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The Canine in Conversation
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illustration of a dog standing upright on its back legs wearing a top hat and carrying a cane
figure 1  


top dog. One who has the dominant position or highest authority, especially as a result of a competitive victory.

When the president of the American Red Cross stepped down in December of 2005 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the New York Times said the “top dog steps down...”reference 1 Here the perceived failure of the general response to the disaster may have colored the Times’ choice of descriptors.


1. Deeper Fixes at the Red Cross. 2005. New York Times, Dec 16, 40.


About the illustration: Figure 1 is not necessarily the top dog, just a dog in a tophat. © 2008 Jupiterimages Corporation.
see also: alpha male; leader of the pack; lead dog; big dog; run with the big dogs
Last updated: March 31, 2008
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