Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Dogbread

My life in appalachia dogbread

I’ve told you about our dog Ruby Sue and about Wild Bill who think’s he’s our dog or at least partially our dog. Molly Dog and Griffin also live in the holler they belong to my niece.

You can see Griffin in the photo as far as I know he will not let anyone pet him but her. A funny dog he is-all I do is look at him and he skedaddles. He roams our yard when no one is outside and Ruby Sue always lets me know when Griffin or Molly Dog is present she considers them her arch enemies.

I recently read an entry in my Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English that reminded me of Griffin, who never turns down any bite of food. It also reminded me of Papaw Wade and his hunting dogs.

dogbread noun Baked corn bread fed to dogs, variously made. See citations. 1994-97 Montgomery Coll. = corn bread made from plain meal without salt, soda, milk, or baking powder (Adams); = made of old or weevil meal, meat scraps, and bran, and baked for dog or hog food only (Brown); = corn bread sometimes that was more gritty and had more lard than normal (Cardwell); = regular corn bread cooked in a pan to feed the hunting dogs (Norris). [DARE South, South Midland]


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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  • Reply
    Gary Griffith
    September 14, 2021 at 9:27 am

    I remember my grandmother making dog bread (cornbread) for grandpa’s fox hounds. I never thought about whether she added anything except the corn meal, but they raised hogs and had lard, so she probably used that. I would sometimes break off a bite of the crust and it was good.

  • Reply
    January 16, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    That’s how Hushpuppies originated.

  • Reply
    Roger Brothers
    March 10, 2018 at 10:56 am

    I remember well my granny and aunt baking big pones of dog bread every day for my uncle’s Black and Tan coon dogs. One of them “old major” I thought was as big as a horse and I tried to ride him every chance I got. Good thing those hounds weren’t mean!

    That bread well saturated with hog grease (had to use all that grease someway, you can
    only season greens so much) was pretty much
    what those hounds lived on (we sure couldn’t afford purina) except and occasional bite of coon or possum.

    Heard a yuppie dog lover say once that dogs can’t digest corn. I thought that was hilarious!5

  • Reply
    December 30, 2016 at 1:54 am

    I don’t remember the title, but I read in one of the Louis L’Amour Sackett stories how they adjusted the mill to grind course meal for dog bread.

  • Reply
    Tim Ryan
    December 29, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    Many wonderful comments! I’ll just add that my Granny Ryan routinely made crackln’ cornbread for Granddaddy’s beagles…. and she wouldn’t let me have any though it smelled so good coming out of the oven.

  • Reply
    Dennis Roberts
    January 12, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    When the bread truck delivered to local stores they picked up the stale bread that hadn’t sold and returned it to the distributer. You could go there and buy it by the feed sack-full for almost nothing. Everybody called it dog-bread or hog-bread.

  • Reply
    Sue Simmons
    January 7, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    My father was Earl wade and his father was Lloyd wade wonder if we could be kissing cousins. Sue

  • Reply
    January 4, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Over the years I’ve made “dog bread” when I couldn’t afford to buy or ran out of dog food and had to make do.
    They really liked that bread with gravy over the top. I’m thinking that was like a treat to them.

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    January 3, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    For a bit, I was thinking this was similar to Hush Puppies, but in reading the description, it’s baked and it sounds like it’s a good use for bulking up meat and fat scraps for the pups, and served warm, it would be great for them on chilly evenings like we get this time of year.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 2, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    I had a half Black Labrador and half Doberman one time. I named him Adolph. He was the biggest blackest baby I ever saw. He would stand up on me with his paws on my shoulders, look me right in the eye and try to lick me in the face. I had to keep him outside because he was too big to keep in the house. He didn’t mind because he loved the outdoors. I kept him chained to a big pine tree across the yard. He lived only about 18 months.
    One day an old woman from the neighborhood called and wanted to know if this was my dog laying in her yard. I walked down to her house and sure enough it was Adolph, dead. I had to drag his body across the road and up the hill to bury him on my property while she peeped around the window curtain. I never asked the old woman if I could bury him where he fell. In fact I never ever spoke to her again. She was my wife’s brothers mother in law and lived to be 98.
    Adolph was just an overgrown puppy so when he realized the chain wasn’t holding him, of course he ran around the neighbor greeting all his friends he had only seen before. When he got to her house, she shot him. In return I did what I had read in the bible “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.” When I get heaven, she may be there but I will not waste a second looking for her.

  • Reply
    January 2, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    I remember some of my first cooking ventures–got the cornbread batter too thin & Mama said it was dog bread–now I know what she meant. I rescued a stray black & tan type hound dog who was wrapped in a dog chain & being squeezed nearly dead. I was afraid I’d get bit but he didn’t even try. We had him for 13 yrs. & I was the only one who could pet him for many years. He was a danger to others so he spent many yrs on a run my husband fixed for him. This always worried us but finally we got a fenced in yard so he could be loose. He finally got to accept my husband & son. I always said he knew I saved him & loved me for it. His name was Tramp.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 2, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    We had Judith’s fried cornmeal mush many times as a child. And still do sometimes. You can do the same thing with grits or polenta. Just cook ’em a little longer, put ’em in a loaf pan and leave ’em in the fridge overnight. It will set like livermush and you can slice it and fry it in some good old bacon grease. You couldn’t ask for better.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    January 2, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    That Indian Princess is gorgeous too!
    It’s good to see a girl who likes dogs.
    One of my most recent memories of dogs was Topper(almost like Tipper). He was a Jack Russell and had the nerves of a big dog. But one night he jumped right in the middle of some Coyotes and they ate the little guy. I still keep my high powered rifle ready and by the door, in case they ever come back.
    Today I have another dog, his name
    is Whisky and he loves anything that
    I’m eating. His favorite thing is at
    Thanksgiving, turkey and dressing.

  • Reply
    January 2, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Very interesting and entertaining info today. In my growing up days, our dogs just got table scraps; and old biscuits were the “hush puppies” – didn’t hear about the corn meal kind until the food chains started showing up. Dad was a little hesitant to try a “hush puppy” – couldn’t understand why such a thing would be on a menu. But once he did, he was sold – especially with jalapenos!

  • Reply
    January 2, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Hi Tipper,
    Our dogs ate anything and were happy to get it. They especially liked corn meal mush with added bacon grease. This was their dog bread. As a preschooler in the 1950’s I didn’t understand why many homeless people would come to our house asking for food. A man came one day as we were feeding the dogs their “mush” and asked for something similar. We did not have a lot but Mom gave the man a job while she fixed his “mush” but fried it in cakes in bacon grease. The man ate with gusto and after he left, Mom said he was back from Korea and couldn’t find a job. These days our dogs eat better than some people. The “dog bread” would be like manna from heaven to a hungry person, much less a hungry dog.

  • Reply
    January 2, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Funny,, I remember my Papaw on my Mother’s side getting me my first coon dog and that is what he said to feed her, was corn bread and every so often a can of sardines to keep her coat slick,, he was a coon hunter back in the day and that was what he fed his dogs was cracklin bread (cracklins were hog fat and bits of meat left over after killing a hog.. I even remember eating Cracklin corn bread it was good.. Dogs really love it..

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 2, 2014 at 11:39 am

    I remember my mother making dogbread or hogbread when her cornmeal had weevils or didn’t rise right. If we had a hog it was hogbread if we didn’t it was dogbread. We didn’t always have a hog but there was a dog or 5 around.
    Harold had a little beagle he called Tum. He said he named him that because, the way it’s belly was always pooched out, it looked like it needed some Tums. We was going to cut some firewood one day and I was carrying my axe the wrong way. Instead of holding it right behind the head, I had it by the end of the handle and was swinging it by my side. I wasn’t thinking about dogs. Well, old Tum came running up the trail and right into that axe blade. It split his head open pretty bad. We caught him and patched him up as good as we could. He seems to be healing up pretty good but one morning he came up missing. We whistled and yelled for him but he never came. We found him a few days later. He had gone off into the woods to die. That’s been more than 50 years ago and I could still kick my own butt for being so stupid.

  • Reply
    Darlene Debty Kimsey
    January 2, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Yesterday, I was baking cornbread and telling my daughter about how hunters fed it to their dogs. I explained it was a good filler for hunting nights because it kept their bellies full and they could hunt longer. My Uncle Rufus Hughes had hunting dogs and that’s where I learned it from. So cool that you’re writing about it today! By the way, my regular dog LOVES cornbread.!

  • Reply
    Chuck Dodds
    January 2, 2014 at 10:08 am

    I’m trying to work through all this “cornbread” thing for dogs. I live in Central Texas and I guess I am addicted to the store bought dog food. Just wondering – since you can add onions for “hush puppies” considering the high price of corn do you suppose we soon will see onions as well as corn used in running our automobiles? It seems to work with dogs!

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull, PhD
    January 2, 2014 at 10:00 am

    Well Tipper, this dog bread is a new term for me. But yesterday while hiking on a ‘security road’ I saw something that you would not believe. But I will tell you anyway.
    While Jim and I were taking a brief rest stop a couple parked their fancy pick-up, got their dog out of the cab of the truck and proceeded to walk down the trail which we had just walked. Soon the dog picked up a big limb lying on the ground and carried it a few yards down the trail. The couple never let on and soon the dog took the limb over to the side of the trail and laid it down – like it belonged there.
    A little while later – as we went back down the trail – I showed Jim the big limb and told him about the dog placing it there. All of a sudden here came the couple back up the trail with their dog. That dog was carrying a ten foot long 3-4 inch limb between his teeth. I could not help myself! I said, “Excuse me! But I told my husband a dog was on this trail and he carries tree limbs in his mouth!” The fellow said, “Oh yes! Sometimes he carries logs!”
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    January 2, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Griffin looks just like my daughter’s “Baby” she rescued from the pound. She never let many people get close, especially me. I must remind her of someone else.
    Mom always made gravy for the dogs but never made dog bread as far as I remember.
    The 3rd Indian Princess is beautiful, just like the other two.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 2, 2014 at 8:56 am

    I think the look of contentment on Griffin’s face is due to the arm of the 3rd Indian princes wrapped lovingly around him.
    Never heard of dog bread but it sounds exactly like what I would expect our Appalachian ancestors to do with left over grain. Remember they were a people that did not waste anything.

  • Reply
    January 2, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Dolores-thank you for the comments! Yikes about the coyote and the cat! Coyotes got our sweet Wilma over 10 years ago and it still makes me mad and sad to think of it!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    January 2, 2014 at 8:41 am

    It’s always nice to have visitors who seem to like your land. Of course, the old eye look lets a critter know whether he/she should be visiting. I think it is good that a dog visits rather than a coyote. I had one of those one morning; it was looking for my neighbor’s kitty – a delicious meal. The kitty disappeared a short time later.

  • Reply
    January 2, 2014 at 8:37 am

    B-LOL yes I have overheard it!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    January 2, 2014 at 8:26 am

    I did just notice the answer for dogbread referring to hog food too. (just now wakin’ up good!)
    Now then, my aunt that lived in Mars Hill…would slop her hogs witha cornbread mixture to put fat on them before the slaughter!
    Only if there had been a good corn crop and a miller that would mill her up some of that weevil laden corn left in the corn crib!
    Worked too…sometimes when I was a kid that big old pig that was in residence at the time was so big it couldn’t move out of the mud to make it to the slop trough!
    Gosh, I wish I could go back and see those penned up fattin’ hogs again and just see if that was my youth vision or my adult vision!
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS….Have you ever heard…or overheard someone say…”She’s gettin’ as big as an old fattin’ hog!”

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    January 2, 2014 at 8:26 am

    That’s a fine looking hound. Looks like a cross between a Beagle and a Blue tick. The young lady is cute as a speckled pup as well. If I have heard the word dog bread before I’ve forgotten it. The dogs we had growing up always ate what we ate i.e. leftovers. Now we have a little weenie dog who has to have special food because he has a seizure disorder. I think ole Griffin is the way a dog is supposed to be. I’ve never heard of a dog named Griffin but I like it because it’s also the name of my youngest son.

  • Reply
    January 2, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Steve-thank you for the comment! It reminded me of a dog we had-the sweetest beagle you ever seen named Wilma. She would not eat if anyone was watching her. She would sit patiently waiting until you left then shed eat : )

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    January 2, 2014 at 7:58 am

    never heard of dog bread. Hushpuppies yes, must be a locational thing.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    January 2, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Add to the Dog Bread “hush puppies.” I don’t think this is an Appalachian dish by any means (I need to research to find out). But it is said that our hush puppies we eat with fish (cornbread balls with chopped onions fried in [deep] fat) were first made to “hush” hungry dogs after a strenuous hunt. And the people who made them found they tasted so good they began to eat them, finding them especially palatable with fish!

  • Reply
    steve in Tn
    January 2, 2014 at 7:28 am

    I have heard of people cooking bran and corn for their hogs. Most of our modern day pets would turn their noses unless you put the cornbread in a properly labeled dog food sack. when I was young I had a taco dog that would eat onions if you acted like you were going to take them away from his bowl.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    January 2, 2014 at 7:14 am

    Starting the New Year right…mussing up words…and leaving out words…
    Anyhow, that is a great picture. You might say he was keeping a dogeye on you or the photographer!
    I must say that Griffin doesn’t look like he missed any dogbread that was out there for the taking!
    Wish I had me one of those good ole boy/girl dogs…Not that I don’t love this spoiled rotten thing right here at my feet, begging for food….Gotta go feed him Eukanuba, the vet says it so good for him. I wonder if the vet is in cahoots with the fancy dog food company. We always raised beautiful dogs on just about any food in my growing up days!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    January 2, 2014 at 7:05 am

    Dogbread is what I make to feed my birds. Leftover bits of this cornmeal or last of the whole grain cereals, bran, extry fat sometimes added. They love it mixed with the last of the jar of peanut butter especially if it is crunchy. One person around her purchased crunchy by mistake a while back, won’t say who he was!
    My don’t like dogbread much, and he can’t stomach hushpuppies because I put too many onions in mine. Onions are deadly to some doggies…
    His dogtooth just loves him a leftover piece of pizza crust!
    Thanks Tipper,

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