Posted by ESC on May 13, 2000
In Reply to: Keep a dog and bark yourself posted by Bernard Wallace on May 12, 2000
: I believe it means to do what you've arranged, or paid, another to do, but what is the origin.
From "A Dictionary of American Proverbs" by Wolfgang Mieder & Others (Oxford University Press, New York, 1992): "No sense in keepin' a dog when doin' your own barking' Var.(variation): I will not keep a dog and bark myself. Rec. dist.(Recorded distribution): Miss., N.Y., Vt. 1st cit.: 1583 Melbancke, 'Philotimus'; US1791 'Thoughts on Proverbs in Universal Asylum. 20c coll. (20th century collections: ODEP (Oxford Dictionary of English Proverbs) 416..."