UConn Nation got a doggone great surprise on Wednesday with the introduction of mascot-in-training Jonathan XV, a bundle of soft fur and happy puppy energy who’s learning the ropes from UConn’s resident good boy, Jonathan XIV.
With his ocean-blue eyes and facial markings that mirror the Husky logo, UConn’s 15th canine mascot arrived on campus earlier this month and has been happily settling in with his new de facto big brother.
On Wednesday, he made his public debut at the UConn Board of Trustees meeting with handlers from the co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega. He’ll soon be a fixture walking on campus with Jonathan XIV, and eventually attending University events as his training progresses and he is ready for the spotlight.
Jonathan XV was part of a six-puppy litter born in Atwood, Ontario, Canada on April 19, and was picked up by handlers on June 17 – which happens to be National Mascot Day -- and brought back to Connecticut.
Currently about the size of a well-fed house cat, Jonathan XV is a fast learner who’s been picking up behavioral queues from Jonathan XIV, though he’s chattier than his big brother. He’s also curious and very sociable, quickly warming up to people and generous with kisses.
Huskies named Jonathan have represented UConn dating back to 1935 in honor of Jonathan Trumbull, the last colonial governor and first state governor of Connecticut. Alpha Phi Omega has helped to care for the Jonathans since the 1970s, including this perky newcomer.
“When I saw him for the first time, he was so incredibly adorable that my eyes turned to hearts, so to speak,” says Jenna Epstein ’24 (CLAS), one of two co-chairs of the APO Husky Committee, which coordinates the dogs’ activities. “He’s such a smart boy. When you talk with him, you can see that the wheels are turning in his head and that he’s very intelligent.”
Epstein and fellow co-chair Laura Centanni ’25 (CAHNR) introduced Jonathan XV on Wednesday at the Board of Trustees meeting, and are building the same bond with him that they’ve long enjoyed with Jonathan XIV.
“Seeing them together is so cute because they look so much alike,” Centanni says. “Jonathan XV really looks up to his older brother, and really seems to watch and learn from him.”
Though he came to UConn at a modest 10 lbs., the puppy’s lineage suggests he’s likely to grow to about 55 to 60 lbs. That’s about the size of the all-white Jonathan XIII who’d preceded the current Jonathan XIV, who weighs in at 77 lbs.
Speaking of Jonathan XIV, no need to fret: He isn’t going anywhere.
As he approaches his 10th birthday in October, he’ll be easing into a mascot emeritus role and continue making appearances with his successor, just as Jonathan XIII did when XIV was introduced as a puppy in early 2014.
Jonathan XIV underwent surgery in January to remove his spleen and a non-cancerous mass that had grown on it, but fully recovered in time to join the UConn Men’s Basketball team in March in Houston, where they won the NCAA Championship.
Like Jonathan XIV, the new puppy is a purebred Siberian Husky, a breed known for its energy and friendly, gentle demeanor. They are most happy when on the move, so Jonathan XV’s sprightly spirit is expected to continue long after he moves past puppyhood.