Dog Idioms | List of Dog Idioms With Meaning and Examples

Dog Idioms: The best friend of an individual is undoubtedly their dogs. In the English language, there exist numerous dog phrases that are often used by us as well.

All the dog idioms with meaning are often used in regular conversations, and people may get confused between the dog idioms and sayings since the list of common dog idioms and phrases is enormous.

It becomes pretty difficult for many to remember all the funny dog idioms and common dog idioms with their correct meanings and uses.

Enrich your Vocabulary by practicing the English Idioms that are commonly used in everyday conversations and understand their actual meaning.

Hence, for your ease of remembrance, we have put together a list of dog idioms with meanings and examples that will increase your knowledge and help you become a fluent user of these idioms.

Names of Dog idioms

List of Dog Idioms

Meaning and Examples of some commonly used Dog Idioms

A shaggy dog story

Meaning: The above expression refers to a long and never-ending story or humorous joke because of its absurd theories and illogical situations.

Example: The plot of the movie before the interval was constructed well, but it became a shaggy dog story after the break.

In the doghouse

Meaning: Being in a situation where someone is angry or annoyed at someone because of the latter’s wrongdoings and mistakes.

Example: Jennifer is in the doghouse for breaking Phoebe’s favorite vase.

Dressed up like a dog’s dinner

Meaning: Refers to overdressed as their costume is overbearingly absurd or decorative for the setting.

Example: Clara told her friends that even though it was a subtle lunch party, Emily was dressed up like a dog’s dinner, which was very embarrassing.

Barking up the wrong tree

Meaning: When an individual pursues a wrong path or misguided line of action and wastes their efforts.

Example: Julie tells Sam that he is barking up the wrong tree since cajoling her will not be promoted.

You can’t teach an old dog a new trick

Meaning: The above expression indicates that attempting to teach somebody new ways or changing their pattern of behavior is almost impossible and highly challenging.

Example: Michael will never learn to use the computer as he always keeps saying that “You can’t teach an old dog a new trick.”

Every dog has its day

Meaning: There will make a point in everyone’s life where everyone will receive happiness and fortune.

Example: When she finally passed the exam and even stood second, she understood that every dog has its day and celebrated.

Gone to the dogs

Meaning: This expression refers to a situation that is becoming worse and awful.

Example: The Italian cuisine of my favorite restaurant has gone to the dogs.

As sick as a dog

Meaning: The expression is used to describe extremely ill and feels very unpleasant and uncomfortable.

Example: Last night, Priya had consumed too much alcohol, and now she is sick as a dog and has to skip office.

Like a dog with a bone

Meaning: This term is used when an individual gets hooked onto a subject or an issue and refuses to stop until they are over with it or found a solution.

Example: Please don’t be like a dog with a bone and stop thinking or talking about your ex-wife.

It’s a dog life

Meaning: A complicated, monotonous, and miserable existence

Example: With this deadly virus taking away lives everywhere, it’s a dog’s life every day.

Tail wagging the dog

Meaning: A phrase used to specify a situation where someone or something powerful and important is being controlled by someone or something weak and small.

Example: Davis is so lucky. Even though he joined a week ago, he is already bossing around just like a tail wagging the Dog.

Someone’s bark is worse than their bite

Meaning: The above expression indicates that even though someone says frightening and hostile things, they may never do something to hurt the other person.

Example: The boss kept threatening his juniors by saying he would fire them, but everyone knew that his bark was a lot worse than his bite.

Let sleeping dogs lie

Meaning: Do not bring up matters that are causing no issues at the moment but may spark controversy if brought up.

Example: Please stop bringing up the topic of their divorce and let sleeping dogs lie.

Dog Idioms List


As mean as a junkyard dog

Meaning: An idiom inferring that an individual is downright savage, harsh, cruel, and vicious.

Example: The neighbor was a junkyard dog and never allowed the little children to play inside his vast garden.

Like a dog with two tails

Meaning: Used to refer to someone extremely happy and delighted.

Example: Sam acted like a dog with two tails when Jeremy said he would be joining him on the road trip.

A dog’s breakfast

Meaning: Used to denote something that is done very poorly and messily.

Example: The meeting was highly crucial for the company, but Kim did not pay attention, and hence the presentation turned out to be a dog’s breakfast.


Meaning: A person or group of people are predicted to lose since they are less competent and have a significantly less chance of success.

Example: Everyone believed that college team to be the underdogs, yet they won the match with ease.

Puppy dog eyes

Meaning: A facial expression that represents naive and childlike innocence and naivety.

Example: Damon put up his innocent face along with his famous puppy dog eyes and escaped from getting scolded by his mother.

Dog days

Meaning: A phrase that refers to the warm and hot climate during which everyone feels lethargic and inactive.

Example: Diana sighed heavily since she has to push herself and go to the office throughout the week, even when it feels like dog days.


Meaning: Refers to books or other things whose corners are turned down or are torn as a result of overuse.

Example: Even though Mira used her copy of Pride and Prejudice with the utmost care, after some years, it became dog-eared.

Hot dogging

Meaning: The phrase refers to performing daring and stunning shows in front of people to brag and impress others.

Example: As soon as the group of girls arrived, Joey started hot-dogging on his roller skates.

A dog and pony show

Meaning: To put up an elaborate and spectacular presentation, especially for promoting a specific campaign and gaining public attention.

Example: The college students pulled off a great dog and pony show for their donation campaign, but the sponsors seemed slightly disappointed with the service.

Raining cats and dogs

Meaning: The expression is used to specify heavy rain that has no signs of stopping.

Example: “Ugh!” Julia was frustrated since It was sunny the entire time, but the moment I stepped out of my house, it started to rain cats and dogs.

A glory hound

Meaning: It refers to someone who is seeking glory, praise, and fame.

Example: Dave is such a glory hound; he does nothing and yet wants to reach success.

That dog won’t hunt

Meaning: It is used to state that the proposed idea will not work, so there’s no need to waste time on it.

Example: That Dog won’t hunt; think of something more realistic.

List of DOg Idiom

Fighting like cats and dogs

Meaning: Consistently and constantly fighting with each other

Example: I don’t understand the siblings; fighting like cats and dogs the whole time.

Dog eat dog

Meaning: A ruthless and brutal competition or situation where the opponents, in order to succeed, are willing to harm each other.

Example: The world we’re living in is a dog-eat-dog world.

Dog’s chance

Meaning: Having a very little or tiny chance.

Example: Andrew knew he had a dog’s chance Of her saying yes, but still, he went down on his knees and proposed to Angela.

Work like a dog

Meaning: To work very hard and diligently.

Example: For studying medicine and pursuing a doctorate, one needs to work like a dog.

Run with the big dogs

Meaning: To affirm that an individual is qualified and comfortable competing with people at the highest level.

Example: Arthur ramped up his swimming skills, landed the first position, and now is in the run with the big dogs.

Bought a pup

Meaning: Buying something worthless or not as good as one expected with too much money.

Example: The pair of shoes and the dress looked stunning online, but when it arrived, Sara realized she had bought a pup.

See a man about a dog

Meaning: This phrase is used when an individual leaves without disclosing any information about the place they went.

Example: Last night it was the situation of seeing a man about a dog since Travis’s left the party suddenly leaving everyone astonished.

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

Meaning: The phrase states that it is more desirable to be the head of a less distinguished group than to be a follower of an outstanding and more honorable group.

Example: Rose decided to start her café than be a worker at a renowned café since it is always better to be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion.

Dogs of war

Meaning: Refers to the destruction and havoc caused by both sides during a military conflict.

Example: The dogs of war are feasting upon the country of Syria.

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