TIL about ‘Turnspit dogs’, an extinct breed of small dogs that were trained to evenly roast meat over a fire by turning a spit

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turnspit_dog?wprov=sfla1

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  1. Interestingly, there were mechanical devices which were created that replaced the need of a dog. These devices were called jacks and included bottle, clock and steam jack.

  2. Is this the origin of the Underdog?


    >The dogs were also taken to church to serve as foot warmers. One story says that during service at a church in Bath, the Bishop of Gloucester gave a sermon and uttered the line “It was then that Ezekiel saw the wheel…”. At the mention of the word “wheel” several turnspit dogs, who had been brought to church as foot warmers, ran for the door.[6]

  3. Today, it is possible that the genes of the Turnspit dog still lives through a Welsh breed called the Bowsy Terrier. As for the Turnspit dog, the last known specimen was placed in a taxidermy exhibit at the Abergavenny Museum located in Wales.

  4. Queen Victoria kept many retired turnspits.

    Her biographers passed them off as a different breed and their names weren’t recorded in any official record as, say Hector and Islay were.

    They were considered so lowly and common that no pedigree was ever assigned to them, yet they met all the breeding requirements.

  5. They certainly were not a breed in the modern sense, more like groups of dogs that were broadly physically suitable for the job. Although they may have been subjective to some degree of selective breeding they wouldnt constitute a breed as we know the term today

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