I’m sure a more dedicated search would throw up an even greater diversity of uses.
But where did the term come from?
Dogs compete in various classes, the winners of which go on to compete in successively higher levels until “best in breed” is found. The breeds can then compete with each other in further rounds until a “best in show” is reached. At a very prestigious event, such as Crufts, I guess it’s equivalent to winning the Best Movie Oscar of the dog world.
Apart from the oddness of comparing your plumbing service to a dog, it’s a rather meaningless use of the term. In the dog world the breeds are standardised and defined by various kennel clubs, in the business world there is no such standardisation.
This means that each company could define the breed they were competing in so narrowly that they are the best.
Next time a marketing manager talks about being best in breed ask him why he’s going to the dogs.
This post was inspired by Mirverburg on twitter, if you’ve got a term you’d like to see exposed comment here, or tweet me @changememe