Vernepator Cur: A Tale Of Turnspit Dogs

By Karen Harris
Look at the wheel mounted on the wall. You will see a turnspit dog at work in the inn at Newcastle, Carmarthen, Wales, c1800 (1869). Source: (Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images)

There are hundreds of dog breeds and we know that many of dogs were bred to do specific jobs to help humans, like herd sheep or stand watch or rescue victims of avalanches. But did you know that some dogs in the United Kingdom were designed and bred to help with a very important kitchen duty…turning the spit? Large chunks of meat, like a whole hog or whole chicken, were threaded on a stick and left to roast over an open fire. The problem was, the meat had to be turned regularly or one side would burn. The clever Brits thought up a way to get the job done!