SmokeyXI stands next to a UT orange hat

11 Facts About Smokey XI

With the forthcoming retirement of Smokey X, Vols everywhere are about to gain a new best friend in Smokey XI. Here are 11 things you need to know about the new pup soon to take over the biggest job on Rocky Top.

Number 1

August 8, 2021

Number 2

Smokey XI will be following in the paw prints of his dad, Smokey X, who began his official UT duties in 2013.

SmokeyXI stands looking up
Orange number three

Smokey’s mom has the perfect name—Tennessee Sweet T.

Orange number four

Just like his dad, Smokey XI was born at Davis Branch Blueticks in Shelbyville, Tennessee.

Orange number five

Smokey XI lives with his dad and the Hudson family—Cindy, Sam, and Katherine—in Knoxville.

SmokeyXI sits looking to the left
Orange number six

Smokey XI was born into a litter of seven pups. Three of his siblings found homes with former Smokey handlers from agricultural fraternity Alpha Gamma Rho.

Orange number seven

What’s better than one puppy? You guessed it—two. Smokey XI, whose nickname at the Hudson house is Bernie, is besties with his brother Ernest. Their names harken back to Bernie and Ernie, the famous 1970s Vol basketball duo Bernard King and Ernest Grunfeld.

SmokeyXI stands looking right
SmokeyXI sits looking up
Orange number eight

The pup’s long ears helped him win the job of Smokey and the hearts of Vol fans everywhere when he debuted in a video from UT Athletics on Valentine’s Day. Watch the video at

Orange number nine

According to Cindy Hudson, Smokey XI likes to chew on his right ear.

Orange number ten

Clumsy and super-loving

Orange number eleven


Smokey spends his days in training at puppy school and lounging in the sunshine. And every evening he loves to snuggle and fall asleep in the recliner.

Smokey X, who turned 10 in February, will continue his duties this fall while his son is still in training. But Vols can expect to see Smokey XI, long ears and all, running through the T very soon.

Help support a Tennessee tradition. Donate to the Hudson Family Smokey Endowment to support our favorite hound!

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Susan Flanagan June 10, 2022 - 1:38 pm

Smoky 11 is SO adorable! Has there ever been a female Smoky? Also I’d love to see him chewing on his ear. Would be a fun post.

Ben Garrison November 14, 2022 - 12:46 pm

My concern would be personality differences. We don’t have to make him female just because we can. Let’s please not do that, don’t ruin everything men have.

Rusty November 16, 2022 - 10:59 pm

Exactly. We don’t have much left as it is.

Buckner Angie November 17, 2022 - 2:29 am

Thanks enjoyed that

Jim Reader November 17, 2022 - 3:12 pm

Give me a break. Now we are looking for Justice and equality among actual living animals used as mascots? This is absolutely exhausting.

Melissa November 17, 2022 - 7:36 pm

No, it sounded more like she was just curious. Why is everyone so easily offended?
Smokey XI is so cute!

charlotte mitchell June 17, 2022 - 5:54 pm

Smokey XI is adorable! I know he will make his dad proud! I will miss Smokey X when he does retire, because I’ve known him his entire career. I pray he gets to lay under the shade tree for many a moon🧡

Whitney Johns Martin June 23, 2022 - 8:05 pm

He’s fun to watch and will be a great ambassador. Smokey is still one of my fondest memories of campus life 45 years ago!

Mary November 18, 2022 - 10:33 pm

Loved Smokey X. And love Smokey XI, but do agree that girls would make a great mascot too! They are as smart,cute,and lovable!

Kim Lindsey July 20, 2023 - 12:07 am

I hope Smokey XI has an orange blankey to cover him when it’s cold, just like Smokey X. One of the cutest pictures i’ve ever seen was when he was wrapped in the blanket sitting on the sidelines. Can’t wait to see our new mascot run through the T

Connie Littlefield Lewis June 25, 2022 - 7:18 pm

Would love to see dad on the sidelines while son is on duty! And maybe a ‘family’ appearance for homecoming!

Travis j.may July 19, 2022 - 12:32 pm

My nephew, Willis Jepson was the handler a few years back.I was born in Oliver springs,Tn.

Donna Brower November 19, 2022 - 2:02 am

I grew up with Blueticks Long Island, NY, so ironic that my Daughter is a TN VOL🧡 Love the history of Smokey!

Payton Swinney June 25, 2023 - 10:58 pm

Smokey is just so cute 😍 I just want to hug him so much

Robin Easter September 3, 2023 - 3:58 pm

Will Smokey XI appear at the Tennessee vs Austin Peay game on September 9? I’m wondering why he hasn’t been mentioned since June. Is everything okay?

Heidi Roberts September 10, 2023 - 2:30 pm

I was wondering the same thing?

Heidi Roberts September 12, 2023 - 8:33 pm

Is everything with Smokey okay?

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