The lyrics on the Willie Mae Thornton version (as written by Lieber and Stoller) described a straying lover:
You ain't nothin' but a hound dog Stop sniffin' round my door You ain't nothin' but a hound dog Stop sniffin' round my door You can wag your tail But I ain't gonna feed you no more
Of course, black artists in the early 50s got ripped off...but there was something else happening here, as well -- the gradually growing awareness that there was a bigger market out there, and it would take smoother-edged songs to reach it.
Champion Jack Dupree's "Junker's Blues" --
They call, they call me a junker 'Cause I'm loaded all the time
was cleaned up by Fats Domino as
They call, they call me the fat man, 'Cause I weigh 200 pounds All the women they love me 'Cause I know my way around
A lot of songs of the blues and R&B era were reworkings of, or borrowings from, earlier songs, and it was not a dishonorable practice. However, Lieber and Stoller's work was original.