This Halloween, Teddy, my family’s dog, will don a cape with a large yellow “S” emblazoned in the middle and channel his best Superdog look.
We think the pooch has some of the same characteristics as the original canine cape wearer.
Superdog, or Krypto, first appeared in DC Comics in March 1955 in a Superboy story in Adventure Comics #210. The dog was created by Otto Binder and Curt Swan.
These comic books told the story of Krypto, the dog of toddler Kal El, or Superboy, while both were on the planet Krypton.
Jor El, Superboy’s father, was testing the rocket prototypes that would send Kal El to Earth when he decided to use Krypto as a test subject.
Unfortunately, Krypto’s rocket was knocked off course. The rocket drifted through space for many years until it eventually landed on Earth, where Krypto was reunited in Smallville with a teen superhero, Superboy.
Krypto possessed the same type of powers and abilities as Superboy because of Earth’s environment (sun and lower gravity). These abilities were proportionate to his size and species.
Krypto was a white dog of unknown pedigree.
Teddy isn’t from a different planet but a different state, Kentucky. Teddy drifted through the backwoods of that state before landing in Dayton with my family.
Teddy, a black Labrador Retriever, doesn’t possess super powers like Superdog but we don’t possess any powers like Superboy.
In 1987, Melissa Spirek, Teddy’s godmother, a writer and documentarian, was asked to write a chapter for the book “Superman at Fifty.” Her focus was on Superdog’s possible breed.
Melissa used her experience as a member of the Cleveland All-Breed Training Club to match Krypto’s characteristics to the seven groups the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized at the time: Terriers, Toy, Sporting, Non-Sporting, Working, Herding and Hounds.
She found Krypto had the same keen sense of smell as Bloodhounds. This breed is known for work with law enforcement.
Teddy has a keen sense of smell. Many Labs are used in law enforcement, particularly in drug-and bomb-sniffing work.
Toy breeds characteristically are small and often objects of elaborate grooming rituals. Painted toenails, ribbons and bows are usual ornamentations. Melissa concluded that Krypto was larger than those breeds and would never have had his nails painted or worn ribbons and bows. As Melissa put it, “What criminal would ever take a dog so decorated seriously?”
Ditto that for Teddy.
Dogs in the Herding group such as the Collie and the Old English Sheep Dog are known for being gentle and intelligent, and most have long hair. Melissa believes Krypto had a similar temperament, though he didn’t fit the physical standards for the group.
Teddy is smart, too. Show him a task once and he’ll usually repeat it. He is gentle with our kitten, Pip. Like Krypto, Teddy’s fur isn’t long.
Melissa believed the dedication to service in the working group breeds, like Boxers, Great Danes and Rottweilers, is also found in Krypto.
Teddy is dedicated to his family. He waits by the door leading into the garage when we are gone.
At the end of her chapter, Melissa wrote that if you take all these breeds’ characteristics and mix them all up you get an All-American mixed breed that is a perfect partner for a Superhero.
We believe we have an All-American Sporting breed that’s a perfect partner for our family.
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Karin Spicer, a magazine writer, has been entertaining families for more than 20 years. She lives in Bellbrook with her family and two furry animals all who provide inspiration for her work. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.