It almost has the ring of something that came full circle.
The second-to-last-time a purebred dog appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine was the August 10, 2015 issue; Mississippi State “Bulldogs” quarterback, Dak Prescott, held a Bulldog (not his own) because that was the year an AP Poll ranked the Bulldogs No. 1 and the Rebels No. 3, and Prescott was a favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. Prescott lost out to Alabama running back, Derrick Henry, and that Bulldog was the last of his breed (so far) to appear on an SI cover.
It was also a Bulldog that became the first non-sporting dog breed to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The dog was Ch. Kippax Fearnought who had won Best in Show at Westminster, the first Bulldog to win there since 1913 when Ch. Strathtay Prince became the first non-terrier to win Best in Show at Westminster, and the first English Bulldog to win the top prize.
Ch. Kippax Fearnought, call name “Jock,” was British born and brought to the U.S. in 1953 to his new owner, American Dr. John A. Saylor who passed away just this past April (2020). As an aside, Dr. Saylor was an interesting man and his obituary is worth the read. As for “Jock,” he also appeared in Esquire Magazine which described him as “built like a battleship.”
Five years after his big win, “Jock” was again in the spotlight as the grandfather of Handsome Dan X, known as one of Yale Universities finest mascots, and crucial to Yale’s 1960 9-0 record.
If you were wondering, the last dog to appear on a cover of SI was “Reese,” the Australian shepherd owned by Olympic gold medalist snowboarder, Chloe Kim.