But did you know that they got their name from an old saying?
What, exactly, does three dog night mean?
In his 2005 book, Climate Change in Prehistory, William Burroughs explained that the phrase originated from the Chukchi people. These were native Russians from far northeast Siberia who lived on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, brrrr...!
By the way, the name Chukchi means "reindeer people." How cool is that? And no, they're not elves... ;-)
On a cold night, a Chukchi would curl up with a Siberian husky to keep warm. We're betting those Siberian winters had plenty of those.
|Wouldn't you love to cuddle with this guy on a cold night? |
(Siberian Husky photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Here in the northern hemisphere where we're planted firmly in the middle of Winter's deep freeze, that sounds like a pretty good idea. And if you're owned by Leo the mastiff, like one of my coworkers and her husband - well...you only need one:
|Not quite what Leo signed up for when he hopped in bed...!|
(photo copyright © 2012, Rachel Allen)
However, according to the Macquarie dictionary of Australian slang, the phrase originated in the Australian outback, with aborigine bushmen digging holes in the ground to curl up with a dingo on a cold night.
Which is the original? Who knows? How the saying might have migrated from the farthest part of the northern hemisphere to Down Under - or vice versa - is above the pay grade of we poor wee kitties!
Google Books: Climate Change in Prehistory
MacQuarie Book of Slang