Is it time for fresh blood in UGA’s Dawghouse?

Does the early death of Uga VIII mean changes are needed in the mascot line? (Associated Press)

Does the early death of Uga VIII mean changes are needed in the mascot line? (Associated Press)

The second straight premature death of an Uga mascot, this one after serving just six games, has prompted a lot of discussion both inside and outside the Bulldog Nation about what’s wrong with Sonny Seiler’s proud line of all-white English bulldogs.

As Matt Hinton of Rivals.com put it, “even for a breed with notorious cardiac and respiratory problems and zero tolerance for heat, the Ugas are beginning to resemble the mascot version of the royal hemophiliacs of Europe: Blue-blooded, inbred and increasingly feeble beyond function.”

The two words I’ve heard most from Georgia fans since Uga VIII’s death last week are “fresh blood,” as in a belief that Seiler needs to either abandon the current line that links back in circuitous fashion to the original Uga, give up on restricting the mascot’s job to only pure white bulldogs (one reason substitute Russ isn’t deemed qualified to be the permanent mascot) or at least introduce some hardier stock into the breeding of the line.

So I put the question to JD, a UGA fan who’s also a breeder of English bulldogs: What’s the word on the breeding circuit about the Uga line? Two sickly ones in a row died young. Is it a matter of Sonny needing to freshen the bloodline?

“Definitely,” JD replied. “Sonny has some legitimate health problems in his line. It is not standard for a bulldog to die so young. Average age of a bulldog is 10.”

What would Seiler need to do to strengthen the line and yet still maintain the link to the original Uga?

“He needs to engage in a planned breeding program,” JD said. ” If necessary, buy a quality female or two and then breed to the reigning Uga. That would improve his line (healthwise). Problem is when you have serious health problems, there is an ethical issue on whether you should breed that line any further.”

Some fans have even suggested that UGA look elsewhere than Seiler’s line for a new mascot. One popular suggestion has been the all-white bulldog puppy held up last week by Isaiah Crowell on signing day. JD says the pup, named Magical Munson Woods, was bred by an Athens area fan, Glenn Lyles, with the sire being a dog owned by my high school classmate Mike “Big Dawg” Woods (the ominpresent fan who paints a bulldog on his bald head). The upside of naming that dog as Uga IX would be not only a fresh bloodline, but the school would have a mascot who lived close enough to Athens to attend many more UGA athletic events than the Savannah-based Seiler mascots.

But the chances of the university abandoning an arrangement of more than five decades with a high-profile alum like Seiler seems highly unlikely.

So what can be done? JD believes Seiler “probably has to get off his idea of an unbroken line. … Bring in some new blood from some quality show kennels.”

The situation is complicated, JD said, because many reputable breeders “won’t breed with Sonny because of the quality of his male and the in-line health problems (the first rule of breeding is always breed your female to the best available male) and his restrictive breeding agreement that the owner of the female must sign” about maintaining secrecy and forgoing any marketing rights.

The bottom line, JD says, is that Seiler has to “swallow his pride and accept some major changes.”

What do you think? Do we really need an unbroken line dating back to the original Uga or would it be better for Seiler to start the line over? Should UGA look to another breeder? What would you think of an Uga who wasn’t all-white?

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

415 comments Add your comment

PDX Dawg

February 9th, 2011
11:00 am

The health of the dawg is more important thananyone’s desires for keeping Uga in the same bloodline. It cant go on forever.

TK

February 9th, 2011
11:00 am

First!! GOOO DAWGS!

PDX Dawg

February 9th, 2011
11:01 am

better luck next time TK.

homer

February 9th, 2011
11:02 am

Averyboy

February 9th, 2011
11:03 am

Inbreeding at Thuga….imagine that!!!

dawg67

February 9th, 2011
11:03 am

First!! I think we need to break the line but keep the all white Uga!

Bryan G.

February 9th, 2011
11:03 am

Uga should be all white. We can’t break that tradition. That’s what makes Uga different from Bully at Miss State or Handsome Dan at Yale.

I don’t think we need an unbroken line to Uga I so long as the dog has some lineage to a former Uga.

Dandy Don

February 9th, 2011
11:03 am

There is an old saying “Dance with the one that brung ya” I say continue to dance, just change the steps. This guy has been breeding for decades. I’m sure the family is capable of changing, kind of the theme for the team anyway don’t you think..

TK

February 9th, 2011
11:06 am

Definitely ALL White but look for the healthiest Dog out there.. If that means a new owner so be it.. Sorry Sonny, but we need to think about our UGA first.

Wilbur

February 9th, 2011
11:07 am

Keep them all white but try a new line. I like the idea of the crowell dog

Dbalcer

February 9th, 2011
11:07 am

Lymphoma is not caused by breeding and can happen to any dog so while breeding may be an issue for the heart issue it has nothing to do with UgaVIII’s death to assert so is wrong. Breeders are a competitive group and I am not sure that the best source for your story is another breeder of the same line.

astrouga

February 9th, 2011
11:09 am

Let Seiler keep breeding, but remove his dogs from the bulldog family until he demonstrates that he has made an effort to breed some dogs that will live the average lifespan of a bulldog. Let’s go with the one Crowell used in the meantime– at least there is a story behind it and a local alum. In 5 years, let’s see what Seiler has done. After all, it is a priv to be the bulldog mascot owner, not a right!

Michael C

February 9th, 2011
11:10 am

I was very sad to hear about the untimely passing of UGA VIII. He seemed to be a great dog and I absolutely hate that he passed away so soon. That being said, it always bothered me that he wasn’t an pure white dog. He had quite a bit of brown around his ears and with their sweaters on I could hardly tell the difference between UGA VIII and Russ. So evidently the long traditions everyone is so concerned with (blood line, Pure White) aren’t indeed sacred. Just a thought…..
GO DAWGS

Fridawg

February 9th, 2011
11:13 am

We need to keep an all white Uga. There needs to be a link back to a former Uga, but we need some new blood. Seriously, the Vet school should be involved with this.

Cuz

February 9th, 2011
11:17 am

New blood at tail back, new blood at mascot.

JD

February 9th, 2011
11:19 am

I like your article this morning. RIP UGA VIII. I also think we need the “Dream Team” Dawg pups in the locker room to stake claim to this team and show the veteran players that they can help lead this team out of the SEC and BCS doghouse. Some of these guys have to be ready to play this season.

JaxDawg05

February 9th, 2011
11:19 am

New bloodlines and not feeding UGA leftovers from Paula Deen’s restaurant would improve the life expectancy dramatically.

Robbie Murray

February 9th, 2011
11:20 am

New blood needed badly.

bitter "rouge bammer" fan

February 9th, 2011
11:22 am

my hole fam-a-ly is-a in-bred, belive we-a can help with- a breding that there a dog fellow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!,hahahahahah roll tide

John Hendrix

February 9th, 2011
11:24 am

My first dog that my family had that I remember growing up was a brindle bulldog named Pride. This was short for “UGA’s Pride” as he was the son of the 1st UGA. He lived to be 9 years old and was a damn good dog. I want to see the Seiler Family continue being the owners of are famous mascot but would like to see them introduce and mix some new blood into the line. The Seilers have done so much for our Univeristy and the UGA line and I think it’s disgraceful to even suggest we change.

Crushmore

February 9th, 2011
11:26 am

How about starting a new era of UGAs….an all BLACK BULLDOG! I guess “black is beautiful” for the players – as long as they are winning- but not for the mascot for the good ole Bulldog Nation.

Go Dawgs!!

chazzo

February 9th, 2011
11:30 am

In general, the English Bulldog has become a genetic aberation, unable to physically breed or give natural birth. There are breeders who are breeding down some of the deformities. I say mix in a little American Bulldog. Do you want a junkyard dawg or an efette royal as your mascot? I know Uga’s are special, but maintaining the original bloodline is a little silly. I’d rather have a healty dog.

Paul H

February 9th, 2011
11:30 am

I second PDX.

Dawg_Mike

February 9th, 2011
11:31 am

@ Cuz- correctamundo sir.

WOODY

February 9th, 2011
11:35 am

I am all for an Uga to be spotted. I think that would give even more distinction to the different dogs and it would rely less on inbreeding for the “perfect” dog.

He needs to begin to take steps toward the system set up by Guide Dog organizations. They keep strict tabs on their dogs in order to prevent crossing of close bloodlines. I think in-breeding is almost criminal in the cruelty it can cause the animals.

Snake Doc

February 9th, 2011
11:35 am

Its time to care more about the health of the animal then the lineage. I will always love all the UGA’s and I appreciate everything they have meant to UGA, and us the fans.

Still, in life change must come and if Seiler isn’t willing to change for himself, maybe, just maybe he will change for UGA and the fans. Wouldn’t hold my breath though!

RAID

February 9th, 2011
11:37 am

Having owned 2 English Bulldogs I do know they are all prone to certain problems no matters who is doing the breeding…..See how wrinkled there skin is? Now picture their breathing passages being just as wrinked on the inside…..When exposed to heat there windpipes swell making it difficult to breath causing heart attacks, strokes etc…….Lymphoma has nothing to do with breeding….I don’t think changing breeding really changes anything……Their actuall average life span is closer to 7 yrs…….But gotta stick w/ solid white

RAID

February 9th, 2011
11:38 am

I know, spellcheck!…

JT

February 9th, 2011
11:40 am

How about several all-white bulldogs, maybe three, that all have individual names but go by “Uga” when serving in an official capacity (rotating basis). I think most fans probably don’t care if it’s one of Seiler’s dogs out there, or not. Certainly kids don’t.

10 to 6

February 9th, 2011
11:41 am

Georgia needs new blood in its entire athletic dept as well. Losing to mickey mouse schools and having losing records in the SEC is getting very old.

Memphis Mike

February 9th, 2011
11:44 am

Why not just use the guy in the bulldog suit and spare the embarrassment? I’d think it’s an unhealthy thing to take a dog, throw a red sweater on him, then put him at the epicenter of 100,000 screaming fans. Seems to me to be something PETA could run with….

Tide roll

February 9th, 2011
11:46 am

Zero tolerance to heat! What the hell is he doing out there anyway?

bwell

February 9th, 2011
11:47 am

I’m not a dog breeder nor do I know much about breeding. The bottom line is something is going wrong in the bloodline and it needs to be fixed, also I think Mr. Sonny will be open to new ideas on breeding his pups. If this keeps up loosing Uga’s UGA will be a laughing stock, so some changes need to happen before Sep 3.

Red-N-Black

February 9th, 2011
11:49 am

Averyboy

February 9th, 2011
11:03 am
Inbreeding at Thuga….imagine that!!!

Must hit to close to home for your sister/brother mother/father huh?

1eyedJack

February 9th, 2011
11:52 am

I would like to see a 1-eyed dog with a ring around his good eye ala Petey on the Little Rascals.

Washaun Ealey

February 9th, 2011
11:53 am

Since I’m in the dawghouse more often than UGA I’ll take the job. Different breeding, different color. Sumpm to think about

JaxDawg

February 9th, 2011
11:53 am

No matter what is decided, I think Russ should be made into an official UGA and stay on.

D A DoubleU G

February 9th, 2011
11:54 am

New Breeder.

Keep the requirement of the all white. It doesn’t take unusual inbreeding to achieve this.

Also, I love all the armchair dog breeders on here acting like they know what the hell they are talking about.

Go Dawgs!!!

AltamahaDawg

February 9th, 2011
11:57 am

Bill, the problem with all this amateur speculation is this: Lymphoma is NOT a breeding issue. It kills 1 out of 8 dogs from various breeds. If they all had heart attacks, them maybe you could ask what’s up with that “trait”.

Very Recent Uga’s have served for 8-10 yrs, so it’s not the line has let them down. I-VI was fine, now all of a sudden the line is tainted?

The breed has it’s issues, more so than some others, but not a lot of chance we are going to change the mascot is there.

The untimely death of a single Uga (VII) put into motion a bad chain of events. Under normal situations, Bruce wouldn’t have never factored in. His Lymphoma woud have just been the misfortune of some family somewhere. (sonny didn’t breed or raise him). Normally, Uga VIII would have been selected after that kind of stuff shows up. As I recall he really doesn’t like to introduce very young dogs, and has several working at various ages.
Maybe there is some lesson to be learned there.

Plus this “line”. Does anybody really think that Sonny has every Uga brother and mother in his backyard? EVERY Uga had fresh blood introduced several times in between. You’ve got different Sires and Dames involved. I doubt very seriously if the connection between V and VIII was much more than a symbolic tracing of bloodline on paper.

I also think that one of the largest Vet school in the region has a pretty good handle on breeding genetics.

Alabama Jack

February 9th, 2011
11:57 am

To paraphrase from King Kong, “It was embarrassment that killed the beast.”

1eyedJack

February 9th, 2011
12:04 pm

Alabama Jack, if that’s true your Mammy would of died during your birth.

Michael

February 9th, 2011
12:09 pm

Where has Russ The Temporary Mascot been since he reinherited the position ?

Nick Saban plays pocket pool

February 9th, 2011
12:12 pm

Inbreeding jokes aside, JD’s assessment seems very reasonable. Hopefully, someone close to Sonny Seiler is just as pragmatic and reasonable.

TallaDawg

February 9th, 2011
12:14 pm

Give Mr. Seiler a chance to suggest what change can be made for the good of the line. Can we ask 18-year old kids to focus on the TEAM, if a mature alumni does not lead by example?

buffdawg

February 9th, 2011
12:14 pm

I say give Munson Woods a shot we haven’t done much since the other Munson retired

WreckBuzz

February 9th, 2011
12:16 pm

Seriously?!?!? Are you guys really having this conversation about dog breeding? It’s a mascot dog. It has zero bearing on winning or losing.

Lindsey

February 9th, 2011
12:18 pm

I think it should be left up to the Seiler Family what to do. They have been handling Uga for years now and have done a wonderful job. My heart breaks for them (and other Uga fans) losing a pet so young, especially since it was so close to the other one passing away. Best of luck to all the Dawgs in 2011, 2 legged and 4, GO DAWGS!!!

WreckBuzz

February 9th, 2011
12:19 pm

Oh heavens to bitsy, where will you ever find a dog to hold down an icebag and pant incessantly?

I think Mark Richt should use a scholarship on a new mascot. Hey he threw one away to some friend of Isaiah Crowell, why not use one on a dog that won’t die after 6 games?

metalarm

February 9th, 2011
12:20 pm

As a breeder of Poodles for many years and have my dogs in the Atlanta area. You have to make changes in your line and if you have a male or female that has a problem, you stop using that dog for breeding. It sounds like the present supplier to UGA has an ego problem with his dogs. UGA needs to look at a different solution for there dog.

UGA Alumnus

February 9th, 2011
12:21 pm

I do like Russ. He’s a damn good dawg. But the all white is nice. We don’t wanna start looking like Mississippi State.

Bruce was a beautiful dog.

RIP Uga VIII