Scout is my favorite dog that I am not personally responsible for. And some days, he sneaks into third place.
He is at least Newfoundland and Labrador, which makes Scout’s mix, as far as I know, the only one possible with separate breeds named after the same national province.
Labradors are actually descended in part from Newfoundlands and quickly surpassed them as a favorite pet.
Labs have been the most popular dog in America for two decades straight, according to the American Kennel Club, while Newfies hover in the forties and fifties. Though less prevalent than their progeny, Newfoundlands are prominent in history and literature.
Meriwether Lewis’ unfortunately named Newfoundland, Seaman, was a key member of the Corps of Discovery’s expedition, and Nana is a likewise important figure in Peter Pan (she was inspired by J.M. Barrie’s own Newfoundland). Lord Byron prized his Newfoundland, who was famously eulogized in Epitaph to a Dog.
Newfoundlands are also noteworthy for their rescue abilities.
In Walden, Thoreau wrote, “A man is not a good man to me because he will feed me if I should be starving, or warm me if I should be freezing, or pull me out of a ditch if I should ever fall into one. I can find you a Newfoundland dog that will do as much.”
And the forgotten humorist Josh Billings quipped, “Newfoundland dogs are good to save children from drowning, but you must have a pond of water handy and a child, or else there will be no profit in boarding a Newfoundland.”
As for Scout, whose human companion is my friend Jon, he has the best traits of his breeds and is a true dog’s dog, and I would board him anytime. Except after he’s rolled in elk poop (the photographic evidence of which has been withheld so as not to mar public perception should Scout choose to pursue a career in politics; although he would be far from the first politician covered in shit).