Tag Archives: dog and pony show

Dog and pony show?

Today, in conversation, I used the term ‘dog and pony show’ as in ‘David and Larry are going to do a dog and pony show on xxx.’  And then I got a question I didn’t expect – ‘what does that mean?’

The term dates back to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when there were many traveling circuses to entertain.    It was often the dog and pony show that was promoted as a headline act.

dog and pony show
Quite literally, this was when dogs and ponies/horses would perform together – often wearing costumes and decorations.

As time has gone on, ‘to do a dog and pony show’ means to publicize a presentation that is designed to impress or sell a product.  It’s debatable about whether the saying is one of scorn – some dog and pony shows could be well-researched and professional as well as glitzy, others not.

The dog days of August and other sayings

We’re in the Dog Days of August (northern hemisphere), or so my mother always said.  So where did this saying come from?  Well, it always referred to the hot days of summer when the heat tends to be greatest and with little breeze or wind.  And the dog connection came from the belief that Sirius, the Dog Star,  was responsible for the weather because of its close proximity to the sun.

What are some other common dog sayings?

Dog and Pony Show  used when you are putting on a display to convince people of a product or service; it comes from the traveling circus days when dogs and ponies often shared the show ring

Like a Dog with a Bone when someone won’t let go of a subject, and referring to the possessiveness of dogs when chewing on a bone

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie which means not to talk about things that have caused problems in the past – clearly referring to the surprise you may get when disturbing a deeply sleeping dog!

And of course The Top Dog referring to pack order and the person who is the highest in rank or importance