No horse in the race and no dog in the fight

No horse in the race and no dog in the fight are idioms that may not be as old as you think. We will examine the meaning of the common idioms no horse in the race and no dog in the fight, where they came from, and some examples of their idiomatic usage in sentences.

The idioms no horse in the race and no dog in the fight mean that one has no vested interest in the outcome of a certain situation; the person has no stake in the matter. The phrases refer to the fact that if one does not have a monetary interest or point of pride involved in a contest, then the outcome of that contest is of no interest. The expressions no horse in the race and no dog in the fight are found in print mostly in the United States starting in the latter-20th century; however, the idioms were most probably popular in colloquial use before that time. Today, the terms are particularly popular in business and politics and their popularity is rising.

Examples

While his journalistic background includes food writing (he’s a former editor of Eating Well magazine), Mr. Estabrook poses as a dietary Everyman: no expert scientific or medical knowledge and no investment in any one regimen: “I had no horse in the race other than my rotund belly.” (Wall Street Journal)

In a Wednesday afternoon email, Tindall wrote that Tennessee officials told HMG that it had “no horse in the race” and that “unblinding was solely a Pfizer decision.“ (Kingsport Times-News)

Real Raw News calls itself apolitical – “we have no dog in the fight, as they say” – but it peddles pro-Trump conspiracy theories about the military’s pursuit of former Vice President Mike Pence and Trump writing an indictment of former U.S. Attorney General William Barr. (USA Today)

It is encouraging however to see that others who may have no dog in the fight have been more rational. (Sierra Leone Telegraph)