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The Canine in Conversation
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a photograph of a woman whose breasts appear to be dogs' faces.
figure 1  


let the dogs out. Let loose, drop inhibitions. Go for the gold. Give it your all. Let your inner canine howl, perhaps.

Unlike loosing the hounds, letting the dogs out is usually not a matter of siccing a predator on anyone, except perhaps yourself. The phrase tends to turn up in genre fiction, especially titles aimed at a female audience. In Annabel Dilke describes a tryst in The Inheritance: “...they'd filch some strawberries and trifle from the kitchen. They could let the dogs out. They might take advantage of the empty billiards room.”

And, at times there may be a predatory, though not violent, character to the act. Chick lit author Roz Bailey serves up the line in Girls' Night Out. After one character admits that she is “dating way out of my league. Me, going out with a billionaire financier,” her friend responds, “Oooooh! I knew you'd let the dogs out!”

1. Dilke, Annabel. 2005. The Inheritance. 1st U.S. ed. New York: St. Martin's Press. 28.

2. Bailey, Roz. 2005. Girls' Night Out. New York: Kensington Books. 139.

About the illustration: Certainly the woman in this picture looks as if she is uninhibited and one could definitely say that she has let the dogs out. No doubt there are readers among you who would rather she had kept her dogs on a shorter leash. From
see also: who let the dogs out?
cf: loose the hounds; unleash; call off the dogs
Last updated: March 25, 2008
by Alec MacLeod 2001-2008  Dogmatic Technologies Oakland Creative Commons unless otherwise expressly stated, all original material of whatever nature created by Alec MacLeod and included in The Canine in Conversation and any related pages, is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Please read the Terms of Use Agreement by Alec MacLeod Dogmatic Technologies