Butler Blue

Butler Blue is the English Bulldog mascot that serves as the official live mascot of Butler University. There have been three bulldogs to bear the name.

Butler Blue
Butler Blue II relaxes with his signature oversize rawhide bone in 2008
UniversityButler University
ConferenceBig East
DescriptionEnglish Bulldog
Origin of nameStudent contest


Butler Blue III (born December 23, 2011), also called Trip, has served since May 2013. He weighs 62 pounds and is distinguished by his red brindle and white markings passed on by his parents, Sire, Ch. Exact Classic Comet, and Dam, Kongs Sarah.

Butler Blue II

Butler Blue II (March 27, 2004 – August 31, 2013) (often called simply Blue II or Blue) served from 2004 to 2013. He was known by the tagline "Butler's Mascot, America's Dog."[1] He rose to national prominence when the Butler Bulldogs men's basketball team made unexpected runs to the 2010 and 2011 Final Fours. Blue II was retired on May 20, 2013 and replaced by Butler Blue III.[2]

Personal life

Blue II was born on March 27, 2004 to sire CH Sandy Ridge Too Right Mate and dam Kongs Margie M. Blue II is the second in a lineage of English Bulldogs bred by Frank and Jeane King of Kong King Kennels in Lizton, Indiana to serve as the mascot of Butler. He is the nephew of Butler Blue I, the university's first official live mascot who served from 2000 to 2004.[1]

Blue II's favorite treats included "Holistic Select snacks, ice cream and cheese." He enjoyed chew toys made of soft latex, with basketballs and footballs being among his favorites. He enjoyed outdoor activities and disliked thunderstorms and fax machines.[1]

Blue II weighed 63 lb (29 kg) and featured a fawn and white fur coat.[1] He was owned and cared for by Butler employee Michael Kaltenmark and his wife Tiffany.[1]


Blue II made his mascot debut on May 20, 2004. Throughout his career, Blue II attended most Butler Bulldogs home basketball and football games, as well as numerous other university events.[1] Before each home basketball game, Blue II sat at mid-court and waited as each starter pat him on the head for good luck. He then ran to the student section of the arena and grabbed an oversized rawhide bone.[3] On campus, regular students also patted Blue II on the head whenever they could, believing he would help them get good grades.[3]

Blue's tricks include pouting, giving a "high five", playing dead, rolling over, speaking, and skateboarding.[1] Kaltenmark regularly posted in Blue's name to social media. In 2012, he was nominated for a Shorty Award for his Twitter activity, totaling more than 17,000 tweets. In 2011, Klout named his Twitter feed one of the top 10 feeds representing a college or university.[2][4] According to ESPN's Eamonn Brennan, Blue II "fostered an online persona second to none in college sports", using Twitter better than most coaches.[5]

Media attention

During the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament opening rounds, Butler requested to have Blue II attended the games. NCAA rules prohibit live animals during tournament games, and so Blue II was not allowed to attend. However, when Butler made an unexpected run to the Final Four, Blue II was granted a special exemption and allowed to attend the festivities in Indianapolis.[6] He quickly drew national media attention, appearing on national TV morning shows and newspapers across the country.[7] An Associated Press story said "Forget Coach K, Magic or Sparty. The guy everyone wanted to see before Saturday's Final Four had four legs and fur."[8] Yahoo! Sports named Butler Blue II as the best mascot of the tournament, saying he "couldn’t have been a bigger hit."[9] "It used to be ... we could just slip in and out of places ... [Now] we usually get mobbed," remarked Kaltenmark.[7] Next to then head coach Brad Stevens, Blue II had become the "undisputed star" of Butler basketball, according to Eamonn Brennan.[5]

After the season ended, Blue II's new-found fame continued, with appearances requested all around Central Indiana.[10] He made an appearance at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during Indianapolis 500 practice by special request of driver James Hinchcliffe and was called "one of the biggest celebrities in Indianapolis" by one source.[10]

Interest in Blue II was renewed when Butler returned to the tournament in 2011. NCAA regulations again sidelined Blue, leading to a "Free Butler Blue" Twitter campaign.[6] Despite being left home, Blue II garnered plenty of media attention. "We wanted to be ... with the team,” remarked Kaltenmark. "But at the same time, we were getting a ton more exposure staying home ... [Stevens] doesn’t want the spotlight – he’d rather it be on Blue. So if we can serve that role and be a distraction for everyone else, all the better."[6]

When the team made another surprise run to the Final Four in Houston, Blue II again got another exemption.[6] To get to Houston, Blue II had to board a plane for only the second time in his life. Southwest Airlines allowed Blue II to join Kaltenmark in the main cabin of the plane, rather than relegating him to the cargo hold.[3]

Once in Houston, Blue II's media attention reached new heights. Reporters crowded around Blue II and posed for pictures with him.[5] He was profiled by ESPN, who called him "the star of the Butler Bulldogs,"[11] The Washington Post, who said he had "taken Houston by storm,"[3] and many others. The Star-Ledger called him a "four legged rock star."[6] He appeared on CBS's The Early Show and the pre-game shows before Butler's games.[3] The InterContinental hotel he stayed at even named a martini after Blue, with the proceeds going to charity.[3]

During the 2012–13 season, a road tour was organized to introduce Blue II to the Atlantic 10 Conference. The tour drew local media attention throughout, and attracted national recognition when Blue II and Blue III had a "summit" with Georgetown's live bulldog mascots, Jack and Jack Jr.[12] The tour allowed Blue II to take part in the pre-game ceremonies of several away games in addition to his normal appearances at all home games.[12]

Butler has created a Blue II merchandise line which is sold on campus and online. A Fathead graphic has also been created.[13]


On January 24, 2013 it was announced that Blue II would retire at the end of the season.[14] A "Changing of the Collar" ceremony took place prior to Butler's last home game of the 2012–13 season, against Xavier on March 9. His official retirement was on May 20, 2013. At that time, Blue III assumed the role of the new official mascot of Butler University.[2] If Butler had made the Final Four, Blue II would have attended the event, but the Bulldogs lost in the third round of the NCAA tournament to Marquette.[14]

Blue II had participated in training his successor since 2012. Kaltenmark, who also owns Blue III, had previously stated that Blue II had "several good years left" and no plans to retire.[15]

Health problems and death

In June 2013, Blue II was diagnosed with Cushing's disease, an auto-immune disease that causes skin problems.[16] In late July, he was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart disease unrelated to Cushing's. The condition is non-reversible and affected both sides of his heart. Blue II was given medication to manage his symptoms. He was given just weeks to live and was not expected to make any further public appearances.[17] Blue II died of congestive heart failure on August 31, 2013. He was 9 years old.[2]

Butler Blue I

The first Butler Blue (September 23, 2000 – May 30, 2014) was a female English bulldog, unlike her successors. She served from 2000 to 2004 and had white fur.[18] Butler staff member Kelli Walker selected the all-white female from the Kings’ litter and agreed to care for the dog on behalf of the University. The name "Butler Blue" was selected in a University-wide naming contest, and Blue made her debut as Butler’s official mascot at a men’s basketball game in February 2000 to a standing ovation in historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.

She served until Walker moved from Indianapolis in 2004, and lived the rest of her life with Walker. Blue I died in Chicago on May 30, 2014, and is buried alongside Blue II at a Bulldog Memorial on the Butler campus; the site was dedicated during Butler's homecoming weekend in September 2014.[18]


  1. "All About Blue II". Retrieved February 19, 2012.
  2. Allan, Marc; Courtney Tuell (September 3, 2013). "Butler University Live Bulldog Mascot Blue II Dies". Butler University. Archived from the original on September 6, 2013. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  3. Liz Clarke (March 4, 2011). "Blue II has taken Houston by storm". Washington Post. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
  4. "Butler Blue II was nominated for a Shorty Award!". Archived from the original on February 3, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
  5. Eamonn Brennan (August 2, 2013). "Butler Blue II going out like a champ". ESPN. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  6. Brendan Prunty (April 2, 2011). "Final Four: Butler mascot Blue II has become a star in his own right". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
  7. "Butler Campus, Downtown Abuzz Before Big Game". RTV6. April 5, 2010. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
  8. "Butler campus prepped for big party". Siffy News. Associated Press. April 4, 2010. Archived from the original on February 2, 2013. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
  9. "Highs and lows of 2010 NCAA tourney". Yahoo! Sports. April 6, 2010. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
  10. "Rain washes out practice for Indianapolis 500". IndyCar Media Relations. May 17, 2010. Archived from the original on March 5, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
  11. Sarah Spain (April 4, 2011). "Butler's big dog, Blue II". ESPN. Archived from the original on December 5, 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
  12. Nicole Auerbach. "Georgetown's mascot bulldogs meet Butler's bulldogs". USA Today. Detroit Free Press. Retrieved February 23, 2012.
  13. "Meet Blue II". Archived from the original on February 20, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
  14. Cathy Kightlinger (January 24, 2013). "Butler University mascot Blue II to retire". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  15. Scott Thien (February 16, 2012). "Next generation: Butler University announces Blue III, third in mascot line". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
  16. Michael Kaltenmark (August 1, 2013). "All Heart, Bulldog Tough". Butler University. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  17. Kightlinger, Cathy (August 2, 2013). "Sad news: Butler's Blue II has fatal heart ailment". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  18. Rudavsky, Shari (May 30, 2014). "Butler's original live mascot Blue I dies". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved May 30, 2014. (soft paywall)
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