Clarus, the Dogcow : Moof Museum

A museum dedicated to Clarus, the Dogcow (Apple Developer Technical Support mascot, she can flip, she can do precise alignment, she moof!)

Myths, legends and reality: the complete story of Clarus, the Dogcow

You all know "Clarus the Dogcow"!


"Paget setup" dialog in MacOS 8

Clarus was the mascot of Apple developers from 1985 to 2000. Apple abandon her when MacOS X came to life...

Clarus most notable appearrance :

Essential facts, you should know

Species : Dogcow
Name : Clarus
Sex : Female
Call : Moof!
Environment : 2D pixelated worlds, every MacOS until MacOS 9.
Capabilities : Invert, Flip, Precise Alignment

Origins (1984)


Susan Kare's original Clarus in Cairo font
a that moment it's just a dog

She first appears in 1984, in the design of Susan Kare's Cairo font for the first Macintosh.
Susan Kare has join Apple after her friend Andy Hertzfed called her in 1982, Macintosh team need a designer, she became "Macintosh Artist" and design user interface, icons and fonts.

At that time, she had not been named Clarus nor was she recognised as a Dogcow, shes was just a dingbats.

The Cairo font included a little dog (z glyph) with a brilliant future ahead of it... Cairo font was the first "dingbats" font in computer history, a font that do not represents any letter but just graphics.

Cairo font have been distributed with every Mac until System 7.1.

Susan Kare also created many other legendary images for Mac System : the MacPaint icon, some well known Finder icons such as the wastebasket, the default folder and the "Happy Mac", and all the original Macintosh fonts (Chicago, New York, Cairo, Los Angeles and San Francisco).
More about Susan Kare and the Cairo font in MacOS can be at Folklore a site dedicated to Mac inside creation history :

Clarus go printing (1986)



Clarus capabilities in printer page set-up dialog
flips, invert, precision alignment and color

Later the Printing Developer Team at Apple (with Scott Zimmerman) was looking for an image to show, in a very simple way, the different printing options. Someone suggested the small dog (z) from Susan's Cairo font.

The team adopted her and used her to graphically show the printing options (Portrait/Landscape, Invert, Flip Horizontal, Flip Vertical and Precision Alignment) in LaserWriter 4.0. Since then, she's been used in all of Apple's printing software... until MacOS X.

At that time (1986), Susan Kare no longer works at Apple (she has follow Steve Jobs at Next), so the icon was redesigned by Printing team . It was enlarged to fit the space left and assumed her standard look. In fact two design were made, one standard and a smaller one for "precise alignment" option.

Then she start it's sucessfull story...

To see those representation, browse "Apple : Historical pictures" collection.

Dogcow becomes a star (1987-1988)


Clarus doing "Precison Alignment"

On October 15th 1987, the animal's species was first identified as a Dogcow, and she first cried "Moof!" to the world under the direction of Mark Harlan and Scott Zimmerman. At that time the Apple team has appropriated her image for their internal mail.

Others claim that the word "Dogcow" was first uttered by Ginger Jernigan during an internal meeting at Apple.

Whatever the case may be, the Dogcow made her first public appearance during the 1988 WWDC (WorldWide Developer Conference) on badges worn at the "Debugging Labs" sessions. CEO John Sculley also wore this badge during his keynote speech.

The DTS team made several different "Moof!" badges, stickers, bags and mouse pads. All these articles were made in small numbers and not distributed outside Apple.

To see those items, browse "Apple : Official objects" collection.

Clarus : The legendary TechNote #31 (1989)

In April 1989 Mark Harlan, with the help of Mark Johnson, wrote TechNote #31 as an April Fools' Day joke for Apple's developer community. It "clarified" certain matters regarding the Dogcow. Mark also revealed her real name: Clarus (a private joke about an internal Apple project named Claris that was terribly late at that time). It was the most detailed document about Clarus at that time and an official one.

By now, Clarus was known outside of Apple labs and it seems that even Microsoft used her in an advertisement! Later Microsoft also used her in PowerPoint.

The TechNote #31, distributed to developers in the monthly bulletin, turned the Dogcow into a real celebrity. Later it was included on the developer CD "Dave and Phil's Excellent CD". Since then, TechNote 31 has been excised and replaced with a more mundane one on "GestaltWaitNextEvent" fonction.

An incomprehensible phrase can be found as a sub-heading in the original note: "Aanal, Enacku Naiimadu, Kaanali!". Many people have tried to decipher this, but without success. Several years later, Mark Harlan solved the mystery (develop magazine), when he explained it was simply a phonetic transciption of the phrase "But I can't see the Dogcow !" in the Tamil dialect, which Sriram Subramanian had said to Mark over the phone. And, as the note goes on to explain ; Arabic systems don't include Clarus in their printer drivers - they get a horse instead! (we have not found any picture).

From this time, Clarus also began to be used as the icon for sample applications on Developer CDs (redesigned to fit 32x32 pixels). Later, Clarus became a spinning cursor in the DiskCopy 6 application. She was also the involuntary heroine of Timothy Carroll's MoofWars - a demonstration program showing how to use the DrawSprockets library. Clarus still appears regularly in TechNotes.

Discover all its appearance in Apple labs, browse "Apple : Pictures" and "Apple : Software" collections.

Clarus and QuickTime (1991)

In 1991, Apple Labs works hard on a big project : QuickTime (bringing multimedia to Macintosh).
The team has hardwork and re-appropriate Clarus mascot that will feature in many of their first demo movies.

Discover all its appearance in QuickTime labs, browse "Apple : Multimedia" collection.


in Apple Icon Garden , with friends

Clarus enter reality (1993)

In 1993, Apple and Cupertino township installed 2D sculptures, representing celebrated icons from original MacOS, in the garden of the new Apple Campus (Cupertino CA). The original Dogcow from Cairo font designed by Susan Kare was here... And many took picture of them with the Dogcow.

For more details about the garden, browse "Apple Campus Icon Garden" special page.

Clarus disappear ? (1998-2004)

1998, Apple began a new age and slowly Clarus disappear...

The sculptures were removed from the garden in 1998, officially to be restored. They never reappear.
But rumours abound and some suggest the "old iconography" is not in accordance with the new "Think Different" mood.

Clarus could also be found on Apple's web site, on the index page for Developers' TechNotes, but unfortunally she was removed in July 1999.

In 1999, Apple kept only the official Clarus web page : "Nest of the Dogcattle" (a page maintain by Brian Bechtel that keep original Clarus material created in Apple). It includes the original TechNote #31, the story of the Dogcow by Mark Harlan and useful links.

In 2000, Apple released it's next generation OS : MacOS X. But Clarus has disappeared from the print set-up dialog ! She has been replaced by a boring grey silhouet.

In 2004, Apple redesign (again) the developer section of www.apple.com. "A Nest of Dogcattle" disappear somewhere in february. The last know URL doesn't exist anymore and Apple search engine give very few entry for Clarus, Dogcow or Moof!...

Apple also removed Original TechNotes and Develop articles.

What happened to Clarus ?

It's a mystery, it looks like Apple abandon slowly Clarus starting from 1998.
This time was also the start for a new period for Apple, Steve Jobs was back and the Mac start it's adult life. Is Steve Jobs jealous from its notoriety ?

Their was also a buzz around the Microsoft deal, at that time - Bill Gates invest $100 millions in Apple Inc. Some suggest a secret deal with Bill Gates bought Clarus from Apple for it's personnal museum.

Do Clarus escape from Apple Labs ? Or does she mutate into something else ? No One knows.

The reasonnable option, was that Apple adult age begun and old things where negligate and removed : new icon, new OS... no more mascot...

But Clarus has not left developer imaginary and still lurk around into the internet.

We've aggegate hundreds of fans representation of Clarus on internet : browse our collections

Is Clarus alone in the universe ?

In TechNote #31, Mark Harlan talks about another Dogcow : Moofo (the psychotic dogcow) and Lackey. No one has ever seen them.

TechNote #256 talks about the evil twin brother "Oscar", but no picture exist of another Dogcow.

The question of other Dogcow has been long debate inside Apple DTS team.

Also remember that due to it's 2D nature, a Dogcow is very hard to be seen in our 3D world; if she stand on edge to the viewer, she's invisible !

In Apple developer lab, she appears as icons, as pictures, as cursors, but also on badges, stickers, t-shirt... She was present during QuickTime and QuickTime VR beggining. She also appears in Apple Campus Garden as a sculpture.

Clarus also has some kind of clones who escaped from Apple labs and that can be found in html pages all around the web.

There are still a number of mysteries surrounding this amazing animal...

A brief timeline:

1984
Susan Kare designs the z letter for Cairo font, a little dog at that time.
1987
The printing development team at Apple uses this icon in LaserWriter 4 driver, she flip and do "precision alignment" according to user print settings
Scott Zimmerman refers to it as a Dogcow.
1988
Clarus is the WWDC mascot.
John Sculley (CEO) wore her as a badge buring it's keynote speech.
She became famous.
1989
Mark Harlan writes TechNote 31 and calls the Dogcow "Clarus".
1991
First appearance in QuickTime by Guillermo Ortiz and Scott Zimmerman
1992
Cairo font last last distributed with System 7.1, Original representation disappear.
1993
A sculpture of Clarus appears in Apple's garden in Cupertino CA.
1994
Mark Harlan writes 2 articles in develop magazine about Clarus and its origins : History of the Dogcow. There is lot more details than in original TechNote 31.
 
1994
First QuickTime VR appearance by George Warner and Joe Cannon
 
1998
Clarus disappears from Apple's garden.
The first Clarus Museum opens.
 
2000
Clarus disappears from "Page Setpup" dialog box in MacOS X, but she's still in MacOS 9.2.2.
2003
"Nest of the Dogcattle" section on Apple web site was closed.
2007
MacOS X 10.5 do not support Classic environnement any more.
Clarus finally disappears from MacOS.

Clarus related Apple's documents

Documents presents below are "copy" of the originals. The originals can't be found anymore at Apple Computer Inc web site.

Until 2003 a page (maintained by Brian Bechtel) host all official documents related to Clarus, but Apple change it's URL often and now it was lost... So you can only view our copy (as acurate as possible) :

You can also visit "Nest of the Dogcattle" from Internet Archives WayBack Machine : last capture december 2003

The supporting cast in Clarus' story:

Susan Kare, Scott Zimmerman, Mark Harlan, Mark Johnson, Ginger Jernigan, John Sculley, Tom Maremaa, Timothy Caroll, Brian Bechtel, George Warner, Joel Cannon, Chris Derossi, Mary Burke, Toni Trujillo, Rand Crippen, Guillermo Ortiz, Sriram Subramanian and many others...

Beside official history, some fans has reinvent...