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Nov 20, 2016 06:56 AM EST

Meet Handsome Dan XVIII: Yale University Proudly Welcomes Its Newest Mascot

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The 8-week-old puppy was born in New Haven on September 23 came home to Yale last week. The university announced the search for the new mascot after Sherman, Handsome Dan XVII passed away last August.

Traditionally, Yale's mascots have been English Bulldogs but Chris Getman '64, caretaker of 4 Handsome Dans for the last 33 years suggested the change of breed because of life expectancy and vitality. A typical English Bulldog has a lifespan of 9 years, Olde English Bulldogge live for 13 years.

Yale was the first university to have a live mascot. The longstanding tradition of Handsome Dans began when Andrew Graves, class of 1892, bought the first Handsome Dan from a New Haven blacksmith. It started in 1890 when a champion English Bulldog named Harper was brought to football games to inspire athletes.

Apart from looking for a healthier breed, Yale also wanted the new Dan to be more athletic and not just cute since he is expected to attend all major sports events as well as other important occasions in the university like fundraisers and commencement exercises. This big role also meant there should be a low 'turnover' rate.

Another important criteria: the dog has to love people and enjoy the crowd because the new Dan caretaker, Kevin Discepolo '09, Assistant Athletics Director of Facilities, Operations and Events plans to take him to campus everyday and have his daily walks.

Handsome Dan XVIII has already made appearances around campus and met some of the athletes but he won't be present on sporting events in the next few weeks. He will undergo training fit for an Ivy League icon before assuming his role as big dog on campus. This little pup has big shoes to fill.

Sherman, Handsome Dan XVII was mascot for 9 years and he left a mighty legacy. He is a regular fixture on alumni fundraising events where he raised a lot of money for local charities. Sherman was also appointed as midshipman of the U.S. Naval Reserve. Welcoming and meeting university guests was also part of his duties. Handsome Dan XVII met former presidents George H.W. Bush '48 and Jimmy Carter as well as The Beatles' Sir Paul McCartney.

In the meantime you can follow him on Twitter (@HandsomeDan18) and Instagram (@HandsomeDanXVIII).

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