Described for the first time in 1576, the turnspit dog had a long body and stout, powerful legs. It had to be small so it could fit inside a wooden wheel attached to the turnspit by a chain. As the dog ran, it rotated the iron spit, leaving the kitchen staff free to prepare other food with their unwashed hands.
For the next 300 years, turnspit dogs powered kitchens of all sizes, roasting the meat, pressing the fruit, or churning the butter. They would generally come in pairs so one could work while the other rested, but they weren't cherished members of the household or anything. They were basically thought of as blenders with legs. Their treatment was part of what inspired activist Henry Bergh to start the ASPCA, after he witnessed turnspit dogs employed in a Manhattan hotel in the 1850s. They did get Sundays off to attend church, but only so they could serve as foot warmers. The breed eventually became a sign of poverty, and after a mechanical spit turner was invented, died out around 1900. There is only a single specimen still around today. His name is Whiskey, and he is preserved via taxidermy at Abergavenny Museum in Wales.