Dog idioms

Here is a list of dog idioms.

As clean as a hound’s tooth

If something is as clean as a hound’s tooth, it is very clean. A hound is a hunting dog.

As crooked as a dog’s hind leg

If somebody is as crooked as a dog’s hind leg, they are very dishonest.

As sick as a dog

When you are as sick as a dog, you are very sick.

Bark is worse than bite

If someone’s bark is worse than their bite, their words are worse than their actions.

Bark up the wrong tree

To bark up the wrong tree is to put the blame on the wrong person.

Call the dogs off

To call the dogs off is to stop haunting someone.

Dog and pony show

A dog and pony show is a highly promoted, over-staged performance organized with the sole objective of impressing people. This expression has a negative connotation. It is not used to talk about a campaign that you approve of.


Used to refer to a situation where people are ready to hurt others to get what they want.

Dog in the manger

Used to refer to a person who keeps something they don’t want in order to prevent others from having it.

Every dog has his day

Used to mean that everybody will get an opportunity

Fight like cats and dogs

To fight like cats and dogs is to fight violently all the time.

Go to the dogs

If a company or a country is going to the dogs it is becoming less successful than it was.

In the doghouse

When you are in the doghouse, you are in trouble.

Lead a dog’s life

To lead a dog’s life is to lead a miserable life.

Let sleeping dogs lie

Don’t create trouble when you do not have to.

Janet: I was again late for an appointment. Should I ask the boss if he is angry about that?

Maria: If he hasn’t said anything about it, let sleeping dogs lie.

Put on the dog

To put on the dog is to wear expensive dresses.

To put on the dog is to try to appear richer than you are.

Rain cats and dogs

To rain cats and dogs is to rain very hard.

A shaggy dog story

A long and pointless story

The tail is wagging the dog

When the tail is wagging the dog, a person who occupies an insignificant position controls everything in an organization.

Top dog

The top dog is the most important person in a company.

Work like a dog

To work like a dog is to work very hard.

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks