Old dogs rarely change their spots

Sometimes my malaphor scouts come across a juicy one in one of the books they are reading.  That’s what happened when Steve Hubbard discovered this gem in the “Hour Game” by David Baldacci.  Sean King, a major character in the book, utters this mash up:

“If I told you we had information they’d had a knock-down-drag-out three or four years ago over Bobby’s sleeping around, would that surprise you?”  “No. He had that reputation. Some people thought he was over it, but old dogs rarely change their spots.”

This is a mash up of  “a leopard doesn’t change its spots” (a person’s character, especially if it is bad, will not change, even if they pretend it has)  and ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” (it is difficult to make someone change the way they do something when they have been doing it the same way for a long time).  Both expressions describe people set in their ways, making this a congruent conflation.  And of course Mr. King was referring to that old two timin’ dog Bobby.  Thanks again to Steve Hubbard for passing this one along!

Dalmatian The Black Spotted Dog