Clarus the Dogcow is back (well, kinda) in macOS Ventura

Clarus the Dogcow is (kinda) in macOS Ventura. As noted by AppleInsider, you can press Command-Shift-P in certain applications to insert the Clarus icon.

Clarus, is a bitmapped image designed by Susan Kare for Apple for the demonstration of page layout in the classic Mac OS. Here’s the history of the “animal” from 512Pixels: During the design and development of the original Macintosh, Steve Jobs harped the importance of typefaces in the computer’s user interface. Jobs had audited a calligraphy course at Reed College — after dropping out, no less — and insisted that the Macintosh have multiple, proportionally-space fonts at launch.

To help create these typefaces, Jobs turned to Susan Kare, the graphic designer working on the Macintosh’s user interface elements. Kare created several fonts for the system, all given names for world-class cities.

…. One Kare font, however, was vasty different that the others: Cairo.

Cairo was the original dingbat font and would probably have been forgotten by history — like most of the other original Macintosh fonts — if it hadn’t been for two things: a game that used the font’s elements and the character in the z position. 

A small creature named “Clarus.”

In the days of the original Macintosh, Apple turned to making printers.

LaserWriter was the umbrella term used by Apple to label a line of over 30 printers and the supporting software in MacOS. Launched in 1985 and powered by PostScript and applications like PageMaker, the LaserWriter printers helped propel Apple to the forefront of the desktop publishing revolution.

Starting in the late 80s, millions of pages were designed on 512×342 1-bit monochrome screens. Starting in 1987, Apple started shipping external monitors alongside the Macintosh II.

In this world, Clarus enjoyed great prominence — being present on the page setup dialog box for many versions of the system’s printer software, reminding users which orientation their print job would be using.

…. Apple was still performing well at this point, with the dark days of the mid-90s still several years off, and the company had a sense of humor about itself.

Apple employee Mark “The Red” Harlan took to his Mac in the spring of 1989 to write Technote 31 in the now-defunct Developer Technical Support collection of documents. Harlan wanted to clarify the small animal found on the Page Setup dialog box. The title of his entry? Simply “The Dogcow.”

Harlan opened his document by explaining what a dogcow is:

“Dogcows, by their nature, are not all dog, nor are they all cow, but they are a special genetic hybrid. They are rarely seen in the wild. Since dogcows are two dimensional, they will stand facing a viewer “on edge” to avoid being seen.”

Scott “ZZ” Zimmerman is given credit for coining the term “dogcow,” and Harlan gave her a name — Clarus. The sound she makes is “Moof!”, a portmanteau of “moo” and “woof”.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.