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Dog Idioms

Updated on September 17, 2014

What is an idiom

There are a number of idioms that are related to dogs and some are derogatory or negative, but some however can be positive and complimentary.

An idiom is a phrase or an expression that cannot be taken literally.

When you use an idiom in everyday language, then it has a different meaning than the basic meaning or definition of the words as found in a dictionary.

An example of this might be "break a leg." If taken literally, then you are being told to break your leg. However, this phrase, or idiom is often used by actors to say "Do well" before they go out on stage.

I hope that enjoy this lens as much as I have in putting it together.

Dog Idiom

Number One

"As Sick as a Dog"

A way of saying that someone is very sick / ill.

"Done up like a dog's dinner"

Wearing clothes that are over the top - usually too fussy or silly for the event being attended.

Small Dog Big Bone
Small Dog Big Bone

Dog Idiom

Number Three

"Be like a dog with a bone."

To be relentless, to never stop.

In The Dog House

A way of saying that a person is in trouble.

Dog Idiom

Number Five

"Tail Wagging The Dog"

meaning that a small part is controlling the whole of something.

"Love me Love my Dog."

A way of saying that you should love everything, and accept everything about the person you love.

Dog Idiom

Number seven

"As Mean as a Junk Yard Dog."

A way of saying that a person is very mean.

Dog Does Not Eat Dog"

Meaning: not to turn on your own kind. Usually associated with someone disreputable.

Dog Idiom

Number nine

"Better the head of a dog than the tail of a lion"

A way of a saying that it is better to be the leader of a small or low ranking group, than be a subordinate in a higher or more prestigious group.

Dog Idioms - from BBC Learning English - YouTube

Dog Idiom

Number ten

"A Dogs Breakfast"

When something is done very badly.

Dog Idiom

Number eleven

"A Shaggy Dog Story!"

Meaning: a story that can be funny, but usually ends up being ridiculously lengthy.

"Every Dog Has its Day."

A way of expressing that it is inevitable that everyone will have at least one moment of glory in their lifetime.


A way of saying that someone is at a disadvantage and likely to lose a contest.

Dog Days - Idiom
Dog Days - Idiom

Dog Idiom

Number fourteen

"Dog Days."

Some say that there is a star called the "dog star" that can only be seen during a hot period of summer.

Barking Up The Wrong Tree.

Meaning: to be pursuing an incorrect course of action.

dog idioms
dog idioms

Dog Idiom

Number sixteen

"To See a Man about a Dog."

A way of saying that you do not really want to tell them where you are going.

"If You Lie Down With Dogs, You Get Up With Fleas."

A way of issuing a warning to someone - to say that if they do dangerous things they will have to suffer the consequence.

"A Dog and Pony Show.."

To lay on an elaborate presentation with the hope of gaining approval for something such as a product.

"A Barking Dog Never Bites."

A way of saying that a person who makes constant threats, rarely carries them out.

"Be Like a Dog With Two Tails."

To be very happy.

Please take a few moments to leave feedback on my lens - always welcomed

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    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 4 years ago

      @HappyTom LM: Thank you.

    • HappyTom LM profile image

      Tom Christen 4 years ago from Switzerland/Ecuador

      A great lens, thank you very much for sharing.

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 4 years ago

      @knit1tat2: Thank you.

    • knit1tat2 profile image

      knit1tat2 4 years ago

      some of these I've heard but with different animals in the saying, still, no matter how say it, dogs are usually great people! Thanks for a cute lens, always nice to get smile!

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 4 years ago

      @bossypants: Thank you.

    • bossypants profile image

      bossypants 4 years ago from America's Dairyland

      I hadn't heard someo f these. Very educational! And, great pictures, too!

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 4 years ago

      @Lady Lorelei: Thank you.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      I'm shocked that I have not heard many of these dog idioms before (where the heck have I been?) Seriously this is one ridiculously cute article and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit.

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 4 years ago

      @lionmom100: Thank you. Pugs can be really cute - but they can also look mean if provoked...

    • profile image

      lionmom100 4 years ago

      I love these dog idioms. I was really amused by the pug being paired with Mean as a junk yard dog." Lol

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you - its always good to spread a little joy.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Its always fun to visit one of your lenses. :)

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 4 years ago

      @Loretta L: Thank you.

    • alenmic profile image

      alenmic 4 years ago

      Thanks for great lens...

    • Loretta L profile image

      Loretta Livingstone 4 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

      Another great lens.

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 4 years ago

      @alenmic: Thank you for the visit and comment - always appreciated.

    • alenmic profile image

      alenmic 4 years ago

      @beaworkathomemom: yes,i do, too..but how can a dog bark when it's biting?...^^..just kidding......

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 4 years ago

      @TonfaGuy: Thank you for your visit and comments.

    • TonfaGuy profile image

      TonfaGuy 4 years ago

      great lens. thanks.

    • beaworkathomemom profile image

      beaworkathomemom 4 years ago

      Great lens. I agree with the idiom "A barking dog never bites".

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I hadn't heard of "Be like a dog with two tails." before, fun!

    • gatornic15 profile image

      gatornic15 5 years ago

      Great lens!

    • Camden1 profile image

      Camden1 5 years ago

      I couldn't even remember what an idiom was until I read your definition - it's been waaaayyy too long since English 101! Great lens!

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      DebMartin 5 years ago

      I love these. And all the dog images. Well done. d

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 5 years ago from UK

      Love the images that you have found for these idioms. I think my favourite is the small dog barking up the wrong tree. wonderful fun and a great lens - blessed

    • CCGAL profile image

      CCGAL 5 years ago

      I love how you have found such charming images to illustrate each idiomatic expression. Very nicely done!

      My dad used to say he had to go see a man about a horse, but it makes sense using dog, too.

    • Charmcrazey profile image

      Wanda Fitzgerald 6 years ago from Central Florida

      These are so cute. You must have been collecting these sayings for a long time. Very creative lens.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wonderful lens. I really love it. Thanks for sharing. 5 stars for you :)

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 6 years ago from New York

      I really enjoyed your lens. Very clever with great graphics and images.