In Reply to: This dog don't hunt posted by ESC on November 24, 2008 at 11:10:
: : : : : What is the origin of "this dog don't hunt"?
: : : : It's modelled on the 17th-18th century phrase "that cock won't fight". In the days of cock-fighting, a cock that wouldn't fight when out into the pit was a natural metaphor for a plan or theory that simply wouldn't work. A similar sporting metaphor from horse-racing is used when we say that a plan or theory "isn't a runner". (VSD)
: : : Sounds Texan to me. There's a book title that is a variation of that expression: "This Dog'll Hunt: An Entertaining Texas Dictionary" by Wallace O. Chariton (Wordware Publishing, Piano, Texas, 1989, 1990). Also, I've heard a little background chatter on a blues record by an African American woman, "That dog'll hunt. It's going to hunt." Meaning the recording of the song was successful. Everything points south.
: : My impression is that the way you're most likely to hear the expression is "That dog won't hunt." I'd like to know if ESC means, by her phrase, "Everything points south," that eveyrhing suggests a southern origin for the saying. We have an idiom in which things "go south," and I'm sure ESC did not mean to suggest this idiom.
: : Victoria uses the expression "in the days of cock-fighting." Would that those days were over! Perhaps they are in the U.K., but not, unfortunately, in the U.S. of A.
: : SS
: I meant that I believe it originated in the southern United States.
Smokey, you may be relieved to learn that Louisiana outlawed cockfighting a little over a year ago, becoming 50th state to do so. The practice probably persists illegally in poor rural and immigrant enclaves, of course, and is still perfectly legal in many poor countries.