Q: What breed of dog was Gnasher, Dennis the Menace’s sidekick in The Beano from 1968 onwards?
A: An Abyssinian wire-haired tripe-hound.
Tag archive: Dogs
1950: Charles Schulz’s cartoon strip Peanuts started with four characters: Charlie Brown, his friends Shermy and Patty, and the dog Sniffy, whose name was changed, just before the strip first appeared, to Snoopy.
Source: Charles M. Schulz, Peanuts Jubilee: My Life and Art with Charlie Brown and Others (1975), pp. 18–19
1948: Balding head, wire-rimmed spectacles, moustache, shawl draped over one shoulder – Mohandas Gandhi was much photographed in his later years, which makes it difficult to visualize him as a perky youngster roaming the streets of Porbandar, in western India. His elder sister Raliat remembered him being as “restless as mercury”, unable to “sit still even for a little while”. When she took him for walks, he would approach animals and try to make friends with them. “One of his favourite pastimes was twisting dogs’ ears.”
Source: Pyarelal, Mahatma Gandhi: The Early Phase (1965), p. 194
1942: Field Marshal Erich von Manstein’s well-drilled dachshund, Knirps, would respond to shouts of “Heil Hitler!” by raising its paw in salute.
Source: Antony Beevor, Stalingrad (2007), p. 273
1912: Writing home on 3 March, 8-year-old Eric Blair regaled his mother with a breathless account of his exploits on the school football field: “I was goalkeeper all the second halh, and they only got past the half-line twise while I was in goal but both of those times it nearly a goal and I had to be jolly quick to pick them up and kick them, because most of the chaps the other side were in aufel rats and they were runing at me like angry dogs”. (Not quite Orwell, not yet, but it was a promising start.)
Source: George Orwell, The Complete Works of George Orwell, X: A Kind of Compulsion 1903–1936, ed. Peter Davison (1998), pp. 13–14
1972: On the evening of 27 May, the Duke of Windsor’s doctor was surprised to see that the duke’s favourite pug, which had seldom left its master’s bed during the previous few weeks, had moved on to the bedroom floor. Early next morning, the duke died.
Source: Michael Bloch, The Secret File of the Duke of Windsor (1989), pp. 425–6
1963: They were once close comrades, but by 1963, François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, Haiti’s dictatorial president, and Clément Barbot, his thuggish henchman, had become deadly enemies.
Duvalier went gunning for Barbot, and Barbot for Duvalier. Tontons Macoutes combed the shantytowns of Port-au-Prince and the surrounding countryside for Barbot, who responded with bombings and ambushes.
Duvalier’s gunmen thought on one occasion they had trapped Barbot in a hideout. They riddled the house with bullets, but when they kicked down the front door, a black dog ran out. Perhaps Barbot possessed the voodoo power to turn himself into a black dog, Haitians thought, and it was rumoured that Duvalier ordered all black dogs to be shot on sight.
Source: Bernard Diederich and Al Burt, Papa Doc: Haiti and Its Dictator (1970), p. 222
1950: Lord Berners, who died in April, was a classical composer and the author of several novels, though he’s probably best remembered for his eccentricities: the clavichord in his Rolls-Royce; fake pearl necklaces round his dogs’ necks; blue mayonnaise; the warning, “Trespassers will be prosecuted, dogs shot, cats whipped,” in his garden; pigeons dyed magenta, copper green and ultramarine, “tumbling about like a cloud of confetti in the sky”; the notice at the entrance to his folly at Faringdon, “Members of the Public committing suicide from this tower do so at their own risk”.
Source: Mark Amory, Lord Berners: The Last Eccentric (1998), pp. 79, 120, 137–8, 150
1920: Bizarre royal death of the year: that of Alexander, king of the Hellenes. On 2 October, the king and his dog Fritz encountered two pet monkeys playing in a garden on the royal estate at Tatoi, near Athens. The monkeys scampered over, screaming, and one of them attacked Fritz. The king tried to separate the animals, whereupon the second monkey intervened, and in the ensuing scrimmage the king was severely bitten on the legs and belly. The wounds were not properly cleaned, infection set in, and on 25 October the king died of sepsis.
Source: John van der Kiste, Kings of the Hellenes: The Greek Kings 1863–1974 (1994), pp. 122–4
1912: Of the nine dogs on board the Titanic, three survived – two Pomeranians and a Pekinese.
Source: John D.T. White, The RMS Titanic Miscellany (2011), pp. 25, 137
1911: On the morning of 28 June, a shower of stones that fell from the sky near Alexandria, in Egypt, turned out to be fragments of a meteorite from Mars. An Arabic newspaper reported that one of the stones struck and killed a dog. Hmm. Yes. I wonder.
1988: Geruchsproben, or smell samples, provided the German Democratic Republic’s secret police with a highly personal way of keeping tabs on citizens.
Based on a theory that everyone possessed a separate, identifiable odour and left traces of that odour on everything that he or she touched, the Stasi built up an extensive collection of smell samples.
Surreptitiously collected garments or pieces of fabric bearing individual odours could then be matched, using trained sniffer dogs, against smells found (for example) at the scene of an illegal meeting.
Source: Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories From Behind the Berlin Wall (2004), p. 8
1987: Britain abolished dog licences.
1914: Some Britons marked the outbreak of war with loutish displays of anti-German feeling. Graham Greene reported that a dachshund was stoned in the high street of his hometown. (Would the attackers have been quite so brave if, instead, the dog had been a Dobermann pinscher?)
Source: Graham Greene, A Sort of Life (1971), p. 64
1905: Graham Greene’s first memory was of “a dead dog at the bottom of my pram; it had been run over at a country crossroads . . . and the nurse put it at the bottom of the pram and pushed me home.”
Source: Graham Greene, Journey Without Maps (1981), p. 36