931, after leading the band onto the field before a home football game. According to school tradition, if Reveille, a Collie, barks during a class, it means that she is bored, and the professor should dismiss the class. The current mascot, Reveille IX, assumed her role in 2015.
The Collie is a graceful, devoted, and proud member of the Herding Group. Collies are friendly and highly intelligent, making them great family dogs. However, they do like to stay active, so finding them a job is suggested.
Smokey X, University of Tennessee, Bluetick Coonhound
After deciding to employ a live mascot, the University of Tennessee held a contest in 1953, where the students voted to select the next school mascot by cheering. The loud baying of a Bluetick Coonhound named Brooks’ Blue Smokey won over the crowd, and so the tradition was born. Smokey X now represents the school, and a Smokey-costumed mascot leads the football team through a giant “T” on the field before every home game.
Bluetick Coonhounds are athletic and active members of the Hound Group that thrive when given a job to do. The smart, devoted, and tenacious breed excels at nose-focused dog sports such as Scent Work and Tracking.
Kohl, Boise State University, Labrador Retriever
What better job for a football-focused Labrador Retriever than to retrieve the tee from the field after each kickoff? The tradition of using Labs to assist Boise State University‘s special teams units first began in the mid-90s and has taken off since then. The current tee-retrieving dog, Kohl, works double duty as a bat-retrieval dog for a local minor league baseball team, and his on-field antics have made him a viral internet hit for years.
Labs are immensely popular members of the Sporting Group, and they’re capable of learning to do just about anything. Aside from family pets, Labs make great service dogs, search and rescue dogs, and therapy dogs.
Jonathan XIV, University of Connecticut, Siberian Husky
University of Connecticut‘s official mascot has been a live Husky named Jonathan since 1935. According to the school, the official mascots are named after former Connecticut Gov. Jonathan Trumbull, who was nicknamed “Brother Jonathan” by President George Washington during the Revolutionary War. The current mascot, Jonathan XIV, joined the ranks in 2014, taking over for a white Husky named Jonathan XIII.
The Siberian Husky is popular due to its friendly and outgoing personality, along with a striking and recognizable appearance. As members of the Working Group, they are happiest when active, and prospective owners should always make sure they have the time to exercise these energetic dogs.