As Fit as a Butchers Dog – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you feeling fit and healthy? You could say you feel “as fit as a butcher’s dog.” This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


The expression “fit as a butcher’s dog” means you’re feeling healthy and well. A butcher’s dog feeds on the scraps of leftover meat from his master customers. As a result, he’s well-fed, well-nourished, and always full of energy and vigor.

Example Usage

“I’m feeling as fit as a butcher’s dog, thank you very much. I’ve been working out, and I’m in the best shape of my life right now.”

“If someone tells you they feel as fit as a butcher’s dog, they are healthy and in good spirits. It’s the same as saying I feel as fit as a fiddle.”

“Kim asked me how I was feeling today. I told her I was as fit as a butcher’s dog. The rings under my eyes are just from a lack of iron in my diet.”

“If you’re feeling good, you must be as fit as a butcher’s dog. There’s no need for you to be taking all those vitamins every day. They’re only holding you back.”

“I just had a consultation with the doctor. He said my blood pressure is good, and my bloodwork results show I have low cholesterol. I’m as fit as a butcher’s dog.”

“I remember my days as a young boy, playing all day in the fields. I was as fit as a butcher’s dog in those times and ready for anything the world threw at me.”

“I was once as fit as a butcher’s dog, but this pneumonia is slowly killing me. I wish I still had my health.”


The expression “fit as a butcher’s dog” originates from the early 1800s. Its early iteration, “like a butcher’s dog,” appears in “Lexicon Balatronicum: A Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence,” published by Francis Grose in 1811, where it reads as follows.

“To be like a butcher’s dog, that is, lie by the beef without touching it; a simile often applicable to married men.”

However, this phrase is somewhat unrelated to the modern saying, “fit as a butcher’s dog.” The current version of the expression first appears in print in the English newspaper “The Guardian” in an article published in February 1970 regarding theatre director Peter Dews. It reads as follows.

“Got married… went back to Bradford to play ‘King Lear’ on me honeymoon and came back to Birmingham fit as a butcher’s dog.” The phrase came into the media limelight in 2020 after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson used it to describe his robust health after contracting the coronavirus.

Phrases Similar to As Fit as a Butchers Dog

  • Fit as a fiddle.
  • Feeling fine and dandy.

Phrases Opposite to As Fit as a Butchers Dog

  • Sick as a dog.
  • Under the weather.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • As fit as a butchers dog.
  • Smiling like a butcher’s dog.

Ways People May Say As Fit as a Butchers Dog Incorrectly

The phrase has nothing to do with a butcher’s dog or canine health. It’s a way of describing human health, fitness, and well-being. Using the phrase to refer to a dog owned by a butcher is incorrect.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase As Fit as a Butchers Dog

You can use the phrase “fit as a butcher’s dog” to describe how you feel fit and healthy. Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently used the saying in media during the coronavirus pandemic to describe his health and well-being after contracting the pathogen.

If you’re as healthy as a butcher’s dog, it means you feel 100% well, and there’s nothing wrong with you. The phrase is somewhat outdated, and not many people outside the baby boomer generation and the British Isles use the expression. The term suits professional and social use as a reply to someone asking you how you feel and your health status.

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