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Pelorus Jack, the mascot


A model of Pelorus Jack with his collars and leading reins 

Pelorus Jack of HMS New Zealand

Two bulldogs named Pelorus Jack served as mascots of HMS New Zealand, the battlecruiser that the New Zealand government paid to have built for the Royal Navy. The first dog was a gift to the ship from a New Zealander living in England, and the dog sailed on the vessel on its maiden voyage in 1913. He was named after the famous dolphin that accompanied ships travelling in the outer Marlborough Sounds between 1888 and 1912.

Pelorus Jack collar detail

The first Pelorus Jack met an unhappy end when he fell down the forward funnel (how he got up there is not known, but his demise was probably not accidental) and was 'Discharged Dead' from the Navy on 24 April 1916.

In his will he had requested that his successor be a 'bull pup of honest parentage, clean habits, and moral tendencies'. It was Jack's wish that 'no Dachshound or other dog of Teutonic extraction' be permitted on board HMS New Zealand (except as rations for his successor).

Pelorus Jack the Second was also a bulldog. He was on board the ship during the Battle of Jutland and was terrified of loud noises from that time on, bolting every time a gun was fired.

Pelorus Jack collar detail

He achieved the rank of leading sea dog before his final discharge in October 1919. He was brought to New Zealand on the final voyage of HMS New Zealand and presented to the City of Auckland together with his silver collar (a gift from the New Zealanders of Transvaal), another brass-studded collar and his leading reins. These are in the collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum and are currently displayed in the 'Scars on the heart' exhibition. Another collar, gifted by the Pretoria Public Works Department, is held by the Royal New Zealand Navy Museum, Devonport.

Pelorus Jack


Images copyright Auckland War Memorial Museum. Not to be reused without permission 

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Pelorus Jack, the mascot, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated