Does "man's best friend" exclusively refer to dogs?


Senior Member
The sentence below was written by an Australian teacher in Japan. One of my American friends said the underlined part is unnatural in this context because “man’s best friend” refers exclusively to “a dog”. Is he right? I found nothing unnatural about the expression because it is likely to include some other pets such as cats and birds.

Most people keep pets purely for the sake of companionship, but research has shown that in addition to being man`s best friend, pets possess a far greater power for their owners – the power to heal.

If what he said is right, how should the sentence be?
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  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    Your friend is right that "man's best friend" is generally used for dogs and not other animals. However, that teacher decided to use the phrase to refer to all pets. I see nothing wrong with that.

    Because the phrase refers to "pets", I would use "man's best friends" rather than "man's best friend."
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