A brief guide to the history of the Hot Dog

The very beginning of the Hot Dog is a very contentious issue and one that I do not wish to delve into, this article is a brief summary that will include links at the end should you wish to pursue the truth about Hot Dogs further.

The Weiner Dance by Edvard Pissen

The Weiner Dance by Edvard Pissen – An angel hugs the Zauber Wurst a mythical sausage that emits serene music while virgins dance and Herr Dummerchen (Sausage Lord) looks down from his golden chariot.

In the 1600’s a dynamic movement took place in Frankfurt surrounding the production of sausages and how they were consumed, The approach was to take the sausage (playfully nicknamed the “Frankfurter”) and place it in the center of a bread bun with sauerkraut (a worse version of cabbage). I have included some historical German paintings that show how popular the Frankfurter had become within German society during this period.

The rape of sabine women - by Heinz Hodensack

The rape of sabine women – by Heinz Hodensack – Painted in the 1600’s note the use of the Franfurter in the scene, does this look familiar?

When the tide of European immigration began to flood the east coast of America during the early 1800’s German immigrants would sell this style of Sausage and it became particularly popular at sports games such as Base Ball. A popular misconception is that Tad Dorgan Cartoonist for the New York Evening post and sports writer coined the phrase, this however is not the case.


The use of the phrase predates the incident with Tad Dorgan by around ten years, German immigrants into New York had been given the nick name “Dachshund” (more commonly known as a sausage dog) because many brought these animals across with them, there is little documentation of this but the most popular breed they brought over was the “Ubergross Dachshund” this particular breed was roughly the size of a horse and it was a common site on the¬†burgeoning streets of New York city in the 1800’s to see a German riding a giant Dachshund while snacking upon a Frankfurter.

So how did this give birth to the Hot Dog? well it’s quite simple the sausage was served Hot so at first it was called a Hot Dachshund Sausage this over time was abbreviated to Hot Dachshund which in turn became anglicized by the English-speaking residents to Hot Dog and thus the legend was born.


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