Dog Idioms

I did a post not too long ago about cat idioms. Cats are very popular pets, but cats still have a long way to go before they become known as “man’s best friend.” So, to be fair to our “best friends,” here is a sample of some dog idioms in English. Enjoy!



attack dogDog eat dog

This phrase means that something is very mean and cruel. Maybe people are only thinking about themselves.

Examples: It’s a dog eat dog world out there! He did not like the dog eat dog environment at work, because it was too competitive.


You can’t teach an old dog new

This means that it is hard to change something if it has been done a certain way for a long time.

Example: My dad still doesn’t have a cell phone. I guess you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.


street-performing-dogAll bark and no bite

The image is of a dog that is barking loudly as you get near, maybe even showing its teeth, but when you get close, the dog is not as mean as it looks and won’t bite you. This idiom means that something seems very dangerous or risky, but the actual risk is low.

Jack: My boss said he will fire me if I am late to work again.
Naomi: Don’t worry! Your work is too important for him to fire you over that! The boss is all bark and no bite.


Sick as a dogsick dog

This expression is used to say that someone was very sick or ill.

Example: Lorena can’t come to work today because she is sick as a dog. She can’t even leave her bed!


lap dog(Be) a lap dog

The image is of an obedient dog, sitting on his master’s lap. This is used to describe someone who is very eager to please a person in a higher position. Usually, the “lap dog” is only doing this in order to get a better position too. Maybe it is a coworker who wants a promotion who is always jumping up to get your boss coffee.

Example: My coworker is probably going to get promoted, even though he doesn’t deserve it! He is such a lap dog.

I hope you enjoyed this list. Of course, there are many more dog idioms out there, but this should help you get started!
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