November 30th, 2011 | Sports

Handsome Dan fans dispute article’s claims

The original Uga was much svelter and healthier than today's according to an article in the New York Times Magazine.
The original Uga was much svelter and healthier than today's according to an article in the New York Times Magazine. Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

A recent New York Times magazine feature on the health of bulldogs called Uga, the bulldog mascot of the University of Georgia, “the country’s most famous dog mascot.” But fans of Yale’s Handsome Dan have contested that claim since the article’s publication, the article’s author, Benoit Denizet-Lewis, said in an interview with the Times.

Handsome Dan’s fans point out that Yale has had a bulldog mascot since 1889, while Uga was introduced as a mascot at Georgia in 1956. Handsome Dan is also considered the first live college mascot.

Christopher Getman ’64, who owns Handsome Dan XVII, told Denizet-Lewis that Uga is also “pretty high-maintenance.”

“[Uga] flies first class to all the away games,” Getman explained. “He lives in an air-conditioned doghouse. I don’t think he’s ever been touched by an undergraduate. He certainly hasn’t been walked by an undergraduate. Handsome Dan is a very different kind of mascot. He’s a mascot for the people.”

You can get your daily cute fix by watching Handsome Dan interacting with a crowd at a Master’s Tea and walking around his home in this video Denizet-Lewis took of the mascot while reporting in late 2009: