Earlier this evening, I was trying to tell someone, "I don't care who wins the Superbowl this year. I don't have a-"

I could't remember how to complete this saying (to mean I don't have a personal interest in the outcome of a particular contest, debate, or game).

I don't have a stake in this game.

That's the closest I can come up with, but I seem to remember there's an animal-related version as well. Internet searches have not been helpful. "A pig at this market" maybe?

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    Clearly, the answer is "I don't have a snake on this plane."
    – corsiKa
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 23:59
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    I think it's relevant to point out that in this situation Google does a good job at finding possibilities, if you surround the phrase in quotes " and use an asterisk * for missing words: goo.gl/9aj4SE Ignoring this page which is the top result, the two suggestions in the accepted answer are the next two results (for me at least). Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 11:26
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    @AndrewChinery Huh, that's super cool. I thought I was an expert googler, but I didn't know you could do that :). Incidentally, for me at the moment, horse in the race is #2, dog in the fight is #4. #3 wins for best tortured metaphor: "I don't have a pony in this race since I don't have a cat." And #5 is equally and similarly odd: "I don't have a dog in this cat fight." What? :D Also amusing, page 2 of the search is full of random SO posts that had this title in their text via "hot network posts".
    – neminem
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 16:39
  • "I don't have a hash in this pool" might be the modern crypto version, but there's also the mixed metaphorical "I don't have a gun in this knife fight" which alludes to bringing an inappropriate but effective solution to a problem Commented Jul 6, 2023 at 20:56

4 Answers 4


There are two similar phrases for this. One is "I don't have a horse in this race" and another is "I don't have a dog in this fight." Both mean basically what you said--that the person saying the phrase doesn't personally have anything at stake in a situation.

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    Good thing they chose dog fighting for the second one. “I don’t have a cock in that fight” might be misinterpreted … Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 1:13
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    @JanusBahsJacquet - "I don't have a cock in this pit".
    – Erik Kowal
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 5:00
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    These are the exact two phrases I thought of when I saw the title to this question. Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 14:13
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    @JanusBahsJacquet: That's a sword fight. Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 21:36
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    I thought of "I don't have a dog in this race", which is how I believe I've heard it most often said in the UK - dog-racing is far more common than dog-fighting there. But now I'm wondering if this form might be seen as an incorrect mangling of the other two two forms, like "easy as cake" or "piece of pie". Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 0:02

I believe that the Texas/Southern U.S. version of the expression is "I don't have a dog in this [or that] hunt," meaning that the speaker doesn't have a rooting interest. The expression is sometimes used to emphasize the disinterested status of the speaker prior to his or her offering advice or commentary on the subject of the "hunt" in question. The speaker's claimed lack of any ulterior motives as an observer supposedly enhances the reliability of the advice or comments offered.

The expression "I don't have a dog in this hunt" sounds folksy enough to be a genuine old-timey expression, but a Google Books search suggests that it is a recent, faux folksy saying, along the same lines as calling someone "all [cowboy] hat and no cattle." Google Books finds one (relatively) early example from 1994 and another from either 1994 or 1995 (judging from the references it makes to O.J. Simpson's impending murder trial, which took place in 1995). From U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Regulation, Business Opportunities, and Technology, Problems in Securing Informed Consent of Subjects in Experimental Trial of Unapproved Drugs and Devices (May 23, 1994):

Mr. COMBEST. I had one more question. We have a saying in Texas that I don't have a dog in that hunt, which I don't. I don't have a bias in this one way or the other. We are just trying to find out the total details so we can come up with hopefully some positive suggestions.

From Instauration, volumes 19–20 (1994–1995) [combined snippets]:

How many Majority folk are players in this game? Well, there's Nicole. Mmmm, who else is there? The only other Majority female I'm aware of is Judge Ito's white wife. Everybody else is either black or Jewish. If you're a white male, you don't have a dog in this hunt. Might as well just sit back and enjoy the spectacle.

The next Google Books match is from U.S. Congress, House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, Subcommittee on Civil Service, Government Shutdown One (1997) [combined snippets]:

I thank the distinguished chairman and members of the subcommittee. I will submit my written testimony and try to paraphrase it. Like Mr. Browder, I don't have many Federal employees. I'm not near the nation's capital. So, in one sense, I don't have a dog in this hunt. But in the sense that I represent 600,000 taxpayers, I think I do have a reasonable reason to be somewhat concerned about it.

These hearings took place on December 6 and 14, 1995, and the record of the hearings was published on January 1, 1997.

None of my American slang reference books from the 1990s has an entry for "I don't have a dog in this [or that] hunt." But Google Books lists many instances of the phrase from the past fifteen years.

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    Closely related, and possibly more often used: "That dog won't hunt" and "That dog don't hunt".
    – Erik Kowal
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 6:34
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    @ErikKowal: I was just recollecting as I wrote this answer that when I lived in Texas (in the late 1970s) the phrase "That dog won't hunt" was the punchline of a rambling joke involving a fast talker who is trying to trick a country fellow into buying a worthless but expensive dog. Ann Richards (then governor of Texas) used the phrase in her keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 1988. So it appears to be at least a little older than "I don't have a dog in this hunt."
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 7:01
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    @Erik: I don't think so. "I don't have a dog in this hunt" means I do not have any vested interest; whereas "That dog won't hunt" means the object under consideration is worn out, past its prime, not worth the price. The only relation is that the words 'dog' and 'hunt' are used in both.
    – cobaltduck
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 13:04
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    +1 for good citations, and because I learned something. I've never heard the saying in five years in Texas. Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 6:47
  • As a born-and-bred Texan, I don't recall ever hearing "a dog in this hunt." Must be one of those things that's just escaped me. My cousin raises dogs to hunt hogs--I'd go with him but I hate running. :-P
    – miltonaut
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 0:14

Perhaps you were looking for:

I don't have any skin in the game

meaning I have no vested interest in the outcome.

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    Generally, "skin in the game" refers to a vested, financial interest, as you've noted. This question refers to a common expression that speaks more to rooting interest than financial stakes. (Though it can apply to financial stakes as well, it doesn't neccesarily imply them, as your answer does.) Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 14:54
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    @lesspop_morefizz "horse in the race" and "dog in the fight" both connote a financial stake as well. ask your bookie why this is.
    – Erich
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 22:25

The actual meaning you are looking for is "I don't have an interest in this matter." but the everyday term would be "I don't have a dog in this fight". This refers to dog fights and fighting where you are not competing at all, none of the dogs are yours. Other answers seem tortured in their use. The history may well go back to hunt rather than fight but I've never heard it used.

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