phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Lay down, little dogies, lay down

Posted by Henry on December 30, 2004

In Reply to: Re: Git Along, Little Dogies posted by Smokey Stover on December 29, 2004

: : : : : : : : : : what do you mean by "get a long little doggy"?? or "get along little doggy"? and could you tell me the origin! thanx!

: : : : : : : : :
: : : : : : : : : I think it should be 'dogy' or 'dogie' (what in the UK would be called a heifer). It comes from cattle ranching, presumably, and I assume is just a phrase used to move the dogies along; something like 'shoo' or whatever.

: : : : : : : : : DFG

: : : : : : : : A dogie is a motherless calf.

: : : : : : : :
: : : : : : : : Dogies Lament
: : : : : : : : As I was out walkin' one mornin' for pleasure
: : : : : : : : I spied a cowpuncher a-ridin along
: : : : : : : : His hat was throwed back and hie spurs were a-jingling
: : : : : : : : And as he approached, he was singin' this song
: : : : : : : : Chorus:
: : : : : : : : Whoopie-ti-yi-yo, get along you little dogie's
: : : : : : : : It's your misfortune and none of my own
: : : : : : : : Whoopie-ti-yi-yo, get along you little dogie's
: : : : : : : : You know that Wyoming will be your new home

: : : : : : : : It's early in the spring when we round up the dogies
: : : : : : : : We mark 'em and brand 'em and Bob off their tails
: : : : : : : : We round up the horses, load up the chuck-wagon,
: : : : : : : : Then send the dogies out on the long trail.

: : : : : : : : Chorus

: : : : : : : : Your mother was raised away down in Texas,
: : : : : : : : Where the gipsom weed and the 'sanders grow
: : : : : : : : We'll feed you up on prickly-pear and choya
: : : : : : : : And then send you loapin' to old Idaho

: : : : : : : : Chorus

: : : : : : : This song was first noted down by Owen Wister in his Journal, February, 1893, at Brownwood, Texas. "I have come upon a unique song... and I transcribe it faithfully. Only a cowboy could have produced such an effusion. It has the earmark of entire genuineness."

: : : : : : : As I walked out one morning for pleasure,
: : : : : : : I met a cowpuncher a-jogging along.
: : : : : : : His hat was thrown back and his spurs was a-jingling,
: : : : : : : And as he advanced he was singing this song.
: : : : : : : (Chorus)
: : : : : : : Sing hooplio get along my little dogies,
: : : : : : : For Wyoming shall be your new home.
: : : : : : : It's hooping and yelling and cursing those dogies,
: : : : : : : To our misfortune but none of your own.

: : : : : : : It's pronounced doe-gies.

: : : : : : For over half a century I thought "a long little doggy" was a dachshund.

: : : : : Thanks to Word Camel for a rendering of the text which is more complete and possibly more accurate than the version that I posted to this site a few months back. In the third verse, which I did not post, perhaps gipsom = jimson. (Gypsum is not a plant, although I once had a friend who worked at a gypsum plant.) Jimson weed or dattura is a poisonous plant considered dangerous to animals and humans. Because its poison is a mood-altering drug, it is sometimes deliberately ingested by humans. A CSI episode graphically expounded its dangerous effects. Naturally I have some in my garden. Choya is sometimes spelled cholla. I have no idea what 'sanders refers to. There are different versions of the text, but with only minor variations. There are at least two very different tunes to which the text has been set. In the U.S., heifers and calves are not precisely synonymous, although the categories overlap. Heifers, of course, are always female, which calves are not. I like the sentence, "Get a long little doggie," with its suggestion of humor based on a pun. Saying "Git along, little dogie" is not actually meant as the equivalent of "Shoo!" since the calves are not expected to be moved by whatever you might say. There may be some Greek name for an exhortation spoken but not intended to be heard, let along understood, but I don't know one. SS

: : : : One last remark: I expect that loapin' is the same as loping (or lopin'). I can't easily, however, picture these calves as loping very much of the way to Idaho. I'm sure that everyone reading this page knows that Idaho and Texas are at opposite ends (or edges) of the so-called "lower 48," and therefore a very long way away from each other. SS

: : : I am grateful for the correction: I am slightly puzzled by why there are so many motherless calves in the US.

: : : DFG

: : Might the reference to Idaho be some sort of cowboy humor? It seems an impossibly long way to drive cattle. By the way, what was the economics that created these big cattle drives? The incompletion of the railroads, with only a limited number of places from which to ship?

: The reason that there were so many motherless calves was that the Mexican longhorn cattle then raised in Texas were not milkers, and therefore were allowed to roam outdoors for months at a time, with no supervision. When they were rounded up for the great drive, many calves were separated from their mothers, especially if they had been weaned or were old enough to wean. Many more were separated on the long, arduous trip to Idaho or someplace else. Many had already been rounded up to be branded, so that their ownership was not a matter of dispute. On the drive it was typical for cattle from several ranches or with several owners to be driven together. The reason for the trip was sometimes to reach a railhead from which they could be sent to an Eastern slaughterhouse. (Sorry to have to mention that!) Sometimes, however, it was to deliver the cattle to a buyer in Wyoming or Kansas or Idaho who wanted to start ranching. (In later years the Hereford and Angus breeds largely replaced the less meaty longhorns on cattle ranches.) The coming of the railroad (1860s) greatly expanded the market for Texas beef cattle, and ushered in the cowboy era. It was the railroad which brought in the settlers who eventually enclosed all the formerly open range with fences, and brought the cowboy era to an end (1890s, roughly). SS

"Cowboys called motherless calves 'dogies.' The term came from the Spanish word "dogal," meaning a short rope used to keep a calf away from its mother while she was being milked." Sanders is a corruption of sand burrs.

Cattle were driven north on the Chisholm Trail, the old Western Trail, the New Western Trail, and way out on the west end, the Goodnight-Loving Trail. As the railroad headed west, to Dodge, to Hayes, to Abilene and Denver, it would pick up the cattle trails coming from Texas. Cattle were also driven to reservations to feed starving native North Americans, then called redskins or Indians.

"An article by Sharlot M. Hall in "Out West" for March, 1908, has the "beef" verses used by Lomax in 1910, in different form. Hall said it was an "Old Trail-song of the 'Eighties."

Get along, get along, little dogie,
You're going to be a beef steer by-and-by.
Your mother she was raised way down in Texas,
Where the jimson weed and sand-burrs grow;
Now we'll fill you up on prickly pear and cholla,
Till you're ready for the trail to Idaho.
Oh! you'll be soup for Uncle Sam's Injuns;
It's "Beef, heap beef" you hear 'em cry;
Get along, get along, little dogie,
For the Injuns they'll eat you by-and-by."

There's another lovely song, Night Herding Song by Harry Stephens which was adapted by Woody Guthrie;

Lay down, little dogies, lay down.
We've both got to sleep on this cold, cold ground.
The wind's blowin' colder and the sun's goin' down.
So lay yourselves down, little dogies, lay down.