Harley Owners Group Origins | HOG History

Harley Owners Group (HOG)

It is believed that the first use of the term "hog" in relation to Harley-Davidson traces its origins to the early 1920s. The official Harley-Davidson company racing team of that era was known as the "Wrecking Crew" because of their nearly total domination of the dirt track races they entered.

An additional non-racer who was a member of the team was a small pig. Whenever a Harley-Davidson team member won a race, he stopped to pick up the pig and took it with him for a victory lap. After a while, race fans and some in the media began to informally refer to the team as the "Harley Hogs." However, the "Wrecking Crew" moniker was the one that persevered over time.

As the "Harley Hogs" nickname faded, the word "hog" endured as the slang term among enthusiasts for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The 3rd Edition of the Dictionary of American Slang even contains an entry for "hog" as being a "1960s motorcycle or motorcyclist" with a following entry mentioning Harley-Davidson by name. The word then became more official when the world’s first factory-sponsored motorcycle club appeared. The choice must have been obvious: The Harley Owners Group, or H.O.G.

Photographs courtesy of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company Archives.