Meet The Turnspit, Also Known As The Kitchen Dog
Published September 3, 2014
Tags: 16th century, Abergavenny, Canis vertigus, cooking, cooking dog, England, food, gourmet, history, kitchen dog, man's best friend, Norman castle, turnspit dog, vernepator cur, Wales, wildlife, working dog
According to NPR –
In an old hunting lodge on the grounds of an ancient Norman castle in Abergavenny, Wales, a small, extinct dog peers out of a handmade wooden display case.
“Whiskey is the last surviving specimen of a turnspit dog, albeit stuffed,” says Sally Davis, longtime custodian at the Abergavenny Museum.
The Canis vertigus, or turnspit, was an essential part of every large kitchen in Britain in the 16th century. The small cooking canine was bred to run in a wheel that turned a roasting spit in cavernous kitchen fireplaces.
“They were referred to as the kitchen dog, the cooking dog or the vernepator cur,” says Caira Farrell, library and collections manager at the Kennel Club in London. “The very first mention of them is in 1576 in the first book on dogs ever written.”