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Why Hot Dogs Bear This Name, and What They Have to Do With Dogs

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hot dog is a form of fast food that’s popular all over the world. This dish consists of a grilled or steamed sausage served in the slit of a partially sliced bun. Typical condiments include mustard, ketchup, or mayonnaise, and common garnishes include onions, pickled or fresh vegetables, grated cheese, bacon, and olives.

5-Minute Crafts decided to find out why hot dogs bear their name and what they have to do with dogs at all. As it turns out, culinary historians still argue about it. We’d like to share their theories with you.

  • Theory 1. Usually we associate the hot dog with baseball and American culture. However, the homeland of this dish is not the States, but rather, Germany. It’s believed that a German butcher invented hot dog sausages in the late 1600s.

The sausages resembled a dachshund in shape, so they were called Dachshundwurst (“sausage-dachshund” in German). German immigrants brought this sausage to the United States, where the word Dachshundwurst was too difficult for people to pronounce. This is when the catchy name, “hot dog” first appeared.

  • Theory 2. The word was allegedly coined in 1901 on a cold April day during a polo game. Vendors were serving sausage buns and shouting, “They’re hot! Get the dachshund sausages while they’re hot!”

New York Journal cartoonist Ted Dorgan witnessed this scene and drew a cartoon of barking dachshunds. Not knowing how to write “dachshund,” he simply wrote “hot dog.” However, historians couldn’t find this cartoon, and this theory was found to be erroneous.

  • Theory 3. The term originated at Yale University in the 1890s. Students began to call the vans selling sausage buns “dog wagons.”

This theory is supported by the fact that a linguist and culinary historian discovered the first mention of a hot dog in an article published on October 19, 1895, in the campus magazine. The story featured people eating hot dogs.

If we summarize all the theories, it becomes clear that the name may have appeared due to the visual similarity of sausages with dogs of the dachshund breed. And, of course, due to the fact that the sausage in the bun was served hot.

And although the true story of the hot dog name will most likely remain unknown, it’s possible that this mystery helped the hot dog become one of the most favorite fast food dishes for many people in different countries.

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