Yale University

Class News

Yale to select new bulldog (Getman '64)

April 25, 2005

For the first time in school history, the Yale athletic department will hold a dog show to determine which bulldog will be its new mascot, Handsome Dan XVI.

A major part of the job description is that the dog must "hate the color red," a reference to the Harvard Crimson, Yale's biggest rival.

The winning dog will be determined Tuesday and assume the role of Handsome Dan. The 10 finalists were selected from an applicant pool of more than 20 bulldogs.

The last mascot, Handsome Dan XV, known as Louis, died in January.

"We need a dog that is athletic," says Chris Getman, who served as caretaker of the last three Handsome Dans and is chairperson of the committee to select the new mascot. "There's a lot involved in being the mascot. It's not just going to football games."

Contestants will be judged on their behavior, such as how they deal with children, react to the band and other game situations. Looks also matter, Getman says.

In the past, professors and deans would use their bulldogs as the mascot. In the 1980s, the school had the Westminster Kennel Club conduct a search.

"We wanted to open it up to find another dog," says Steve Conn, director of Yale's sports publicity office. "We know a lot of people in the area have bulldogs and have been interested."

Owners had to submit a photograph and write an essay about their bulldog.

The dog needs to be at five fall home football games and at various events during the year. The animal also needs to be able to climb stairs and avoid football players who tumble out of bounds during a game, the university says.

Handsome Dan is the oldest mascot in the country, Conn says. He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1956.