“The Twenty Pound Dog”


"My name it is (Michael McCarthy) and I live in this town of renown, I made a bet with one Terrence Mahaffey that my bulldog could wallop the town." But Murphy's dog kills the singer's dog. He cries for vengeance


I found an online reference to this song, stating that it was widely known in the nineteenth century as a result of a decision in Britain to ban sports such as bear-baiting. Those who liked the blood sports turned to fighting dogs, since they were smaller and more normally kept as pets.

According to the site, bulldogs were the typical breed used for this purpose -- but their lack of mobility made the fights uninteresting. So other breeds were mixed in to produce the pit bull. This does seem to fit well with the song, since the dog Murphy wins the fight with has terrier blood. - RBW


  1. Dean, pp. 68-69, "The Twenty Pound Dog" (1 text)
  2. Roud #3495
  3. BI, Dean068B


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1922 (Dean)
Keywords: dog fight revenge
Found in: US(MW)