Jonathan the Husky

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Jonathan (costume version) standing under a blow-up version of a husky.
The canine Jonathan XIII with former president of UConn, Michael Hogan.

Jonathan the Husky is the mascot of the University of Connecticut. All of UConn's huskies are named Jonathan in honor of Jonathan Trumbull, the last colonial and first state Governor of Connecticut.[1] There are two versions of Jonathan: the costumed version and the canine version.

All but the first real husky mascot, a brown and white dog, had been solid white with one brown eye and one blue eye, until 2013 when UCONN officially changed their logo to a black and white Husky. The newest Jonathan is Jonathan XIV, a black and white male introduced January 29, 2014. Jonathan is one of the few university mascots in the nation to have been selected by students via a popular poll (in 1933).

The co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega has helped to care for the canine Jonathan since the 1970s.

History of Jonathan The Husky[edit]

Jonathan I (July 23, 1934 - February 1935) In 1934 Rhode Island's ram mascot was kidnapped and the story gained interest in bringing a live animal mascot to Connecticut State College. A student poll selected the husky, and January 1935 Connecticut State College's first husky mascot had arrived at the campus in Storrs.[2] The Alumnus had announced a "Name the Mascot Contest" and "Jonathan" was the winning entry. Sadly, the day before the name was announced Jonathan I was struck by a vehicle in North Windam. Jonathan I was able to attend a few basketball games at Hawley Armory before his passing. He is buried by the Old Whitney granite step and a plaque commemorates his life.[3]

Jonathan II (Unknown – 1947)

Jonathan II debuted November 8, 1935 at a pep rally prior to the annual football rivalry game against Rhode Island. Jonathan II was an Eskimo Husky, and cousin to the original Jonathan. Jonathan made his presence felt in September 1936. He scared Brown’s bear mascot severely, and chased the bear up a tree. Jonathan II made Brown’s bear so timid, it refused to leave the tree. The bear had to be rescued from the tree by Providence police and fire fighters.[4]

Jonathan III (Unknown -1949)

Jonathan III made his debut November 8, 1947, against Rhode Island in football. Jonathan III is best known for chasing Yale’s bulldog mascot around the Yale Bowl. The only other information about Jonathan III is that he was dog-napped prior to a football game.[4]

Jonathan IV (Unknown - 1959)

Jonathan IV arrived on campus in 1949. He was a Siberian-Eskimo-Samoyed mix with greyish markings. His first football game was against Yale, and he bit their bulldog mascot on the nose. Jonathan IV traveled to New York City in 1951, to accompany the men’s basketball team in their first NCAA tournament appearance. Jonathan IV was not a big fan of opposing basketball players and was known to growl when points where scored against UConn.[4]

Jonathan V (Unknown)

Jonathan V made his appearance as the UConn mascot in 1959. Unfortunately Jonathan V was not able to handle the noise and commotion of large crowds. This made appearances at football games unpleasant for Jonathan V. News reports refer to Jonathan V as “shell shocked”.[2] Jonathan V was retired in 1963. UConn introduced a man in a husky costume mascot to serve as an interim mascot known as “Homer the Husky”.[4] Pictures from the period show mascot outfits have vastly improved and become less scary to children.

Jonathan VI

Two months after being introduced to campus, Jonathan VI died after being hit by a car.

Jonathan VII (1964-1977)

In March 1965, Jonathan VII came to campus as a gift from the student body of the University of Alaska. The University of Alaska wanted to repay UConn for their assistance following a devastating earthquake in Alaska. The beautiful all white husky almost became the last animal mascot for UConn. 1970, the Student Senate voted to sell the mascot because the dog "represented the establishment." UConn at the time was a hotbed of anti-Vietnam fervor, like most college campuses of the time. Fortunately, a student petition overrode the Student Senate, and literally saved Jonathan the Husky. Jonathan VII was turned over to Alpha Phi Omega, the service fraternity, for handling. Jonathan VII final football game was in 1977 and he then retired.

Jonathan VIII (1977-1991)

As Jonathan VII was being retired the University was introducing Jonathan VIII. Finally, in 1989, University trustees officially recognized the Husky dog as the official mascot of UConn athletics. Jonathan VIII died of cancer in May 1991.[5]

Jonathan IX or Jonathan X (July 1991 - 1995)

Jonathan IX arrived on campus in July 1991, and began his stay with Alpha Phi Omega. However before his debut to the student body, the fraternity stated the husky was not Jonathan IX but actually Jonathan X.[5] Alpha Phi Omega's theory was that two huskies served as Jonathan VIII and the mascot's name needed to reflect this. There are no public records to dispute or verify this claim but it is the claim given by the University in publications and on tours.[6] Another theory on campus states that students of Clubhouse 29 found a stray pup on the streets and took him in. After being informed it was Jonathan IX they refused to give the pup back to Alpha Phi Omega. The fraternity mobilized and was able to find another husky in time, Jonathan X. Even though it is unclear what the truth is surrounding Jonathan X, he served the university dutifully. Jonathan X is notable for having one blue eye and one brown eye, known as Heterochromia iridum.[7] Tragically Jonathan X was struck by a vehicle and died in 1995.

Jonathan XI (1995 - 2001)

Jonathan XI arrived with about as much momentum a husky pup can arrive on campus. He made his debut 2 weeks after the unveiling of the majestic husky dog statue, and a month after the UConn Women's basketball team won its first NCAA National Championship. Jonathan XI retired in 2001 but continued to represent UConn in a positive manner by participating in an animal therapy program.[5]

Jonathan XII (2001 - Spring 2005)

Jonathan XII made his debut in 2001. He continued the UConn tradition of being an majestically brilliant all white husky that was cared for by Alpha Phi Omega. Jonathan XII was unable to deal with large crowds, and seemed stressed with being surrounded by large crowds.[6] This became an issue because of UConn growing athletic prowess at the time. During Jonathan XII's tenure, UConn football became a Division I-A football team that played at a 40,000 seat stadium. UConn men's basketball won a National Championship, and UConn Women's basketball won 3 National Championships. All of the heightened interest caused Jonathan XII distress, so he was retired.

Jonathan XIII (March 9, 2008 – January 28, 2014)[8]

Jonathan XIII was a rambunctious pup born in Hartstown PA.[8] After being selected to carry on the tradition of the UConn Husky, he received training at Connecticut K-9 and Behavioral Services in Watertown, CT.[8] Jonathan XIII made his debut March 9, 2008 and helped guide the men to victory over Cincinnati. The delay in bringing in a new husky mascot was due to Alpha Phi Omega revamping their policies of caring for Jonathan. Now a host family cares for Jonathan when he is not representing the University.[8] Further, a professional handler is brought in to work with Jonathan full-time.[6] Other polices include a vetting process to show that Jonathan can handle large crowds and loud noise.[6]


Jonathan XIV (January 29, 2014 – present)

Jonathan XIV was born October 5, 2013. He has the more traditional black and white coat, with blue eyes, to reflect UCONN's recent change in their mascot logo.

Jonathan's likenesses[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]