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May 13, 2014 10:31 AM

REAL chowhounds ~ "Amazing Dogs: A Cabinet of Canine Curiosities"

The author of this new book was interviewed on NPR this morning. He discussed in detail the medieval innovation of running dogs inside wheels, hamster-like, to turn spits of meat roasting over fire. These turnspit dogs were an early example of human involvement in selective dog breeding, as they were chosen for short legs and other features.

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  1. Hamsters had not yet been invented.

    1. Hmmm.....I am looking at my corgi a bit differently today :D

      1 Reply
      1. re: sedimental

        LOL... I don't think mine will go for it.

      2. Also chosen for their ability not to jump off the wheel and eat the roasts. Maybe that's where the short legs come in?

        1. Interesting. I always thought they had women to do that.<G>

          2 Replies
          1. I have a book called "The Founding Foodies" which is about culinary life in early US, revolutionary war times. (The book was written by Dave DeWitt who also wrote the "Whole Chili Pepper Book" and started Chili Pepper magazine among others.)

            The book contains a description and this illustration of the turnspit dog. This has become a running joke in our household because our beloved doggie would fit the profile perfectly. Short legs and a nose for cooking meat to keep him motivated.