4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

How canine became K-9

Dear Matt:

While watching TV, there was a police scene where they were waiting for the K-9 unit to arrive to track the suspect. This led me to wonder where the term/name K-9 came from to identify our canine friends in public safety.

Sponsored
Sponsored

— SFF

As far as homophones are concerned, K-9 seems a no-brainer substitute for “canine,” which is itself of Latin origin; “canis” meaning “dog” and “canine” being derived from that as an adjective for “dog-like” around the 17th Century. According to the OED, using “canine” as a noun to refer to a dog in general is a mid-19th-century development. There is a bit of anecdotal use of the term K-9 in the late 19th Century — and that’s all across the pond — but it doesn’t enter common usage until WWII. The so-called K-9 Corps of the American Army forced the term into our contemporary lexicon and the cops inherited it from there. Of course, war dogs go back to pre-Roman times (“cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!”), so K-9 units have been around forever. I’m willing to bet that the war dogs of the Roman army made the most snarlingly vicious police dog look like a service Labrador by comparison. It’s actually kind of impressive that nobody thought to string the letter K and the number 9 together a long time ago, but without a print record, it looks like the term is a 20th-century invention. By the time Jim Belushi and a German Shepherd dog filmed a scene at the Golden Hill Cafe on C Street for K-9, it was firmly entrenched in the policing lexicon. Of course, none of that helped the movie be anything but a cultural speedbump. The most enthusiastic review on Rotten Tomatoes reads, “Surprise! It’s a real dog!” And if you want to have a good chuckle, go find some online reviews of the “long-awaited” sequel, K-9 P.I.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Scripps Ranch seems so peaceful

Missile test sites, a starter home, view from Mira Mesa, neighbor complains about mooning, USIU, Scripps Trail, the 964 bus, who remembers the old days, Wal-Mart, evil eucalyptus

Dear Matt:

While watching TV, there was a police scene where they were waiting for the K-9 unit to arrive to track the suspect. This led me to wonder where the term/name K-9 came from to identify our canine friends in public safety.

Sponsored
Sponsored

— SFF

As far as homophones are concerned, K-9 seems a no-brainer substitute for “canine,” which is itself of Latin origin; “canis” meaning “dog” and “canine” being derived from that as an adjective for “dog-like” around the 17th Century. According to the OED, using “canine” as a noun to refer to a dog in general is a mid-19th-century development. There is a bit of anecdotal use of the term K-9 in the late 19th Century — and that’s all across the pond — but it doesn’t enter common usage until WWII. The so-called K-9 Corps of the American Army forced the term into our contemporary lexicon and the cops inherited it from there. Of course, war dogs go back to pre-Roman times (“cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!”), so K-9 units have been around forever. I’m willing to bet that the war dogs of the Roman army made the most snarlingly vicious police dog look like a service Labrador by comparison. It’s actually kind of impressive that nobody thought to string the letter K and the number 9 together a long time ago, but without a print record, it looks like the term is a 20th-century invention. By the time Jim Belushi and a German Shepherd dog filmed a scene at the Golden Hill Cafe on C Street for K-9, it was firmly entrenched in the policing lexicon. Of course, none of that helped the movie be anything but a cultural speedbump. The most enthusiastic review on Rotten Tomatoes reads, “Surprise! It’s a real dog!” And if you want to have a good chuckle, go find some online reviews of the “long-awaited” sequel, K-9 P.I.

Comments
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Fortunate Son: “Working class American-Chinese food”

I pause to think about how much of a staple these things have been in my life.
Next Article

Scripps Ranch seems so peaceful

Missile test sites, a starter home, view from Mira Mesa, neighbor complains about mooning, USIU, Scripps Trail, the 964 bus, who remembers the old days, Wal-Mart, evil eucalyptus
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close