Pro sports canine mascots: What’s out there?

pro sports canine mascots (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
pro sports canine mascots (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

When it comes to minor league sports, teams using dog nicknames are a little scarce. What’s out there for pro sports canine mascots?

Pro sports canine mascots do exist in North America, though it takes a bit of searching to find them. But since aren’t live dog sports aren’t currently happening, we had time to research this subject (though to be honest we actually researched it sometime last year and only just now found that file again).

When it comes to major professional sports, there isn’t much in this area. The NFL has the Cleveland Browns, who have a costumed mascot in Chomps and a live mascot in Swagger Jr. Also, the Dallas Cowboys are raising a team service dog.

In the NBA, there are the Minnesota Timberwolves, and that’s it.

About a third of the NHL teams have or other team dogs, which we are obviously big fans of. But the only team specifically named after a canine are the Arizona Coyotes.

But then there are minor league sports, which open up a whole realm of possibilities – some of which are slightly stretched for our purposes, but we’re going to count them anyway.

We’d guess around fifteen minor league baseball teams have team dogs in some form or fashion, most of whom are batdogs, but there are a handful of teams named after canines, or close to it.

The El Paso Chihuahuas play in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League as a San Diego Padres affiliate, and the Midland RockHounds of the Double-A Texas League also represent for pro sports canine mascots.

The Double-A Eastern League has the Portland Sea Dogs and the Erie SeaWolves. Portland’s logo actually features a cartoonish seal, not a dog, but “sea dog” is Maine lingo for a veteran sailor.

The SeaWolves are actually named after wolves, though they might not exist following 2020 if a proposed contraction plan succeeds in shutting down about a quarter of all minor league clubs. The Single-A Batavia Muckdogs of the New York-Penn League may also be targeted by this shutdown, which would be a shame.

In hockey, the Double-A level ECHL has the Newfoundland Growlers, which of course use the province’s namesake breed as their logo. In their second year of existence right now, they made it to the Calder Cup Final in their debut season.

The SPHL, slightly lower than the ECHL, includes the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs, who tie into the regional history of hockey teams named after the railroading industry. Their logo features their canine mascot Diesel as a railroad worker, which is cool.

And the Sioux Falls Stampede of the Single-A level USHL temporarily become canines each season, as we covered several months ago.

In Canada’s major junior leagues, which are roughly equal to American minor leagues, the Ontario Hockey League includes the Hamilton Bulldogs, Niagara IceDogs, and (most famously) the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds, who Wayne Gretzky played for before starting his professional career (with the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association).

A handful of Canadian junior league teams, roughly equivalent to high school, are named after dogs as well.

In soccer, the United Soccer League (Triple-A level) includes the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, which is a cool name.

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So, there you have the pro sports canine mascots, please take the time to read through the NCAA canine mascots and the NAIA canine mascots as well, and like us on Facebook at Daily Dog and on Instagram at @DogODayFS.