Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thursday Trivia: Dogtrot or Foxtrot?

Well, I have to admit, when I heard the phrase “dog trot,” my brain immediately did a mental substitution.

I kept expecting to find it defined as a type of dance – but nothing of the sort came up in my research.

Of course by now, you’ve already guessed that I had transposed “foxtrot” and “dog trot”.

A foxtrot is a dance that debuted in 1914 and almost exclusively was performed to ragtime music. It was the first dance to combine both quick and slow steps, allowing for greater versatility on the dance floor.

Foxtrot illustration: Creative Commons,
by Helena Perez Garcia

According to musician and songwriter W.C. Handy, the foxtrot was created by a husband-and-wife duo named Vernon & Irene Castle.

Handy claimed the Castles originally named the dance the ”Bunny Hug” but had a mid-voyage change of heart while traveling abroad, wiring back the news that it was now to be called the “Foxtrot.”

As interesting as this tale may be, the vast majority of dance history buffs argue that the dance was created by early-1900’s Vaudeville entertainer Harry Fox, thus its name.

Despite its murky origin, there is one point on which all dance historians agree: the foxtrot made a powerful impact on ballroom dancing and many argued it even influenced the music written during the early twentieth century.

On the other hand – or should we say paw? – “dog trot” simply meant “a slow trot, as that of a dog.” (well, duh.)

And lest we leave you thinking that the fox has upstaged the dog in this week’s trivia, we would like to point out that “dog trot” has an interesting alternate meaning, one that those living in the Deep South may recognize.

Dogtrot house, Dubach, LA, via Billy Hathorn
A dog trot is an architectural element found in many homes in the rural south. This open (but covered) breezeway connects two separate but enclosed structures under one roof.

It allowed for more air circulation and cooler temperatures during hot summer days.

(In fact, Apple may have learned a thing or two from these 19th century southern architects in their new Mac Pro design – it has a breezeway running right through its center, too. Not that we would know – we don’t make enough kibble over here between the three of us kitties to get one for ourselves!)

At any rate, the dog trot predated the foxtrot by almost a century!

Too bad Harry Fox wasn’t named Harry…Dog?
W.C. Handy's version of the origin
Wise Geek – What is a Dogtrot 
Omnilexica Online: Dogtrot 
The history of the foxtrot Foxtrot dance history history of the foxtrot
The Mac Pro
Definition of a Dogtrot house
Dog trot house, Dubach, LA courtesy Billy Hathorn, via Creative Commons 3.0


  1. That was an interesting alternative about the houses in the rural South. Well we always learn something new here. Have a tremendous Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. MOUSES! I never knew 'bout that breezeway business. There are two houses over on the next street that might have dogtrots. I say 'might' because in both cases, the breezeway separates the house from the garage. Don't know if garages count. I've never been in either dogtrot but I see 'em, from the car, when goin' to visit my doctor.


    1. Hrm, wonder if there's a distinction with the garage??? We don't know! Maye you could COIN something there, Nissy. Kitty-breezeway?

  3. Interesting! We had know idea those were called dogtrots!
    Hope you kittehz have a great Thursday.

  4. OMD dogtrots on houses... Have a super Thursday and youz always give us things to think about BOL xxoxxx

    Mollie and Alfie

    1. MOL!! Well we figured CAT-Trot just didn't work so well. . .

  5. never knew they called them them that but have seen them in the South

  6. We want a Cat-Run in our house!
    ; )

    1. and we are sooo jonesing for a Catio, a REAL-LIVE CAtio!!!

  7. Wow! Mes learned a LOT today! Thanks yous!!!


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