— Mark Twain American author and humorist 1835 - 1910
Anonymous American proverb; since 1998 this has often been attributed to Mark Twain on the internet, but no contemporary evidence of him ever using it has been located.
It is not the size of the dog in the fight that counts, but the fight in the dog that matters.
"Stub Ends of Thoughts" by Arthur G. Lewis, a collection of sayings, in Book of the Royal Blue Vol. 14, No. 7 (April 1911), cited as the earliest known occurrence in The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs, edited by Charles Clay Doyle, Wolfgang Mieder, and Fred R. Shapiro, p. 232
It is not the size of the dog in the fight that counts, but the fight in the dog that wins.
Anonymous quote in the evening edition of the East Oregonian (20 April 1911)
What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight — it's the size of the fight in the dog.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, declaring his particular variant on the proverbial assertion in Remarks at Republican National Committee Breakfast (31 January 1958) http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=11229