Dog Names Meaning Muscular in Pop Culture
Whiskey was a turnspit dog. The small, very muscular pooch was bred for one purpose in life and that was to turn the spit in a kitchen. The turnspit dog was commonly referred to as the Canis Vertigus, dizzy dog kitchen dog, vernepator cur, turn-tyke, or the cooking dog. Its sole job was to walk for hours on end inside of a wheel that would turn the spit that held a chunk of meat over the fire so the meat would evenly cook. Turnspit dogs were very popular in England and America. The dogs would be a common fixture in kitchens from the 16th century until the 19th century.
Little Whiskey was bred to have a very long body with short powerful legs. The muscular legs were required to be powerful so the dog could turn the spit for hours without stopping. Whiskey was placed in a small wooden wheel case that was mounted high on the wall. A chain was attached to the wheel and spit so every time the dog took a step the spit would turn.
Unfortunately, even the most muscular turnspit dog would get tired and slow down or stop so cruel methods were often employed to keep the small dog moving. No doubt, Whiskey's life was probably far from ideal or easy. All turnspit dogs also had another function. Every Sunday the small dogs were allowed to rest. Their owners would even take them to the church where they would use the small dog's warm body as a footrest during the sermon.
Henry Bergh, an animal rights activist, witnessed turnspit dogs and the abuse they suffered first hand. It was his experience seeing the tiny dogs' suffering that spurred him to found the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Eventually, the dogs were replaced by mechanical spits. The small dog breed was considered ugly with its crooked, muscular legs so it was never used as a pet. Eventually, the breed became completely extinct.
Whiskey, a resident of England, was officially declared the last turnspit dog. When he died, he was stuffed by a taxidermist and placed on display at the Abergavenny Museum in Wales so that the appearance of the strange, muscular little dogs was never forgotten. Many dog breed authorities believe that the turnspit dog was a close relative of the Welsh Corgi.