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The Canine in Conversation
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dog anatomy diagram


dog's bollocks. The very best, like the bee's knees.reference 1

This is hardly an American expression, but attentive viewers of the 77th Academy Awards had some exposure when Andrea Arnold won an Oscar in the short film category for Wasp, the story of a single mother living on relief. She used the phrase effusively to describe her feelings of pleasure at the moment. What exactly are bollocks, you may be asking yourself. A variant of ballock, bollocks refers to testicles. This may be why the BBC when reporting Ms. Arnold's remarks, quoted her saying she was “totally overwhelmed,” but omitted this more colorful comment.reference 2

The phrase turned up again in US television in 2007, again delivered with a distinct British accent. In the Boston Legal episode, “The Chicken and the Leg,” character Katie Lloyd (Tara Summers) says to her fellow attorney, “You’re the dog’s bollocks, that’s what you are. Fantastic!”reference 3

Now you know what the phrase means; why dog testicles are a metaphor for the very best probably remains a tad bit murkier.



1. The Oxford English Dictionary Online. 2005. 3d ed. Oxford University Press. Accessed Mar 6 2005 from http://

2. British Stars Denied Major Oscars. 2005. (UK ed.). BBC News. Accessed Mar 6 2005 from http:// 1/hi/ entertainment/film/ 4303301.stm.

3. Bagdonas, James and D. E. Kelley and L. Broch. 2007. The Chicken and the Leg. In Boston Legal. ABC. Oct 9.
About the illustration: Few diagrams of canine anatomy include genitals. Apparently they are not an aspect of appearance for which the various breeds have standards of conformance. Illustration by the author. Last updated: April 1, 2008