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Floss, the New Zealand Army rugby mascot


The New Zealand Army rugby team is pictured at Codford Camp, near Bristol, in 1917. The team toured several English cities and apparently never lost a game. Their mascot, Floss, sits in front. 

According to a report in the RSA Review, November 1969:

[Floss] was a bitch fox terrier from Sir Walter Long's kennels, Towbridge. She was given to Driver Percy E. (Ike) Lowndes, who taught her many tricks, and took her round hospitals, camps and even the stage of the London Empire Theatre. Floss could skip up to 40 jumps on her hind legs over a turning skipping-rope, leap a specially-made hurdle 14 inches high and land on her hind legs. She could pray, go to bed, play a piano, count to five, sit at a table and give orders to the waiter, and take cover in an air raid.

Floss became the mascot of this [NZ Army] football team. It is the 'Z' of NZ that is visible on her jersey, not a '2'. She toured in her jersey for the Diggers. Floss raised hundreds of pounds for the disabled servicefolk.

Despite all her good deeds, the quarantine authorities would not let Floss into New Zealand, even though they received a petition signed by 1000 1 NZEF men. However, Ike Lowndes smuggled her back to Wellington, where after nine months' quarantine on Somes Island, she was released.

Floss performed for many charities around the North Island. She was a good ratcatcher, too. She'd have descendants around Gisborne, where Ike had a soldier's farm for a while.

Floss died at the age of 17 about 1935. She was stuffed and kept in a glass case by Mr Lowndes at Eastbourne. Then she was given to the Wellington R.S.A. and later the Auckland R.S.A. But neither Auckland R.S.A. nor Auckland museum know where Floss is today. Can any readers help find Floss?

Floss performing tricks

Floss performing tricks while her fans take photographs.

Floss and Percy with dead rats

Floss the ratcatcher with owner Percy Lowndes.


Images and information courtesy of Thelma Lowndes, daughter-in-law of Floss's owner Percy Lowndes

How to cite this page

Floss, the New Zealand Army rugby mascot, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated