A dog’s breakfast and a dog’s dinner

Narrated from: Funny Dog Stories

This article has nothing to do with dog diet.

“Dog’s breakfast” and “dog’s dinner” are two curious phrases you would want to get familiar with if you are to visit the UK.

In the UK, you could hear the following comments: “Look at him, he’s all dressed up like a dog’s dinner!” or “You made a dog’s breakfast out of that!”

Nobody knows for sure what is so special about dogs’ meals, but if someone uses “dog’s dinner” in a conversation with you, he would not be trying to compare you with a bowl full of bones, meat and unidentified meat-like products. Here is what those sayings actually mean:
“Dog’s breakfast” – this phrase refers to a mess or muddle of some sorts. So, “you made a dog’s breakfast of that!” would actually mean “you really screwed this up!”
“Dog’s dinner” – the full phrase usually is “dressed up like a dog’s dinner.” This saying refers to a person who has dressed up for some occasion – or no occasion at all. Usually the phrase has a sardonic meaning, implying that the person has actually overdressed.

The origin of both sayings is quite unclear.

“Dog’s breakfast” probably originated in Glasgow – or at least some older dictionaries claim so. Today the phrase can be heard quite often in reference to political life – like “the bill was rejected since it was a bit of a dog’s breakfast”.

There are a lot of theories for the origin of the “dressed up like a dog’s dinner” phrase. Some people claim that it refers to the stiff collars that were the height of male fashion in the 1890s – and actually looked pretty much like regular dog collars! Others say that there might be a reference to a popular children’s book titled “The dog’s dinner party.”
There is even a theory that the saying is related to the Bible, pointing out the horrific demise of Queen Jezebel.

Many people believe that the comparison is due to dog meals generally being a messy concoction of different byproducts. That was true a century ago, when the phrases were created. Still, this is not the case today, is it? We try to do well for our canine companions and buy dog food from the market – but do we actually know what is in it?

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