Article of the Week | BYU Studies

Article of the Week

February 5, 2018
Article of the Week
Joseph Smith's Dog, Old Major
Author Alexander L. Baugh,

This daily feature is the introduction to a full article by Alexander L. Baugh that was published in our newest issue, 56:4. To read the full text of this article, follow the link below.

During the march of Zion's Camp in 1834, Samuel Baker presented Joseph Smith with a dog named Major. This dog became very attached to and protective of Joseph. The dog was probably an English mastiff, a breed known for loyalty. Joseph reportedly told Aaron W. Harlan, an Iowa resident, that when Joseph had been a prisoner in Missouri (probably in Liberty Jail in 1838-1839), that this dog could not be separated from him and kept watch over him while he slept. Joseph reciprocated this fidelity by tending him with affection.