University of Georgia Bulldogs Mascot - Uga January 13, 2015 17:30
As I wrote about in a previous blog, bulldogs, specifically english bulldogs, are the most popular breed of dog chosen to represent colleges and universities as a mascot. When you think about bulldog mascots, one that comes to mind is Uga. Uga, or UGA, is the abbreviation for the University of Georgia (clever and simple to remember). Uga was recently chosen as the #1 college mascot among fans in a 2014 USA Today on-line poll. I can see why. The dog exudes strength and confidence. Uga's back-story begins back in 1956 when Sonny Seiler, a law school student at the time, decided to bring Uga to a frat party before the first home game of the season. A few refreshments later, the group decided to bring the dog to the game. The dog was such a hit at the game, the head coach of the football team Wally Butts asked if the dog could be the team's mascot. Billy Young, college friend, suggested the name Uga and the tradition began. Below is a photo of Uga I and a more recent Uga. There have been 9 dogs who have had the privilege of being the mascot for The University of Georgia; each one being a descendant of Uga I.
It is tradition that Uga is present for every home game and as many away games and special school events as possible. Uga wears a red jersey made from the same material as the players wear in games. He also dons a spiked collar (of course). Uga, like all bulldogs, has a short snout and underbite. Brachycephalic breeds are those breeds who share this short snout, and flat-facial structure. Brachycephalic dogs are vulnerable to breathing problems and need special attention when active and/or in hot and elevated environments where the air is thin.
Unlike many other dog mascot breeds, Uga doesn't care about showing off his athletic abilities; his muscles and sharp teeth say enough. He can usually be found relaxing in his custom build air-conditioned dog house sitting next to bags of ice to keep him safe and happy.
Although Uga is typically only required to flex his muscles to gain respect, there was this one infamous event in 1996 when a rival football player got just a little to close for Uga V's liking and he let the player know about it. Lucky for the player (and UGA), the Auburn football player was able to dodge Uga's teeth.VIDEO OF UGA BITING AT PLAYER
This biting event added to the lore of Uga and in many respects established his reputation as a no-nonsense mascot who is to be admired from a distance from rival fans and players. Truth be told, Uga is a sweet boy who wouldn't hurt a fly. :-)
Game Day Dogs salutes Uga as the 2014 #1 mascot according to the USA Today fan poll and can see why so many adore him. If we send you a new bed and food bowl, will you promise not to bite us? Just kidding of course. Go Dawgs!
In a future blog post, I will recant the history and tradition of another one of college football's beloved dog mascots for the University of Tennessee - Smokey.