Dogmatic Logo
The Canine in Conversation
contents page back to last page visited reload this page prior page in site next page in site
a cartoon panel of a couple eating. In the speech balloon over her head it says, 'Wow! You really wolfed that down!' His balloon says, ' Yes...and I 'm still hungry...'
figure 1  


quick as a dog can lick a dish. Very quickly.

Dogs are notoriously aggressive eaters who can be relied on to not only eat quickly, but overeat if given the opportunity.

In the children's book Shakespeare's Scribe by Gary Blackwood the phrase is used colorfully, though somewhat anachronistically: “Before it could descend, Mr. Armin was through the curtains and across the boards. As quick as a dog can lick a dish, he had Mr. Hemminger's rapier out of its sheath and pointing to the constable's throat bole.”reference 1 In the early 17th century “hound” was still the preferred term rather than “dog.”

The phrase turns up in a number of variations.



1. Blackwood, Gary L. 2002. Shakespeare's Scribe. New York: Penguin. 60.

About the illustration: A dog, or perhaps a wolf, licking a dish. Image courtesy of Dover Publications, caption by the author. © 2008 Jupiterimages Corporation.

see also: dish dog; The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Last updated: January 13, 2009
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