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"The dog was of the newfoundland breed one that ns prised much for his docility and also qualifications usually for mine journey."

—Meriwether Lewis, 6 November 1803


Michael Haynes


© Michael Haynes, Supplied with permission.

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Knight, the Newfie


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Courtesy the Danette Paige and Knight, Missoula, Montana.

Barking—"giving tongue"—just for the noise of it did not come naturally to the breed. "The Newfoundland Dog in his aboriginal country, rarely barks," wrote Thomas Doughty (1793-1856) in his Cabinet of natural History, "and that, only when much provoked."1 "His utterance," the author continued, "appears one unnatural exertion, developing a noise in between a bark and also a growl." that may have been true that the Newfoundlands within Doughty"s acquaintance, however it doesn"t sound that way today, comes from a descendant plenty of dog-generations far-off from the beforehand 19th century. Nevertheless, it is quiet very complicated to furious a Newfoundland into barking for no evident reason.

Knight, only 5 months old once this photograph was taken, would sound a full-throated woof once the doorbell rang, or when someone unfamiliar gotten in his environment, however his grasp was current here today, therefore he was fully at ease and also making friends with the stranger.

We deserve to only surmise that Seaman"s "note" was similar to Knight"s, and also if so, the his gruff, resonant voice would have startled most Indians, and also their characteristically quiet dogs.

Newfoundland Dog

Canis familiaris, Var. Sensilis2


Ewell sale Stewart Library, The Academy of natural Sciences, Philadelphia

Hand-colored lithograph (1830) "From Nature and also on rock by T. Doughty" The room of Natural history and American Rural sporting activities (1830)

"Extremely docile and affectionate, this Dog might be teach to execute actions i m sorry appear practically incredible, and which, seeminglly, need no slight practice of the reasoning faculties. Same sagacious together persevering, he never relinquishes one undertaking as lengthy as there stays the most remote hope that success . . . . The an excellent pliability the his temper, peculiarly fits him for the usage of man, together he never shrinks from any type of task that might be assigned him, but he undertakes it v an ardour proportioned come the challenge of the execution."3

Those must have been the qualifications Lewis recognized and felt assured of as soon as he purchase Seaman.

Thomas Doughty (1793-1856) was a popular Philadelphia artist who landscapes were particularly popular, despite some critics dismissed him together "a leaf painter." The setting of Doughty"s conception of the Newfoundland is nearly identical through that that Philip Reinagle, however historians have recognized the as among the initiators that the American "Hudson river School" that artists. It was neither an school nor one organization yet a watch of nature common among a number of different artists, most notably thomas Cole (1801-1848) and also Asher B. Durand (1796-1886). Typically, they placed their subjects in imposing wild settings beside noble rivers. Your towering mountains were chiefly based on sketches made amongst the palisades ~ above the Hudson River, yet conceived in the rarified atmospheres of their particular imaginations in ~ the sanctuaries of their studios.

With the come of Clark and also his party at the "forks the Jefferson"s River" ~ above Saturday morning, 17 respectable 1805, and the erection the a shady canopy of sails supported by willow poles in ~ the site the party would call "Fortunate Camp," the stage was collection for the reunion the Sacagawea v her people, and the shared embraces of two cultures, old Shoshone and new American.

Following Lewis"s long harangue about the objectives of their visit, come which cook Cameahwait cheerily comment with guarantees of friendship and also cooperation, come the visitors" honorific gifts—peace medals, fine clothing, tobacco, and "some small articles" because that the chiefs—followed through presents because that others, a mixture of acquainted Indian favourite such as paint, moccasins, and beads, in addition to tokens of several of civilization"s benefits—awls, knives, and also mirrors. The whole affair came off as a rousing success. The Shoshones appeared duly impressed. "They had indeed numerous sources of surprise in every they saw," Lewis exulted. "The illustration of the men, your arms, their clothing, the canoes, the strange watch of the negro, and also the sagacity of ours dog, all consequently shared your admiration."4

The Shoshones, favor all other Indian people, had actually owned, bred, trained, used, and also loved dogs from the dimmest days of their very own origins. What was it, then, around "our dog" the thrilled lock so? certain it is that they recognized an ineffable high quality that Seaman seemed to possess, both in his attitudes and his actions. We don"t understand whether the Indians had actually a surname for the or not, yet Lewis called it sagacity.

Quick of scent or thought

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Noah Webster"s an interpretation of that word in his Compendious Dictionary5 tersely mentioned the two connotations it bore in Lewis and Clark"s day: "quick of scent or thought; acute." The expression "quick . . . Of thought" to be an allusion to the psychological processes of acute discernment, or to habits indicating a volume to relate means to ends, and also anticipate outcomes. Transparent the so late 18th and early 19th centuries, authors were quick to an alert those qualities in any kind of animal. Indeed, for part 200 years the sagacity the a wide selection of wild animals had to be studied in order to measure up their place in the great Chain of gift by identifying proof of seemingly rational—i.e., human–behavior.6 The habits and strategies that spiders and honey bees to be admired in the so late 18th century, for example.

William Clark, there is no bringing up the word, admired the intricate engineering of a beaver dam (2 august 1805): "the brush appear to be laid in no continuous order yet acquires a strength by the irregularity with which castle are placed by the beaver the it would puzzle the engenuity of man to offer them." Patrick Gass told of one unobserved yet evidently sagacious pack of wolves: "At 9 i went out with one of our men, who had killed a buffaloe and also left his hat to save off the vermin and also beasts of prey; however when we involved the place, we discovered the wolves had actually devoured the carcase and carried off the hat." What"s more, the body of a white wolf was found at the scene, probably the victim in a battle over salvage rights.7 However, words "sagacity" was normally reserved because that dogs, and also especially for Newfoundlands.

For some reason or other the indigenous sagacity must have been ~ above Lewis"s mind throughout the days the spent among the Shoshones, because that he invoked it three times within 2 weeks, and never prior to nor afterwards. On 11 respectable 1805, after having anxiously search the elusive Shoshones for much more than a month, he to be exasperated with Drouillard and Shields for not obeying his signals to was standing still, which destroyed his an initial opportunity to make call with a lone Shoshone horseman. The lone Indian had almost reached speaking street from Lewis, but he prospered suspicious when he saw Drouillard and Shields approaching, and sped away. Lewis accused his two companions of no "haveing segacity <sagacity> sufficient to recollect the impropriety that advancing when they witnessed me therefore in parley with the Indian."

Two weeks later, Charbonneau attracted Lewis"s wrath through failing come report part gossip he had heard: The Shoshones were reasoning of heading out automatically for the loss buffalo hunt and also leaving their American visitors in the lurch. "I was the end of patience v the folly the Charbono," Lewis grumbled sarcastically, "who had not adequate sagacity to view the consequencies which would inevitably flow from such a motion of the indians." In various other words, Drouillard, Shields, and poor old Toussaint consequently were each, at least in those crucial instances, dumber "n a dog! definitely dumber "n Seaman!

The essence of sagacity is concentrated in a well known epitaph top top the estate of the English poet lord Byron (1788–1824) at Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire, England:

Near this spot room deposited the remains of one who possessed Beauty without Vanity, strength without Insolence, Courage there is no Ferocity, and all the Virtues of man without his Vices.

This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery If enrolled over human being Ashes, Is but a simply tribute to the memory of BOATSWAIN, a DOG, who was born in Newfoundland may 1803 and also died at Newstead Nov. 18th, 1808.8

Seaman not only had smarts. He to be "quick of . . . Scent," too. In Taplin"s words, a Newfoundland dog had "an instantaneous feeling of brewing danger" that could take end when person watchmen were lulled right into apathy. Seaman was true to his breed. He was rapid to take action on 29 might 1805 once a bison rampaged with camp in the center of the night. Needing no orders indigenous his master, that fearlessly flew in ~ the brute and also turned it away from the heads of the guys who were sleeping close to the campfire. On another dark night the "barked an extremely much and also seemed extremly uneasy which was unusual through him," for this reason Lewis sent out three soldiers come reconnoiter the camp perimeter top top the chance that either hostile Indians or ferocious grizzlies to be lurking in the dark. That turned the end to be a false alarm—merely a solitary bison that had tried however failed come swim the river near camp and had been brushed up downriver by the current. Yet Seaman had done his job anyway.

Later, the Corps discovered the vicinity the the top portage camp, in ~ White bear Islands above the falls of the Missouri, to it is in infested v grizzlies. Seaman, Lewis reported, appeared to it is in "in a constant state of alarm through these bear and also keeps barking all night." One night (17 June 1805), despite Seaman"s alarums a "white bear" involved within 30 yards of your bivouac and ate "about thirty load of buffaloe sut which was hanging ~ above a pole." and also again, after ~ Reubin field wounded a moose one morning close to the Blackfoot flow (7 July 1806), Seaman, with the savvy that a veteran mountain man who would recognize that a moose can be together dangerous together a grizzly, was obviously "much worried."

Powerful Paws


Courtesy that Danette Paige and also Knight

Newfoundland dog (1789)


Wood engraving by thomas Bewick (1753-1828), native A General history of Quadrupeds (1800), BHLsiki (2010).

Thomas Bewick attracted this portrait of "a very fine" specimen that the Newfoundland breed at the village of Eslington, Northumberland, England, in 1789. That was especially large, being of the size characteristic of the varieties native to the Channel Islands, especially Newfoundland. He report its dimensions as follows:

From its sleep to the finish of that is tail, the measured 6 feet 2 inches; the size of its tail, one foot ten inches; native one fore foot appropriate over that is shoulders to the other, 5 feet seven inches; girt behind the shoulder, three feet 2 inches; ring its head over its ears, 2 feet; ring the upper component of its fore leg, ripe inches and a half. It to be web-footed (Fig. 6), can swim exceptionally fast, dive with good east, and bring up any thing indigenous the bottom of the water.

Those figures plainly substantiate Taplin"s description of the dog"s usage as a draft animal on Newfoundland Island. The was frequently observed, however, that the breed together it was well-known in England and America in ~ the rotate of the 19th century, was somewhat smaller sized than its north Atlantic forebears yet still displayed the essential attributes of that canine heritage.9

Lewis"s "very active strong and docile" canine companion likewise possessed another of the breed"s much-vaunted attributes, a "partiality because that water, in i beg your pardon he appears in his ideal element, diving and keeping beneath the surface ar for a significant time."10

On the work (5 July 1804) the expedition "came to for Dinner in ~ a Beever house," Seaman, reportedly unbidden, "went in & drove castle out." the may have actually been the dog"s an extremely presence in the water the spooked the rodents, yet it might be he in reality dove under to among the submerged entrances and also stuck his head in come browbeat them into flight.

Seaman surely deserve his save with his affinity because that water. The swam into swarms of moving gray squirrels cross the Ohio river, picking turn off a couple of fat ones for his master"s dinner. He chased and caught a pregnant pronghorn doe in "a fair race." he caught one more "goat" swimming throughout the Missouri, "drowned it and brought that on shore." he retrieved injured deer on number of occasions. Waterfowl were irresistible challenges: "My dog caught several today, as he generally dose," Lewis remarked offhandedly. On one more occasion Seaman"s eagerness practically caused him to bleed to death when a wounded beaver bit him on a leg and punctured the artery.

The downside of the Newfoundland"s major talent is a tendency to be undiscriminating about which rescues are desirable. The artist Landseer depicted that v his funny "Friends" (1824), in i m sorry a dripping-wet all-black Newfie proffers his frowning mistress a child"s toy sailboat he has actually just fetched native a nearby pond.

Seaman"s sagacity licensed has been granted him to human sympathies indigenous time come time. He experienced as lot as the rest of the party indigenous the onslaughts that mosquitoes—"my dog also howls through the torture he experience from them" (15 July 1805). Throughout the great Plains, the common needle-and-thread grass (Stipa comata), through its sharp, barbed awn that attached itself to bad Seaman"s dense coat, was particularly noxious. "My bad dog suffers v them excessively," wrote Lewis. "He is continually and also scratching himself together if in a rack that pain." (26 July 1805) The opening August warm on the southern Dakota prairie compelled both Seaman and York come retreat come a adjacent stream for relief.

Today the Newfoundland"s life expectations is only around 10 years; 200 years earlier it may have actually been even shorter. Its main vulnerability at the time, follow to modern authorities, was a susceptability come rabies. "Unfortunately," created Doughty, "this sagacious and faithful pet is responsible to disease, which is communicable to nearly all animals that he may bite whilst labouring under it; the human types appears to be peculiarly liable, under such circumstances, to it is in inoculated through this horrible, and, alas! practically incurable malady."11

Hugh Heney, the cordial trader from the north West firm who befriended Lewis and Clark at ft Mandan, dubbed to Lewis"s attention the narrow-leafed violet coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia DC var. Angustifolia), together an antidote because that rabies: Clark, top top 28 February 1805, taped the prescription for application: "the means of useing that is to scarify the part when bitten come chu or lb an customs or more if the root is Small, and applying it to the bitten component renewing it double a Day. The bitten human is not to chaw no one Swallow any type of of the Root because that it could have contrary effect." It additionally worked because that rattlesnake bites. The coneflower must have actually been crucial discovery, in watch of the are afraid of rabies top top the east Coast, because that under "Remarks" for 18 march 1805 Lewis "collected some herbs plats in order to send by the boat. Paticularly the root claimed to cure the bites that the mad dog and also rattlesnake." perhaps Heney"s gift was prompted by part discussion among the three guys that centered on the sagacious but vulnerable Seaman.

Perhaps an additional feature that impressed the Shoshones on that August job in 1805 was Seaman"s size, contrasted with many Indian dogs. Back Lewis had occasionally pointed out Indian dogs on the way up the Missouri, they must have been rather ordinary-looking, because that he took no pains come record any details. Later on he penned a concise description of the usual Indian dog west that the Rockies: it was, wrote Lewis:

unusually small, around the size of an ordinary cur; he is commonly parti-coloured, amongst which, the black, white, brown, and also brindle are the colours most predominant; the head is long, the nose pointed, the eye small, the ears erect and also pointed prefer that the the wolf; the hair is short and smooth, excepting ~ above the tail, where it is long and straight, like that the the simple cur-dog.12

The zoological background of Indian dogs was still a murky subject among naturalists in ~ the time, and also the study of it was thought about a matter of evident importance. Benjamin blacksmith Barton, in an write-up on "Native dogs of north America" concluded: "We space not yet all set to give specific genealogical background of the Indian Dog. We are compelled to mix conjecture with fact. The anatomical structure of the animal should it is in examined. Yet whatever may have actually been the origin of this each other of dogs, i am disposed to think, . . . The the savages uncovered it in the woods, and also that it has actually existed together a distinct species, or breed, because that a really long duration of time."13

Lewis left us no clues regarding Seaman"s physics features, but in the so late 1820s john Godman compared a usual Newfoundland with Lewis"s summary of the Indian dog. The Newfoundland dog, he concluded:

has a broader and much more expressive visage, and a blunter nose, . . . The orbits the his eye have much more prominent superciliary ridges, the ears space broad, soft and also pendulous, and also the entirety body is much more robust, and covered v long, soft and glossy hair. Top top the tail the hair is still much longer than ~ above the body and forms a handsome brush, which appears to greater benefit when the pet is in motion, as it is then carried slightly curbed upwards in ~ its extremity.14

From a human"s perspective, those "prominent superciliary ridges," or eyebrows, without doubt lent the dog"s countenance a more serious, intense—even thoughtful—expression 보다 that of much more ordinary dogs.

Thomas Doughty provided some typical measurements the a Newfoundland, and also indicated your significance:

A full sized Newfoundland Dog, from the sleep to the end of the tail, measures around six feet and also a half, the size of the tail being around two feet; from one fore foot come the various other over the shoulders, 3 feet four inches; round the head throughout the ears, 2 feet; round the upper part of the fore leg, ten inches; length of the head, fourteen inch . . . . This Dog is not amazing for symmetry of proportions, and his motions are heavy; consequently, he is not identified for speed.15 In the mid-18th-century mongrel denoted one of two people a mixed-breed dog of uncertain parentage or, much more specifically, the offspring the a wolf and a dog.

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However, the brothers traveler Edward Chappell, claimed that by 1818 "the . . . True each other has become scarce, and is hardly ever to be found, other than upon the coast of Labrador."16 "The generality that the Dogs known under the name of Newfoundland, both in England and this country, are only fifty percent bred." Lewis left united state no certain information indigenous which we can deduce Seaman"s size, yet he did remark (6 November 1803) that he had actually paid $20 because that him—half a month"s salary for an military captain—which argues that either Lewis knew dog well enough to it is in qualified to make an smart choice, or he obtained some great advice.