"The average dog is a nicer person than the average person."
-Andrew A. Rooney
The turnspit dog is now extinct
. It is mentioned in the first English Dog Book
under the name Turnespete
. Rev. W. Bingley
's Memoirs of British Quadrapeds
) also talks of a dog employed to help chefs and cooks. It is also known as the Kitchen Dog
, the cooking dog
, the Underdog
and the Vernepator
. The breed was lost since it was considered to be such a lowly
dog that no one really kept track of it. They are related, many people think, to the Glen of Imaal terrier
The Vernepator Cur was breed to run on a wheel (known as a dogwheel) in order to turn meat so it would cook evenly. This took both courage (to stand near the fire) and loyalty (not to eat the roast!) -- They were also taken to church to serve as foot warmers.
Turnspit dogs look like corgis with long bodies-- but they have drooping ears like the weiminer. From the engravings I've seen they look to be about 25 - 35 lbs and possibly 14" to 16" tall. They were described as 'long-bodied, crooked-legged and ugly dogs, with a suspicious, unhappy look about them' in the old english dog book. (But I think that is slander) Often they are shown with a white stripe down the center of their faces. It is possible that some mutts out their may be related to this dog.
On a personal note: It makes me sad to think of this hard working dog going extinct simply because the motor and convection oven were invented. The bulldog was also out of a job when bull baiting was banned-- but, he is still around? I guess slaving away at a hot stove wasn’t as glamorous as killing bears and bulls... But wouldn't it be nice if we could scour the kennels of London and somehow find the decendents of this helpful breed? Doesn't this tireless kitchen helper deserve a chance to be best in show?