By Ben Bowers
on 12.11.13

Pets these days accumulate a hefty amount of personal items over the course of their lives, and none are more prominent (humiliating costumes excluded) than their beds. Durability, comfort and ease of cleaning are always primary concerns when it comes to finding the right option for our fur-clad friends, but they often come at the price of aesthetics.

Governor Baxter — named after the famous 1920s governor of Maine who purchased Mount Katahdin as a gift for the state — is the retail arm for James Phinney Baxter White, a Maine craftsman dedicated to producing high-quality goods from classic and proven materials. His Mackworth Dog Bed ($395) is the most ambitious project for the brand to date and a dream solution for both dogs and their magnanimous owners.

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This is essentially the Barbour jacket of the dog world. The forest green exterior, trimmed in chocolate brown, is made from food-grade paraffin waxed cotton duck canvas and is stitched together with rugged polyester threading. Pure raw wool sourced from a local sheep farm is used for padding and emits a faint lanolin odor bound to attract any inquisitive sniffers in the vicinity. Together, they create a comfortable and rugged sleeping surface that’ll standup to the abuse of champion hunters and lavished lap dogs alike while looking right at home in most well-appointed interiors. But it’s other thoughtful amenities, like a dedicated tennis ball holder with included tennis ball, a detachable matching toy chest, and an attachable olive green wool top blanket, that really push the Mackworth into a league of its own.

Our own office dog sprawled across it and quickly nodded off in the first 10 minutes of “testing”, clearly contented by the knowledge that his favorite neon accessory and stuffed prey were always within a nose’s nudge. The remains of a muddy day’s walk were also disguised by the bed’s dark color scheme and easily removed with a wet rag, even a day after the sodding.

If there’s a downside, it’s related to the current one-size-fits-all offering. Measuring 47 x 28 x 6 inches and weighing 12 pounds, this is a bed ideally suited for larger breeds like Labs or for owners with floor space to spare. We’d love to see a smaller-dog, apartment-friendly offering sometime in the future. A $395 price tag and a 5-8 week delivery time may be other serious downsides in the eyes of some; though there’s nothing wrong with being cost conscious, given The Mackworth’s robust materials, made-in-Maine origins, timeless good looks and thoughtful accessories catering to a dog’s wildest dreams, it’s still an easy recommendation for those who believe man’s best friend deserves the best bed.

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