It’s not the size of the dog in the fight it’s the size of the fight in the dog meaning


Kevin Mangelschots

It’s not the size of a dog in a fight that matters most, at least not always.

Other attributes such as being motivated to win, aggression, and being confident in your own abilities matter a lot in physical altercations as well.

Let me explain why your spirit matters more in a lot of instances rather than simply your physical strength and stature.




It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog, meaning explained

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog usually refers to a small dog attacking a bigger animal. But it is also used to describe humans as well. It can be used to describe a particular mindset as well.

It means that it is not necessarily the physical size that is the most important in combat, but rather the ferocity and one’s psychological attitude.

Aggression, confidence, psychological warfare, motivation, and a desire to win also come into play in a fight, and can even be more critical than physical attributes in an altercation.


It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog explained

Image of a small dog painted on a wall with the quote, “it's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog”.

Rather than pure size, motivation, passion, and one’s mental attitude can be even more important to win in a fight. It refers to the importance of our mental fortitude in combative situations.

Mental strength

It means that no matter how large and physically imposing an individual might be, what truly matters is the spirit inside you. That is and will be your biggest strength in life, whether it’s in a fight, or in any other aspect in your life. Someone who refuses to lose and who keeps standing back up is impossible to defeat permanently.

Nevertheless, let’s not kid ourselves, as being delusional is ultimately in nobody’s favor. Physical strength matters in a fight. A lot. But, it is in no way or shape the only factor that decides the outcome of the battle.

The right mindset

But the right mindset is what allows you to be victorious. You need conviction, toughness, and a killer mindset to win.

In a fight, you require the necessary amount of aggression to be able to hurt someone. And the capacity to hurt someone requires a very specific mindset and attitude to life that not everybody can muster.

Of course, you don’t want to be blinded by your anger and aggression, either. You must remain in control of your emotions and thoughts.

Fighting and damaging someone means you’ve got to have a very specific, self-defense focused mindset. Being overly nice and out of touch with your shadow side means that you won’t be able to fight and defend yourself, and others, when the situation calls for it.


But what do we need above all if we’re going to fight a larger person who we know can physically dominate us? Courage. And without fear, there can be no courage.

Courage does not mean fighting every battle. As a matter of fact, you should avoid as many fights as you possibly can. Every fight is a risk for your physical and mental health, with very little to gain except bragging rights and pride.

Courage is knowing which altercations you absolutely have to fight without a way out, and are worth fighting. Courage is fighting despite being scared, despite knowing that you’re physically outmatched.

Mindset applies to different situations and aspects of your life as well

If we extrapolate that same mindset to a different aspect of your life, then the same reasoning applies as well.

For example, hard times might seem impossible to overcome. You might feel like it will never pass. But, maintaining a good mindset, acting with courage, and fighting to get over the obstacles on the road in order to improve things are more important than the seemingly unsurmountable hindrances.

Being motivated, working hard, and having passion for what you do is paramount to be successful, no matter what goal you decide to pursue. In other words, a growth mindset and winning attitude are vital.

Image of the quote, “what counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog”.

Skills matter

In fighting, we’ve seen time and time again that smaller combatants can win against much bigger fighters by being more skilled and technically proficient. Other physical attributes such as speed, coordination, and flexibility matter a lot as well.

However, the larger the physical gap between two individuals, the bigger the technical gap will have to be to compensate.

In recent years, due to the increased know how and professionalism in combat sports, the skill gap has gotten increasingly less significant. This also means that it became progressively harder for the smaller man to win the fight, yet not impossible.

Quality above quantity in fighting

Quality above quantity. You’ve got to play to your strengths and to your opponent’s weaknesses.

If your adversary has almost all the physical advantages, but you’re faster, then you can still win the fight by applying your speed. You’ve got to fight on your terms, not on the terms of your opponent.


Final note

It’s not about the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog that matters most. At least in most cases. Sometimes it’s quite literally kill or be killed in order to survive.

But let’s remain objective, and try not to fool ourselves here. Size matters. And the larger someone’s physical advantages are, the more skilled you will have to be to overcome those advantages.

Of course, being more aggressive, confident, and motivated to win can also help to gain the upper hand in a fight. It’s not about the size of the dog in the fight, but rather the fight in the dog that’s most important.

Play to your strengths, be it in a fight, or in any other aspect of your life. Quality over quantity.