According to Hanford Dixon, then a cornerback with the Browns, Dixon himself gave his defensive teammates the name “Dawgs” to inspire them before the 1985 season. The Dawg Pound started during the 1985 Training Camp at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, Ohio. Dixon and fellow cornerback Frank Minnifield started the idea of the pound by using the dog-versus-cat relationship between the quarterback and the defense. “We had the idea of the quarterback being the cat, and the defensive line being the dog,” Dixon said. “Whenever the defense would get a regular sack or a coverage sack the defensive linemen and linebackers would bark.”

This attitude carried into the stands at the training camp, where fans started barking along with the players. Dixon and Minnifield then put up the first “Dawg Pound” banner in front of the bleachers before the first preseason game at old Cleveland Municipal Stadium.

The bleacher section had the cheapest seats in the stadium, and its fans were already known as the most vocal. They adopted their new identity whole-heartedly, wearing dog noses, dog masks, bone-shaped hats and other outlandish costumes. Hanford Dixon originally thought up the concept after hearing a fan, Sean T Leonard, barking at every home game in 1984.

Since the mid-1980’s the crowd at Browns games became known as “The Dawg Pound”. Fans would come to Browns games wearing dog masks, barking and occasionally throwing dog biscuits at opposing players.

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