Why do people dock dogs tails?

asked 2015-05-19 17:35:25 -0600

Is this just strictly a breed standard thing or are there any health benefits to docking a dogs tail?

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Tail docking, depending on the breed and dog involved, can absolutely be necessary. Certain dogs with long, whippy tails can wag them so vigorously that they actually break and/or split the tail open ("happy tail" syndrome). Some working dogs are docked to prevent injury for similar reasons.

Robyn F.'s profile image Robyn F.  ( 2015-07-29 12:43:05 -0600 ) edit

I agree, for dogs with "happy tail" syndrome there are definite benefits.

Abby H.'s profile image Abby H.  ( 2015-08-17 10:17:51 -0600 ) edit

Anyone who would cause a dog unnecessary severe pain & trauma by docking a boxer's tail, cropping a great dane's ears, etc., for purely cosmetic reasons or their own convenience, should be subjected to removal one of their own body parts~! Disgusting; cruel. Do your homework 1st! Many breeds "need" neither. Unneccessary & cruel~!

Doris H.'s profile image Doris H.  ( 2015-10-14 07:12:18 -0600 ) edit

I have a 5 year old pit bull who is the love of my life. I chose not to get his tail docked as a pup because I thought it was cruel. Boy was I WRONG! As a 5 year old, he is always breaking open the tip from vigorous happy wagging. He can easily leave a welt on a leg and knock over my grandson

Christine S.'s profile image Christine S.  ( 2017-05-02 11:33:11 -0600 ) edit


Melissa R.'s profile image Melissa R.  ( 2017-08-18 16:06:02 -0600 ) edit

7 Answers

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answered 2015-07-27 17:15:40 -0600

Today, tail docking is more cosmetic than anything. Breeds like dobermans, German shorthairs, and other dogs where the breed standard has docked tails, it's just to get the classic look. It can be used for practical use still, like hunting and herding, but that's not very common. I have an English pointer that has broken his tail so many times, that getting it docked might have been better for him, but on the other hand, my German shorthair had a botched docking and now the fur won't grow over where it was docked. It's completely owner preference at this point.

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answered 2015-05-19 18:59:17 -0600

Some advocates claim there are some benefits to working dogs like cattle dogs and Aussies, or some hunting dogs. The idea is that the tail is prone to damage due to their line of work. However, I've seen studies done showing that the incidence of tail injury in undocked dogs are lower than the incidence of surgical complications for docked dogs, meaning that more problems are caused by docking than are prevented.

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answered 2015-08-26 15:31:55 -0600

I agree that it is usually aesthetic or tradition. I had two Border Collies with tails that did some shepherding. I then got a Mini Aussie from a local breeder but I wanted to keep his tail since my BCs ad theirs. When the Mini Aussie got older his tail started curling over his back. By then I did not have sheep for him to herd anymore but I could tell that if his tail got caught in some sticker bushes it could get broken. The BCs tail is used as a tool in herding and stays fairly inline with their bodies thus not very prone to breaking.
I have also heard of BCs tails getting docked in very rural areas to distinguish between wild canines and domestic ones.

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answered 2015-09-23 13:28:36 -0600

I know that for pit bulls, they have powerful tails. None of my dogs have had docked tails, but my furniture has suffered from it. Dented refrigerator, paint chipped off the walls, and my first dog even broke a mirror with her tail; only the furniture has been damaged, I've never experienced any broken or split tails. Some may do it for looks, but it's practical for more than just health reasons. Especially if you live in an apartment and you want to get your security deposit back.

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answered 2015-09-22 13:01:06 -0600

Some do it for aesthetics, others do it for working dogs or to protect injury prone dogs. My friend has Great Danes that wag so excitedly that they have broken their tails multiple times on door frames, the fireplace, furniture, etc. She decided to have her new puppy's tail docked to save him from future problems.

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answered 2015-08-26 13:44:37 -0600

A lot of it has to do with aesthetics.

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answered 2015-08-26 13:53:30 -0600

There are claims that docking benefits a dogs skills like hunting etc. But now it is just a breed standard for some. If you get a dog that the standard look is with a docked tail then you will look out of place.

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