A watchdog originally referred to a dog's job, but now has been used in additional contexts with the same implication of watching or safeguarding:
- For the dog's job, see guard dog.
- In computer programming there are watchdog timers.
- A watchdog is also an informal name given to consumer protection organisations or campaigners. Their aim is to highlight criminality and poor service provided by companies and public bodies. In the UK, there is a long-running BBC TV programme called Watchdog that fills such a role.
- The phrase watchdog journalism is a more popular term that applies to the above statement. It applies to any media, although it is regularly applied to newspaper and TV journalists actively engaged in watchdog activities. This term is rapidly being expanded to encompass internet bloggers who are taking up the cause of watchdog.