The truth about dog tail docking

Left Undocked, Rottweilers Unveil the Most Stunning Looking Tails

The truth about tail docking

When I first started working at an animal hospital, I was given a booklet with all the prices and services our animal hospital offered. As I read through the extensive list, I noticed the term 'tail docking". Being relatively new to the practice, I inquired with my training supervisor about what that terminology depicted. She replied: "It's a tail amputation, done in certain breeds for aesthetic reasons".

I already knew that breeds such as Rottweilers, Boxers or Dobermans were tail -less to adhere to their breed standards, but what really shocked me as I read about this procedure, was the fact that this procedure was done when the pups were really small, and worse of all, without anesthesia!

Intrigued, as I did further research I learned that the tail docking procedure was done when a puppy was just days old (generally between 3-5 days old). The amputation process necessitated pretty simple equipment such as scissors, a knife or a rubber band. It appeared that there was belief (or perhaps let's more consider it a myth) that the procedure was painless, but as I read on there was also strong evidence regrettably suggesting the total opposite. You can read more about pain in puppies being docked here:

Studies Reveal Tail Docking in Puppies is Painful

A puppy just as many living creature has a nervous system so it is able to properly perceive pain. While a puppy may not necessarily squeal or vocalize from pain during a tail dock (even though most do) there are other ''tell tail signs' known as biological markers that can suggest pain and even lots of it. Ignoring these signs is unacceptable in today's modern society, featuring advanced empathetic veterinary care, especially when carried out for cosmetic purposes.

One must consider as well that tail docking also comes with a good array of considerable complications. Infections may follow or even worse extensive bleeding and death. If we think that risks from such complications could arise for the sole purpose of pleasing a client, it is understandable why more and more vets are refusing the procedure, while on the other hand, more and more breeders are taking over the task using rubber bands and knives in an un-sterile environment..

If we look at the history of tail docking and ear cropping (another inhumane and unnecessary procedure ) we will notice that both procedures took place in the past as means of protection in working dog breeds. In other words, tails or ear portions were removed because they often were injured and even torn while hunting or working in the field. In fighting dogs, these body parts were snipped off to prevent the opponent dog from using them as "grips".These protective measures could have been valid centuries ago, but nowadays, with the majority of dogs kept as pets, these practices are totally out of place.

Many tail docking advocates will strongly defend their view by justifying the procedure as necessary and even beneficial for some dogs. They will state that a lack of tail will mean less injuries and inconveniences. These statements may sound valid but are often unfounded. Simply think of it, if we would take off tails, limbs or anything else, of course there are likely less injuries because they are not existing anymore! Also there's a lot of controversy on some breeds; for instance, the German pointer standard wants the breed docked and breeders claim it's to prevent tail injury, but then the English pointer which performs similar tasks is not. The short hair weimaraner is docked by standard, and then the long haired ones are left intact...

Tails are very important for dogs. If a dog has a tail it means that it has a function. A very important function is communication. We all know well how dogs wag their tails when they are showing happiness. Dogs use their tails to communicate with other dogs. Dogs without tails may encounter problems in communicating fear, play or aggression when around other dogs. This could cause serious miscommunications and eventually fights. Undocked dogs may approach dogs without tails with caution as they cannot interpret their mood effectively. Docked dogs on the other hand, may not communicate aggression properly and may upgrade to a bite if the other dogs does not back off when needed.

Another drawback in dock tailed dogs is the fact that they lack the important balancing function of the tail. Tails also play an important role during swimming.

Luckily, more and more veterinarians are refusing this practice and so are some countries that have started to ban it. Norway, Sweden and Switzerland are some of these countries, hopefully many others will shortly follow. So far the most common practitioners of tail docking seem to derive from the breeders.

Tail docking should be only justified if backed up by medical reasons. Having a puppy undergo a tail docking procedure for just cosmetic reasons is unacceptable. The AVMA opposes tail docking for cosmetic reasons.

Dogs were made with tails and dogs should have tails. We are not to decide what is unnecessary in a living animal. Should a tail become unnecessary nature will take over just as we humans lost our tails throughout our evolution. In dogs, however, tails remain long and lively, with no sign of atrophization, suggesting that tails are here to stay once and for all ...

Learn Why Banfield Vet hospitals have decided to stop ear cropping and tail docking practices:Banfield, The Pet Hospital discontinues tail dock and ear crop

Viewer discretion advised, video may upset sensitive people

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Comments 162 comments

mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Thank God someone is taliking sense to the world at last. Docking is completely unnecessary and nature always does a better job of deciding what animals need than we humans do. Well done.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 8 years ago from USA Author

I am happy you agree. Dogs were meant to be with tails, we humans should know better. I am shocked to learn how painful this procedure can be. Thanks for your comments!

Benny 8 years ago

You make valid points for what you believe in. The only thing I have an issue with is the hillbilly do it yourself tail docking video you put up. Why don't you show a video from a vet?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 8 years ago from USA Author

Well, it is a fact that more and more vets are refusing to do such practice. Also I wanted to emphatize the fact that when breeders do such practice they mostly have no regards to hygiene and ignore sterile settings. I may post a tail docking done by a vet to compare the two shortly.

Katie 7 years ago

I am totally against tail docking, ear cropping, dew claw removal and cat declawing for anything other than a valid medical reason. I've herard the most OUTRAGEOUS arguments for doing these things:

"Docking tails avoids back problems, in the future." O_O

"Ear cropping prevents ear infections!" O_o

"Declawing is just removal of the claw." <.< (No, it's like amputating the bone at the ends of your fingers.)

"Removing dewclaws prevents them from being torn off." >.>

Ok folks.. I have only ever had the tail of ONE animal docked, a cat, because he broke it in three places and the portion removed was paralyzed and was going to drag the ground for the rest of his life. Not to mention getting in the way of his scratch box business, possibly getting feces caked on to his long fur. Poor Smokey. :( Medical reason and it was done under general anesthesia.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 7 years ago from USA Author

I am happy to hear you think it this way. I have actually published just recently a hub about all the myths about ear cropping breeders and owners tend to spread around just to justify the procedure. I also posted a video by a VET stating it is PAINFUL and UNNECESSARY.

karen 7 years ago

alright People.... SOO i am an animal lover - and anyone who walks into my house will realize this... i have 4 dogs ( 9 more on the way ) and 2 dcats and my cat is pregnant,. ( i am in NO WAY A BREEDER!! So Please dont try and bash that )

My Dam who is pregnant is a Boxer - she is preg with my neighbors boxer - OPPS!! - but she is the 3rd boxer i have owned threw out my life.. ( i am 23) when iwas a kid.. we had 2 pure bred boxers, and both these boxers had there Tails and there back due claws.. ( let me reasure you all that the front due dlaw removal is Crual and undeserving - it plain out should not happen) now the back duclaws are different there not connected to anything serious as the front ones are.. -- back to my story - growing up with these 2 boxers was sad and hard - both having there tails.. caused lots of heartak and sadness - it is actually the reason for having to put the one dog down.. - she was very exccited ALL the time.. one of the best well mannerd dogs iv ever had - but MAN did she like to wag her tail - i dont know if anyone has ever seen a boxer wage there tail - even when docked - it goes so fast there but wages... she would sit by the back door when she hurd the car drive up and wage her tail soo hard it would break threw the door ( a boxers tail is pure hard bone. unlike other breads where its softer) along with breaking threw the door she would brek threw her skin and litterally tear her tail to pieces.. she couldnt feel it because the nerves dont fully develop in a boxers tail if kept!! it was vet bill after vet bill but we were willing to pay as we loved her till death--- finally the one time she wagged her tale so hard it litterally broke the legs out of the bottom of our dinner tabble and ended up landing on her was it.. she has broken her ribs and HER TAIL! and a bunch other things! after 9000 worth of vet bills it was known she had to be put down ( all cuz of her tail she had no feeling in would break things and land on her!! the other boxer i had had the duclaws!!! and they were soo awkward looking and stick out funny in the back that he kept gettin them caught on stuff and rippin them!!1 till one day well we all slept he caught it on something and tore them both out!!! i have never seen so much blood in my life!!!!

sometimes tail docking and duclaws are not just for THE LOOK of the animal - have you ever thought of for safety - if you look into it there are so many casses of dogs tearing there tails open from wagging because its soo hard ( and those are dogs who reg get docked) Rottie's are the Same -

i will be gettin my pupies docked and BACK dueclaws removed. - but for saftey not look!!! Cuz honestly look up a boxer without a tail and damn they are so much cuter! and to your statement they cant wage there tails.. - come meet my Dam - she will prove you wrong 100% on that - my boxer can wag her tail better then my pom- an my golden retriever!!

alexadry profile image

alexadry 7 years ago from USA Author

Ok, in this case this was medically necessary, something that was needed for the dog's health sake. I have 2 Docked Rotties and refused to get my other one docked and the undocked one is doing just fine and has better communication with other dogs versus the docked ones. It varies from dog to dog, however, in my experience most dogs with their tails do just fine as nature intended.  I  however, would not go and amputate dogs tails just to prevent injuries as this seems a bit extreme and each dog is different, Yes, there are those cases where their tails get injured over and over, but there are also most cases that do just fine with their tails. Countries banning this practice, with many, many happy Rotties, Boxers etc wagging their tails are proof of this. But yes, when medically necessary, I am all for it regardless of breed.

thomas 7 years ago

If you take a pup to a vet with a laser it can cut the tail right off plus it doesn't get infected as the wound is healed right away

alexadry profile image

alexadry 7 years ago from USA Author

Ok, but why do it in the first place? Can't we offer unconditional love to our dogs just as they do? Why change the course of events if nature created dogs with tails?

Sarah 7 years ago

I love boxers and rotties, and while I agree that docked they just look cuter, I am not sure what I think about actually doing it. I have known boxers without docked tails and they have all had problems breaking it while wagging it and hitting it against the wall, door, etc. If done at a veterinarian properly, I think that the pain can be reduced. I completely disagree with cropping ears for ANY breed (that is cruel!). I have a rottie x aussie shepherd and she has a docked tail. We got her from the humane society and they HAD to dock it. She was 3 months old and was a stray. Someone decided that they would wrap an elastic band around her tail to dock it themselves and it got infected and the skin began to grow OVER the elastic. Her tail was useless and they had to dock it (quite short too because of the infection). She has problems swimming and she has problems communicating with other dogs. Luckily, she is very submissive so she hasn't had many problems with other dogs!

alexadry profile image

alexadry 7 years ago from USA Author

It is interesting that you have mentioned the fact that she has problems communicating. I indeed believe that docking dogs also diminishes signifanctily a dog's communicating skills. Here is an interesting study:

John 6 years ago

Although I do not agree with docking tails, when docked at 3 days in a puppy, the nerves in the tail are not very responsive at this time in the tail. Any docking done after 3 days, there will be more pain response in the puppy. FYI.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 6 years ago from USA Author

FYI, puppies DO feel pain at 3 days old because they Do have a nervous system. I look at facts and I have seen dockings done and most of them have puppies screaming in pain and yes at two/three days old. Here is a video of a 2 year old puppy screaming at the moment they dock the tail. Even if pain lasts a few seconds the fact that it is an unnecessary practice is really what's makes it so disturbing. Enjoy the video.

Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

alexadry - I'm so glad you've highlighted this issue. It's such a barbaric, cruel practice! Our second dog is a cocker spaniel and we refused to have her tail docked - she has such a beautiful fan-like tail! I'm glad to see some countries are banning it - I do hope more do. Right now, many pets with their tails not docked cannot be 'showed'!

Andy 6 years ago

I think your dogs look badass when you cut their tails and ears off. What is the point of making your dog look girly their whole life. If it is a boxer cut it's tail and ears. If you are dealing a pitbull cut its ears because they look tough as hell. Anyways it is the owners choice and if someone wants to do it let them we dont need peda fans trying to ruin what people have been doing for many years now.

dogexpert 6 years ago

''Badass'' dog. This just gives you an idea of what type of mentality there is behind ear cropping! We should crop the ears of all those badass owners that should get a stuffed animal instead of a dog!

leelee 6 years ago

I have a cocker spaniel and never knew they these precious babies were awake when this procedure is done. I am crying and feeling terrible that my baby was treated so inhumane before I got him!

alexadry profile image

alexadry 6 years ago from USA Author

I am sure by now he has well forgotten all about it, no need to worry! The good thing is that dogs live in the present and tend to forget.. best wishes!

lkimball2 profile image

lkimball2 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

I think of these procedures as plastic surgery. Some people think plastic surgery is okay, others don't. Whether someone crops their dog's ears or tail, removes the duclaws, or declaws their cats, it's their right.

What is really at issue is how and when it is done. Would you have a procedure done on yourself without proper medical care, cleanliness, or pain medication? If you care about your animals and they are like your children, then why shouldn't you provide them with the same care? Don't assume they can't feel pain. You don't know. If you have a medical procedure done, do it right.

I have 5 cats and 3 dogs (all rescues or strays). My weimaraner came to me at 6 months with a docked tail. I personally wouldn't have done it, but if I did, I would have made darn sure it was done properly and that he received pain meds. Two of my 4 cats are declawed in the front. I've learned that the back claws do just as much damage to furniture, so I wouldn't declaw my cats ever again. The other two cats I got after the first two and they have their claws (I realized after the first two were declawed that I thought it was wrong of me to do it). One of my little Jack Russell/Chihuahua mixes had his back duclaws and he would have kept them if one hadn't gotten seriously infected. The nail grew in on itself and it had to be removed so we had the other one removed at the same time to avoid any future problems. Had it not been necessary, he would still have them, but my vet is good and the little guy healed nicely.

Rather than trying to convince people not to do this stuff since it's been done for centuries and it's doubtful that there will ever be agreement (especially considering that certain dogs have to have this stuff done to qualify in breed competitions), the focus should be on doing it properly or only allowing it in medically necessary situations. People have to have it done by a licensed vet and if they can't prove it, they are fined. Not sure how it would work, but what I'm suggesting is that it be regulated.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 6 years ago from USA Author

I really hope tail docking and ear cropping would only be done when medically necessary. I still cannot grasp the concept of ear cropping and tail docking being ''a right''. What kind of right is that? The right to make pets object of people's egos? In many countries these practices are banned and more and more vet hospitals are categorically refusing performing such cosmetic surgeries(see Banfield). Of course, if one cannot live loving their dog as is, have it done properly by a licensed vet and do not cut the ears yourself or go to a butcher..I still think if one really loves his/her dog he should return the unconditional love dogs give us..

Angie 6 years ago

I used to believe that tail docking wasn't painful because I was always told that dogs' nerves weren't developed in the tail at only a few days old. but I watched videos that changed my opinion.

most of these videos are posted on youtube, GO TO YOUTUBE AND WATCH ALL THE VIDEOS ON PUPPY TAIL DOCKING!!! IF you do what I'm telling you to, you'll notice something: the puppy begins to cry as soon as the person starts cutting into the tail(and if the pup was already crying, the cry WILL get louder as the tail is cut!) Why is this? It's because the poor pup is in pain! THINK about it, if the pup really couldn't feel any pian in it's tail, then why did it scream like hell? Does it even make any since in the first place that it would take longer for nerves in the tail to develop than in the rest of the body? I want you all to really THINK about that. And is really even necessary in the first place?

Back in the old days, people would dock Miniature Schnauzers' tails to keep them from getting in the way when they crawled through small spaces to get the rats. What Mini Schnauzer do you know today that runs around on a farm to keep rats at bay? Now, there are people who wold say that docking a dog's tail prevents injuries. I will tell you this: there are MILLIONS and MILLIONS of dogs who live their entire lives without ever breaking their tails.

Dogs have tails for a REASON. If they didn't need tails, then good old Mama Nature wouldn't have given them tails! They use them for communication, balance, and to disperse their "scent" for other dogs to smell.It's a FACT that other dogs have more trouble reading the body language of a dog w/ a docked tail. ALL of these are important reasons.

Even if they did break their tails, we now have good vets to fix it. I (and MANY others) believe that you shouldn't dock a pup's tail unless you can give them something to eliminate the pain. It's not fair to such a young little creature to go through that. You should wait 'till the pup's old enough to get anethstatized (not sure how to spell), and the pup should receive pain meds until it's healed.

I think that vets should continue to preforme the procedure, though, because if they dont, breeders will resort to doing it themselves without ANY pain management. People who dock and crop for a "badass" appearance are not really loving their dogs for what they are, those people should get a robot dog, not a real one! People who want a dog so they will have something that looks "badass" are just ***holes. Docking can cause an infection, and in such a young pup, that leads to death.

The rubber band methode of tail docking IS UNACCEPTABLE AND CRUEL, no matter ho much meds you use (up until now I've been talking about the "clip" methode). I am aware that some breeds are not allowed to be shown without docked tails. I say, if everyone would protest to that breed's breed club, the breed standard may be changed in the tail docking area. I have pretty much the same views on ear cropping as well. However, when it comes dew claw removal, I think this practice is good because I've heard way too many stories about dogs getting them caught in things and ripped off.

So long as the dog's anesthtatized, the pain after the surgury does NOT outweigh the pain of getting it ripped off. Besides, it is a PROVEN FACT that dogs have NO USE for dew claws. Mother Nature allowed them to recede because they weren't needed. So far, tails haven't receded because dogs USE them. Ultimatly, it's should be your decision, so long as you make sure your pup isn't in pain. It should be outlawed for anyone to dock, crop, or remove dew claws without pain management and anesthesia, it SHOULDN'T be a law that you can't do it AT ALL. I'm all for it so long as there's no pain, because i personally like the way it looks (notice I didn't say it looks "badass", thats a WHOLE different attitude)

Thanx for taking the time to read this. PLEASE spread what I've said!!

ChristaS 6 years ago

It is clear to me that most of you commenting have not had to live with the pain and the heartache of having a dog with a tail that should have been docked at birth. I am a HUGE dog lover and advocate for the humane treatment of animals. I got my first boxer from a breeder over a year and a half ago (he has his tail docked). He is the happiest, sweetest, and most playful dog I have ever had the pleasure of being around. 2 months ago I decided to adopt another boxer from the Humane Society. I found a beautiful and sweet brindle boxer girl with a tail who had been picked up as a stray. She was heartbreakingly skinny and you could see almost every bone in her body. She was the first boxer I had ever enountered with a tail. At first I didn't think anything of it. I thought it was adorable to see her wag her tail with so much enthusiasm when she got excited. It actullay made me wonder why boxers generally get their tails docked in the first place. I soon found out why. After only one week with my new baby, the tip of her tail had split open after smacking against a doorway when she was excited. There was blood everywhere! The vet recommended that we wrap the tail with gauze, an acewrap, and medical tape. She hated this. We would have to change the wrapping every few days to clean the wound and at night she would often tear it off herself. It has been almost 2 months and her tail has not healed. In fact it has gotten worse. Everytime she gets excited her tail smacks against something else causing terrible pain. We are fighting infection after infection and the poor girl is in constant pain. She is up most of the night whining because of the awful pain in her tail. Even the pain meds given to her is not enough to ease her. She will be getting a tail amputation tommorrow which breaks my heart. The vet says it's the only option. This procedure is NOT easy! Now that she is an adult and the bone is fully developed in her tail, painful recovery can take up to 6 weeks and she may suffer from many awful LONGTERM side affects such as phantom tail pain and artirial damamge. I am not speaking for any other breeds, but it is HUMANE to dock a boxer's tail 2-5 days after birth. Genetically, the bone in their tail is weak (even as an adult) and can cause a lifetime of pain and suffeing if not properly docked. My vet actually believes that it is inhumane not to dock a boxer puppy's tail, as he has seen several cases similar to mine, where the dog is suffering unbearable pain as an adult and then has to endure the trauma of amputation as an adult. Yes, perhaps mother nature intended for boxers to have their tails. Im sure she also didn't intent for them to be domesticated and cross bred for the sake of creating "the ideal dog". If all dogs were running in the wild as I'm sure "mother nature intended," these dogs would not have to worry about breaking their tails on doorways, walls, and tables when they are excited. Because circumcision is painful to infant males should it be considered wrong or even illegal to perform circumcisions on them? No. I can't speak for any other breeds but not docking a boxer's tail at birth is cruel. I am completely against tail docking and any other procedure on dogs for solely a cosmetic purpose, but for breeds like the boxer, having a docked tail is necessary to their health and well being. Allowing a boxer suffer through months of pain due to constant tail injury is much more cruel than allowing them to go through the short process of tail docking as a puppy. Now let's focus on the real problems facing animals today: abuse, neglect, abandonment, starvation, and shelter overpopulation. THESE ARE THE ANIMALS THAT NEED OUR HELP.

akash 6 years ago

he man i am really touched..

i have a 6-7 year old doberman dog, and i have it from when it was a just 7-8 day old.

that time i was not knowing about tail docking.

i had buy him with docked tail.

till this time i think tail docking is necessary for doberman.

but after reading your page i get realize that it is not necessary and also got realize that after docking dogs had problem to maintain their balance in quickly turning.

i am saying it because i had seen my dog .

i promise you in future i will more concise about it and i will try to tell more and more people to d0nt do this.

i think people do this because the dont know real truth. but i promise near by me it will not be happen again..

mrsmillich profile image

mrsmillich 6 years ago from New York

Thanks for putting this up. I have a rescue boxer who came with his tail docked, but not his ears. Thank goodness, because I love those floppy ears of his!

I have to say that I am thankful that he does not have a tail. I can only imagine the damage he would inflict wagging that thing all over my house. However, if it were my decision, I would choose not to dock. I could never willingly put a dog in pain just to make my life and housecleaning easier.

We need to change our ideas of what animal beauty is all about. It's the way they were born and who are we to chop body parts off?

Humminbird 6 years ago

Hunting dogs often have to go through brush and bushes. If the tail gets caught, it could get broken and a broken tail is very painful for the dog and it's hard to heal.

At a couple days of age (when tails are docked) the breeder usually doesn't know which dogs are going to grow up and be hunting dogs, so they just dock all of the tails.

It's really not a big deal, as it heals quickly on a young puppy and it's not painful when done properly.

However, it should not be done on an older dog because it doesn't heal properly and it's more painful.

Some other breeds, like dobermans, have long and whippy tails. Since the tails are so thin, the dog risks breaking the tail when it wags the tail too hard. So these dogs' tails are docked to protect them from breaking.

It is not an aesthetic thing, like some people would like you to believe. Docking tails and ears has always been for the benefit of the animal.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 6 years ago from USA Author

Really? And who told you the procedure is not a big deal? I just went through a seminar to become a certified dog trainer and the vet told us that puppies DO have nervous systems and even though not fully developed they still are capable of feeling pain even though it takes a bit longer to transmit (mielinization process).

Today, in a world where pets are mostly kept at home, ear cropping and tail docking are unnecessary medical procedures which are the equivalent of cosmetic surgery for humans. There are many countries today where this procedure is illegal,(reasonably so) and dogs are living happily with their tails. So no, it is not medically necessary as people WANT YOU to believe, rather the opposite. Read the AVMA and Banfield vet's view on this for a professional stance. They are the experts, do not just go by hearsay.

PeterT 6 years ago

I live in the UK, and about 16 years ago, I tried to buy a Weimaraner with an undocked tail because I believe tail docking is both unnecessary and has no benefit to the dog.

It wasn't possible. All the breeders I contacted said that the only way they would supply me an undocked dog would be if I paid in full, in advance, before the litter was born, with no possibility of any refund if I chose not to have the dog.

Naturally, I could not agree to paying £700 for a dog on these terms, so I eventually bought a docked Weimaraner.

Recently, she passed away at the ripe old age of 15, and I am very pleased to say that in the time since we got her, the UK has made the docking of tails and removal of dew claws for cosmetic purposes illegal. I now have a GSP/Weimaraner cross - with tail and dew claws! Yay!!!

Megan 6 years ago

Okay so think about this.. You have an appointment to take your dog to the vet to have his tail amputated. Not for breed standards, not for any aesthetic reason, but because of a scab. A scab that started on the tip on one side. Then it wrapped around and basically took over the whole tip of the tail. Now that tip is gone, and in order for it to heal, you have to have it removed down to good tissue.

This is my reason for supporting certain breed tail docking and ear cropping. I have a boxer mix who has had three ear surgeries and now a tail amputation. Like I said, it started with a scab. Not sure how she managed this, but once it was there, she wanted to lick and lick and make it better.. Come to find out that was making it worse. That and the fact that when she wags her tail she will end up hitting it against something and it bleeds. The tip of the tail has poor circulation, and is therefore very hard to heal. This has been a long and painful process for the both of us, as this has been months of tail issues and repeated trips to the vet. Don't be so quick to jump on the band wagon for making these procedures illegal. Some breeds tails are more prone to injury, as well as ears. Good breeders have already learned this through years of knowing their breed, which is why so many disagree, I'm sure.

I'm just saying, imagine you own a breed who traditionally had its ears cropped and tail docked, but yours has both! And then think about how much you love her ears and her tail, but wish that she hadn't had it to begin with - to save her all the pain. Plus, I think the dogs with little tails have the best wags - they wag their whole butt to say hello!

Shannon 6 years ago

Hi! Hoping to get your advice. I have a 3-year old dog and have moved from a house to an apartment. My dog wags her tail so hard that she has a wound at the tail tip due to the kennel we have her in while we are at work, which bleeds constantly. Our first thought was docking her tail, but after reading your posts I am want to find an alternative. Any suggestions?

 6 years ago

Megan, just because your dog has developed a scab, doesn't mean that all dogs will. Think about this: you fracture a leg and get it infected and got to get it amputated. Does this mean that just because legs may get fractured and infected we must amputate everybody's legs? Tail docking is illegal in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France,Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Luxembourg, Lituania,

Norway, Scotland, Slovenia, South Africa, to just name a few of the many. Do you think all their dogs are getting scabs and getting their tails amputated? There are many happy dogs wagging their tails, as there are many humans running with their legs.

Robert Wansborough argued in a 1996 paper that docking tails puts dogs at a disadvantage in several ways. First, dogs use their tails to communicate with other dogs (and with people); a dog without a tail might be significantly handicapped in conveying fear, caution, aggression, playfulness, and so on. Certain breeds use their tails as rudders when swimming, and possibly for balance when running, so active dogs with docked tails might be at a disadvantage compared to their tailed peers.

Wansborough also investigates seven years of records from an urban veterinary practice to demonstrate that undocked tails result in less harm than docked tails.

Source: Wikipedia Australian veterinary Journal

Many people also mention only the problems caused by tails, but what about the problems caused by docking tails? WSAVA states ''There is considerable scientific evidence that docking can lead to complications, including occasionally death of the puppy. In later life the stump of the tail may be painful due to the formation of neuroma (nerve tissue scar) in the stump. This also occurs following amputation of limbs in people and causes considerable discomfort.''

You can read more from the World Small Animal veterinary association below:

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alexadry 6 years ago from USA Author

Shannon, sorry to hear about your dog. How about purchasing one of those soft comfy crates they sell in some stores? Often they are collapsible and turn flat so they are also easy to carry around.

Priscilla 6 years ago

My Aussie has her tail docked. I wish it wasn't purely because I always had dogs with tails and couldn't think of a dog without a tail. However, it was done a few days after they were born because they were going to be sold to nearby farms where they most likely would be utilized for work or herding and it goes with tradition. But I couldn't bear to think that the pups were in such pain. However, we could never know just how much pain. I think it's a similar debate that people have on whether their sons should be circumsized or their daughters have their ears pierced. At least, when you are young, it is never a kept memory. Maybe there is some unconcious record of it and some have serious issues later in life, but pain is inevitable in life. As long as the procedure is done in a safe and healthy manner, the pup shouldn't have any issues. It is a lost memory and all that matters is how well animals are treated everyday after those moments of pain.

Kels 6 years ago

You say that dogs with docked tails can't communicate properly because they can't wag their tails. That is so untrue, I have two miniature schnauzers that we have bought with their tails docked, and those two get along so well, and wag their little tails like crazy when they are happy. Nothing shows that they are having any effects because they had it done when they were days old, and after seeing a puppy miniature schauzer without having the tail docked, it doesn't look right as well as the tail is so thin and whippy it looks like it could really hurt itself when it's older. Also balancing is not an issue for my dogs, as they can jump and leap and just be plain awesome. For bigger dogs that may be untrue, and a tail is needed for balance, but not for smaller breeds. Ear cropping is different, because that does not have to be done, at least on schauzers for any medical reasons, juat for looks and that is cruel. Having the tails docked so some breeds will have a better, more healthy future, is not cruel, and IS humain so that hyper active dogs with long, thin tails will not break its tail over and over, infection after infection. I am happy Canada does allow tails docked, because for some dogs it is needed. I would only ever do it on certain breeds, not on my old dog (German Shepard/ Huskey cross) that I had, who did have his tail and did need it because he was a bigger dog. It just makes me wonder, have you even had a dog that had a docked tail, because I do.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 6 years ago from USA Author

Yes, I have two Rotties with docked tails and my next batch are certainly going to be with happy tails! I did not make up the fact that dogs with docked tails may have more trouble communicating with other dogs. There were studies done on this and one comes directly from Canada.

If you wish to read it here is the link;

Tails are important communication means just as our hands, it does not take rocket science to realize the impact it may have on a dog's life both mentally and physiologically.

Just think of it, if there are more than 25 countries where tail docking is illegal, wouldn't these countries be full of dogs with tail problems? Instead, nature has won the case and showed us that dogs can lead happy lives with their tails no matter what breed of dogs they are.

It is sort of crazy thinking to dock just because there may be a ''chance'' of injury to a tail. I don't think people would chop their arm if they thought there were chances of developing ''tennnis elbow'' or ''carpal tunnel''

Banfield a large US vet chain that has recently categorically refused to dock tails and so are many more educated vets. These are medical professionals that know what is BEST FOR DOGS and evidently tail docking is not one of them. I can maybe just maybe understand some working dogs still out there getting their tails caught in the mud amidst manure, thorns and dealing with cattle, but today in a domestic setting, tail docking to me is pure and simple cosmetic surgery for dogs...

FYI: there is really no need to dock a miniature schnauzer's tail. Please read this info from a good responsible breeder:

Here is the link:


''There is really no need whatsoever to dock tails on a mini schnauzer in this day and age. People will use the reasons, a show dog will do better (in Canada and the US and a few other countries) so they use that as an excuse. Who is benefiting?? The dog?? I think not. Another reason used it that a friend or relative has one and theirs is docked, and they do not want their dog to be *different*. Who is benefiting?? The dog?? I think not.

There has been much said and written about docking tails. The tail of the mini schnauzer is not weak, it is not easily broken, and it will not get damaged by normal everyday life including a walk in the woods or a hike on a trail or against your living room more so then any other breed with a tail would do. I have never heard of any miniature schnauzer doing damage to a tail while on a walk in the woods or during normal everyday living. Do you really think that the thousands of dogs of various breeds overseas, in countries where tail docking is illegal for very good reason, are all running around with damaged or broken tails? Those dogs are doing just fine I can assure you.''

I personally think you have never owned a dog WITH A TAIL, get one and see and then tell me if the tail breaks in half...

alexadry profile image

alexadry 6 years ago from USA Author

Oh, for the number of people who think tails have nothing to do with balance here is an interesting quote '' QUOTED

''It should be noted "the tail is not merely an inconsequential appendage. It is an anatomically and physiologically significant structure which has many biological functions that should not be underestimated.’ For example, ‘the tail acts as a counterbalance when the dog is leaping, walking along narrow structures, or climbing.’ …[T]he tail plays an important role in defecating, and that the muscles used to wag the tail may also strengthen the perineal area and prevent perineal hernias. In addition, the dog uses the tail to signal many emotions and intentions. As a result, tail docking can adversely affect the interaction of a dog with other dogs or with humans. Furthermore, the tail enhances human-dog interactions, as the tail is the most obvious means of communication between human and dog. Finally, the absence of a tail may cause a dog to be the victim of attacks by other dogs due to an inability to communicate." Cropping and Docking: A Discussion of the Controversy and the Role of Law in Preventing Unnecessary Cosmetic Surgery on Dogs published by The Animal Legal & Historical Center of the Michigan University College of Law

The information below has been researched and found in various articles, news releases, government statements, etc, on the internet. This information we believe to be accurate, but in no way can we guarantee 100% authenticity.''


KD 6 years ago

I am looking for a boxer but am noticing that all of the breeders have already docked the tail! Ugh! Do you know of anyone who leaves the tail on and has boxers? Thank you for any help.

KD 6 years ago

P.S. My mother rescued a yorkie that already had the tail docked when she got him. On top of the fact that we feel it should not have been done at all, we think it was done way too short or improperly. It's barely the one little nub and the way the skin and caot healed around it seems as if its always tugging it inward even more to the body. It definitely seems as if he thinks something is wrong back there. He always quickly turns back and looks at it as if someone grabbed him. This leads us to believe there is some type of nerve damage or something - like he gets a little shock back there and he turns around to see who did it :( poor baby :(

This has been going on for 3 years. And he always "nurtures" it and cleans it :( Of course the vet says there is nothing they can do at this point.

Natalie 6 years ago

Baby boys get circumcised in the US not only because of the aesthetics, but to prevent urinary tract infection. But statistically speaking, only 1 out of 100 uncircumcised boys/men will ever get a urinary tract infection, making it a moot point. So what I would like to know is the percentage of dogs with uncropped tails, by breed, who have problems versus ones who don't? Obviously this is mostly an unknown, but I would think that a vet's office is likely to have more of an idea than anyone else.

I've always wanted an uncropped Boxer, but after reading the stories of chronic tail problems in Boxers, I can't help but wonder if that's such a good idea. I am firmly against any physical cosmetic alterations on anyone or anything that can't give consent (I don't quite understand how anyone can say that it's their "right" to alter another's body without good reason), but I can see where cropping a Boxer may be more beneficial than not. If the odds were 1 in 100 that we'd be spending time and money at the vet a broken tail, then I'd go uncropped. But what if it were 1 in 2? 50%? That'd would definitely warrant cropping the tails when they were young.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 6 years ago from USA Author

Such statistics would be very helpful if they existed. Regrettably,I could not come up with statistics about tail docking even though many healthy Boxer dogs with tails seem to live happily in the more than twenty countries where this practice is banned. But why do people seem to focus more on the likeliness of tail injuries making tail docking necessary, and do not focus on the potential complications deriving from the tail docking practice itself?

According to the world small animal veterinary association QUOTED''

''There is considerable scientific evidence that docking can lead to complications, including occasionally death of the puppy. In later life the stump of the tail may be painful due to the formation of neuroma (nerve tissue scar) in the stump. This also occurs following amputation of limbs in people and causes considerable discomfort.''

In reference to ear cropping these studies may interest you:

Hope this helps clear out some doubts.

kt 6 years ago

i have 2 australian cattle dogs that were both born with 'stumpy' tails and you wouldn't believe how many ppl think we are cruel cause they think we cut their tails off! But as you should know, there are breeds out there that are actually born with 'stumpy or bob' tails and they seem to do quite well. Both my dogs swim incredibly well, they have no balance problems and they communicate quite well with other dogs. I've heard ppl say if your dog doesn't have a tail how can you tell when it's happy or sad? surely you should know your dogs better than that u don't need a tail to tell if they are upset or happy. I think ppl need to do a bit more research before they go around accusing ppl of animal cruelty.

DC 6 years ago

I'm not necessarily in favor of docking tails, but I have to point out how ridiculous your closing statements are. Humans CREATED dogs from wolves through selective breeding. Wolves didn't EVOLVE into Chihuahuas. If they had (which is a ridiculous notion), it would have been due to a LONG series of genetic mutations that made the Chihuahua more fit for survival IN THE WILD...not nature deciding the world suddenly needed Chihuahuas. Dogs, however, are largely domesticated and are, therefore, not subject to natural selection. Unless HUMANS decide to breed tails out of a particular type of dog (which seems plausible as some Australian Sheperds are born with bobbed tails), you are correct; tails are here to stay. It has absolutely nothing to do with evolution.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 6 years ago from USA Author

Kt, your dogs were born that way and you have accepted them as is. This article is about the process of docking tails and not accepting dogs as is. It is great your dogs have not had any particular problems and they are fortunate in regards to this.

However I have not made up the fact that dogs with docked tails may have more trouble communicating with other dogs. There were studies done on this and one comes directly from Canada.

If you wish to read it here is the link;

Also, your dogs may balance themselves well but it cannto be said without initial difficulty. Here is a quoted excerpt:

''The tail is an anatomically and physiologically significant structure which has many biological functions that should not be underestimated.’ For example, ‘the tail acts as a counterbalance when the dog is leaping, walking along narrow structures, or climbing.’ …[T]he tail plays an important role in defecating, and that the muscles used to wag the tail may also strengthen the perineal area and prevent perineal hernias. In addition, the dog uses the tail to signal many emotions and intentions. As a result, tail docking can adversely affect the interaction of a dog with other dogs or with humans. Furthermore, the tail enhances human-dog interactions, as the tail is the most obvious means of communication between human and dog. Finally, the absence of a tail may cause a dog to be the victim of attacks by other dogs due to an inability to communicate." Cropping and Docking: A Discussion of the Controversy and the Role of Law in Preventing Unnecessary Cosmetic Surgery on Dogs published by The Animal Legal & Historical Center of the Michigan University College of Law

The information below has been researched and found in various articles, news releases, government statements, etc, on the internet. This information we believe to be accurate, but in no way can we guarantee 100% authenticity.''


alexadry profile image

alexadry 6 years ago from USA Author

DC: I see nothing ridiculous about natural selection. Humans have lost their tails eons ago because they were of no use. Dogs keep their lively tails evidently because they need them...this is natural selection just as horses have kept their tails despite early domestication.

Yes, humans have played with dogs and shaped dogs in all sizes but they have all kept their basic structure: four legs, tails and everything that makes us think we are dealing with a canine despite the more than 300 breeds out there.

Yes, dogs evolved through wolves (they still share the same number of chromosomes)but where did I say they evolved from Chihuahuas? This is a ridiculous statement I have not made!

Humans did interfere heavily with the process of selective breeding. They created dogs with no hair (Chinese crested) dogs with extremely long backs (Dachshunds) and dogs with short flat noses (brachycephalic breeds such as pugs). Yet, despite all this mess humans made, dogs still remain with tails.

Occasionally, some dogs are born with no tails. This is a genetic mutation just as a baby is occasionally born without an arm. Humans liked it and only short tailed dogs were then mated. This eliminated any long tailed strains. This again was a human process NOT natural selection as you wish it was.

Yet, despite the heavy intervention of humans on selective breeding it comes loud and clear that tails will continue to prevail unless humans decide to eliminate the long tail strain as they did with the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog or in cats, the Bobtail.

In a perfect world, if humans did not intervene with selective mating, the perfect dog would be out there. They say if you would take all the dog breeds of this world and place them on a desert island with no humans around the perfect strongest dog would come out after many years. All weak dogs would not be fit for survival. This perfect dog would be free of all human created hereditary diseases and for sure, guaranteed this perfect mixed breed dog would have a long wagging tail as nature intended...

Lindy 6 years ago

Reading all of the comments both pro and con is very interesting. As a breeder and dog show judge I can only state what I have observed. I have owned and bred many purebred dogs. I personally have never had any tail docked or ears cropped, but firmly believe in removal of dewclaws. I currently have a boxer which is just a family pet. I bought her as a pup from a friend. Her tail was docked but ears were left natural. I prefer them natural. However, she developed a scab like growth on one of them and it was determined to be pre-cancerous. It was near the tip of the ear so the vet had to remove part of her ear. This was done when she was 9 months old and it did take a long time to heal. As far as her docked tail, she has no balance problems and communicates well with all other dogs and people. I have judged all breeds of dogs with docked tails and never observed any balance or communication problems except for terriers who are naturally aggressive to other dogs. I have also observed the disasters of tails that have been injured beyond repair. I have owned, Afghan Hounds, Chows, Corgi's, German Shepherds, Great Pyr's and Poodles in my lifetime. The most serious injuries I have seen were in the Afghan's due to getting their tail caught in closing doors or in wire dog show crates. Have also seen toe nails ripped off due to wire crates. None of these injuries were the dogs fault. I am getting another boxer soon and it will have it's tail and ears. I will see how the tail survives as I know how hard boxers can wag their tails. I no longer breed dogs or show them, just have them as companions now. I agree with Alexadry that domesticated dogs were created to serve human needs. Some of the creations were obviously not thought out enough to create a breed without problems. As far as cosmetic reasons, until breeders start a movement with their clubs to stop the cropping and docking, the standards will remain. As far as making the practice illegal in the US....that could take a long time. AS far as in a perfect world, if all breeders were responsible and did pedigree research and only bred to dogs that were clear of genetic problems for at least 3 generations on both sides, we might just get a near perfect dog. Any dog with a genetic problem should never be used for breeding purposes.

DC 6 years ago

I didn't say you said Chihuahua's evolved from wolves. It was an example to be likened to your suggestion that dogs’ tails could disappear through “nature”. You still managed to screw it up, however, with your obvious misunderstanding of evolution. DOGS DID NOT EVOLVE. THEY WERE CREATED BY HUMANS. Yes, humans lost their tails eons ago (although we weren’t really humans at the time) because they were of no use...FOR SURVIVAL IN THE WILD. Selectively breeding dogs to better suit our needs is NOT natural selection. Domesticated dogs don’t live in the wild. They live in our homes and we give them everything they need to survive. THEY AREN’T SUBJECT TO NATURAL SELECTION BECAUSE THEY DON'T LIVE IN THE WILD. Truth be told in “a perfect, world with no human intervention”, THERE WOULDN’T BE DOGS. THEY WOULDN’T EXIST. There would just be wolves…or something VERY similar. In fact, if you went through with this ridiculous placing-them-all-on-an-island concept...(assuming some breeds are capable of surviving in the wild at all) you'd probably end up with something wolf-like. Then again, it would probably depend on the environment you released the dogs into.

P.S. Which part of my previous statement below implies that I think bobbed tails in domestic dogs is an example of natural selection?

“Unless HUMANS decide to breed tails out of a particular type of dog (which seems plausible as some Australian Sheperds are born with bobbed tails), you are correct; tails are here to stay. It has absolutely nothing to do with evolution.”

Take a biology class. Your ignorance upsets me.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 6 years ago from USA Author

Call it ignorance but I go by reliable sources and do not need a biology class. I think that my recent studies in ethology may prove handy. Dogs are descended from the gray wolf and domesticated about 130,000 years ago. They were however not CREATED BY HUMANS!

The dog, Canis familiaris, is a direct descendent of the gray wolf, Canis lupus. All modern dogs indeed are descendants of wolves, small and large. However as Raymond and Lorn Coppinger put it goes a long way: Wolf and dog behaviors are often compared to one another but this may be wrong. It is as if comparing human behavior to the behavior of chimpanzee!

In other words, while dog and wolf share the same genes we cannot forget the many years of domestication the dog has underwent.

So it cannot be said that dogs were CREATED by humans but more precisely that the process of domestication may have changed them. You might find helpful reading about Soviet scientist Dmitry Belyaev's farm foxes. Here is a link:

Domestication therefore would be what caused the dog to diverge from the wolf and develop the pedomorphic changes we see in dogs today.

Natural selection is the same process as selective breeding, but in natural selection nature decides which traits will be carried on. For instance, African hunting dogs have light coats so they could survive the heat, whereas Huskies have been equipped with heavy coats so they do not lose body heat. Natural selection basically grants that traits that aid survival and reproduction become more common, while traits that hinder survival and reproduction become more rare. In this case, natural selection finds that tails are necessary in dogs despite living in our homes. And it is my belief that the more a dog uses its tails, the more it will stay.

And I will back this up: According to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association: ''Dogs have evolved into their current shape over many thousands of years. If a tail were not useful to a dog, natural selection would have eliminated it long ago. Indeed, tails have many useful functions and are important for balance and body language among other things. '' You can read it here:

I am sorry my ignorance upsets you but apparently I have reliable sources on my side to back up my facts.

dogexpert 6 years ago

Alexadry, don't ever let anybody call you ignorant. Calling you ignorant is a sign of ignorance. I love all your hubs and think you are extremely knowledgeable. Followed all your debates and think you always make great sense. Keep the good work up!

DC 5 years ago

Yeah, I'm not saying we created dogs from nothing in a laboratory, I'm saying without selective breeding we'd still just have wolves basically. We wouldn't have all these different breeds. When I say "humans created dogs", essentially I'm saying exactly what you just posted: domestication and selective breeding [by humans] created the modern dog. That clear enough?

I'm still concerned about the way you speak of natural selection. The difference between selective breeding and natural selection is NOT that nature CHOOSES what traits dogs will have. In the wild, RANDOM mutations in an animal's DNA give that animal different traits that may or may not be more advantageous than others. Like you said, these advantageous traits become more and more common, creating new species. In our homes, however, survival is a NON-FACTOR. We give them, water, shelter, etc. There's no driving force, other than humans picking and choosing, to create a necessity for certain traits to become more common. Do you understand what I'm saying? There isn't some force CHOOSING what traits a species is going to have in order to survive...a series of random mutations over many generations create these traits and make certain animals more equipped for survival.

andy 5 years ago

We have just had to have our 9 month old boxers tail amputated. This was caused by excessive wagging as anyone who knows boxers will appreciate. As previuosly stated by someone with knowledge rather than ignorance the circulation in the tail is poor so healing once there is damage is unlikely. He has had to go through more pain now he is older and had grown used to his tail. The scar will probably be bigger and not so neat now. Docking in the first place would have been much simpler than for him to adjust to having no tail now. My vet (who i've been going to for 19 years) who is fantastic and very knowledgable says this isn't as unusual as many people think, having to dock certain breeds. Many people commenting on here against docking do so out of an uneducated and emmotional basis. A tail on a boxer is nice to see but totally impracticle given their over exhuberance.

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alexadry 5 years ago from USA Author

DC: I still believe natural selection is still among humans and dogs as of today, it might not be at the degree as if we had to survive in the wild, but we are still forces of nature. An example? In a litter of puppies weak puppies may die and the mother will nudge them away. This is natural selection and some breeders will not come to the rescue of these pups because they know there must be a reason why nature has decided not to let them survive.

In dog breeding, sometimes a female dog will categorically refuse a male despite they seem to be a good match. Reputable breeders know for a fact that there must be an inner force telling them not to reproduce and will not force things.

Recent studies suggest that natural selection that natural selection is still at work in humans, so why not in dogs?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 5 years ago from USA Author

Andy, I have nothing against tail docking when medically necessary. What I do not buy is docking for cosmetic reasons or to get rid of futile inconveniences such as ''my dog's tail wags in the face of my children, or knocked over everything in the house or was hitting people's legs.''

I live right now in a country where tail docking is illegal and see lots of boxers, rotties and Australians with happy tails. Of course, somebody may stumble on an occasional dog with tail problems but I can tell from experience that the majority are doing just fine and are happy to wag their tails :)

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 5 years ago from Georgia

I actually learned that tail docking can increase risks of incontinence... Thought that was interesting.

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alexadry 5 years ago from USA Author

That makes perfect sense, at the vet hospital I worked at when cats presented with broken tails, they often became incontinent so I am sure tails and the nervous system play a major role in the control of the muscles back there.

swhite 5 years ago

DON'T DOCK YOUR PUPPY'S TAIL--PLEASE READ MY SAD STORY FIRST-- My dad's vizsla, a pointing breed hunting dog, had 8 puppies on Nov. 8, 2010. 7 girls and 1 boy. Healthy and strong, they were all adorable, especially the boy. He was the pick of the litter for the father dog's family, cuddly and a hair smaller than some of the other females, but nonetheless healthy and strong. At three days old, my dad took them for dew claw removal and tail docking, despite my protests. "It's traditional for the breed and only hurts them slightly," he said, yet later he admitted how they wailed during the procedures. Indeed, later that evening the puppies all appeared to be recuperating well. However, over the next week, the little boy began failing to thrive. He wouldn't nurse well, appeared in pain at times-especially after feeding-, and wasn't gaining weight like his sisters. The vet instructed to supplement, yet he would wail after feedings. "He's constipated and gassy," we were told; then we were told we were feeding him too much with the eyedropper, and he wouldn't even take a bottle. Concerned, my dad had the vet looked at the puppy at ten days, determining he still had a sucking reflex, and that he should try nursing on the mother more. On the evening of Nov. 19, I came to see the puppies and could immediately tell the boy was critical. He was laying in the box whimpering in pain, appeared limp when handling, and had an obvious mass (to me, but nobody else?)on his rump. His anus appeared swollen, and I told my dad to take him to the vet immediately, thinking he was impacted and was having a perforated bowel. Well, a different vet looked the puppy, and determined he had A SEVERE INFECTION RESULTING FROM THE TAIL DOCKING, yet there had been zero drainage from his crusted stump. "I've never seen anything like it before," she said and gave him an antibiotic shot, sending my dad home with medication for the poor puppy. Sadly, 3 hours later, little boy "Shooter" (as he was named by his family) died in his owner's arms, with her tears showering him as he became a little angel. Shooter was beautiful, happy and healthy until he had his tail docked. He would be here now had it not been done, and would look just as adorable with a longer tail and dew claws. Please don't torture and risk your puppy's life over a needless "tradition". In Shooter's name, let your little puppy grow as God wanted him to. Thank-you.

jody McCard 5 years ago

Why does any human being remove the "mouth" tail of ANY dog? A dog tells everything with her/his tail..laughing, smiling, fear etc etc..perhaps some humans would like to dock their mouths!!! Not only that they need it for balance...dock your behind and see how it feels! These dogs are NOT in danger of having their tails stomped on by sheep or cows anymore. How are you tail dockers not committing cruelty to animals!!?? I wish I knew how to start a movement!! Shame on any person who cuts off a dog's tail!!! DOCKING is euphemism for what you do!!!!

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alexadry 5 years ago from USA Author

Jody, I have to agree whole heartedly. There are several groups in Facebook you can join, here is one of the newest ones:

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 5 years ago from Georgia

I just hate that people think that it's a preventative. You don't know what it could be preventing until you come into the situation.

Like vets who recommend ear cropping to prevent ear infections... That actually causes more problems for the ears than prevention. There's a hubber here, who's son's vet recommended cropping his Pit's ears to prevent ear infection. To me, that's a bad vet. Their ears aren't even a type or style of ear prone to ear infection, nor is the breed a common breed prone to the issue.

It's all in ignorance...

annaM 5 years ago

ok dont be retarded! i love dogs! especially rottweilerss! but is docking a tail realy any different then cercomsizeing a penis? no. it hurts just as bad but they're young its done medically its fast and dosent hurt afterwords. i dont hear boy crying that there dicks hurt when they're 10!

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alexadry 5 years ago from USA Author

I sincerely think that chopping body parts for cosmetic reasons is retarded! There is a reason why this practice has been made illegal in over 17 countries!

I personally do not like to compare medical procedures done on people with procedures done on dogs. It just does not make sense. Its like comparing apples to oranges.

Even though I hate to compare the two things for the sake of it, here we go...

People curcumsize babies because they feel it is in their best interest, they believe it prevents disease and gives better hygiene. Of course a penis cannot be compared to a dog's tail! First of all a dog's tail has several functions, second dogs care less about how they look, and third, it just an egoistic procedure for human's ego to say it bluntly.

According to WSAVA ''tails have many useful functions and are important for balance and body language among other things. '' You can read it here:

So as seen, to make it it clear, tails have a much fundamental and greater role that just a roll of skin found on a penis!

I love dogs too but love them enough that my next batch of rotties are going to be with tails because I have seen so many happy Rotties in Europe with tails and it was such a wonderful sight! As loving and caring dog owners shouldn't we give dogs the same unconditional love they give us?

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kblover 5 years ago from USA

Great points about the tail being an actual important aspect of the dog socially.

I agree that nature does better in deciding what dogs should have, and considering what we know about genetics and how we can selectively breed for traits, why in all these years has no one developed a naturally shorter/"docked" tail for breed in which it's considered a requirement?

If we can take a Poodle (for example) and turn him into a toy-sized dog, surely we can get Rotts/Dobes and any other breed that needs/requires shorter tails one from the start?

Mike 5 years ago

swhite - as a Vizsla owner and enthusiast, I'm sorry to hear about your story.

I find this to be a bit of an unfortunate thread. I firmly believe in tail docking for breeds where tail injuries are a serious issue like in the pointing breeds. It seems as there is a failure to differentiate between something done PURELY for cosmetics v. the long-term health of the dog. I know of Vizsla and other pointer owners who have had to deal with tail injuries and it ain't pretty.

And sorry, but I have to say that DC was right on. Thanks for the entertainment.

Kristina 5 years ago

I am all for docking tails (in large breed dogs) and I understand where everybody who is against comes from. I currently live in the UK where it is illegal. Because I couldn't my Boxer's tail docked I am now in the situation where I have to due to her constantly banging it on everything and it won't heal anymore. The vet told me by law they have to "try" to heal the tale before docking it, but what he unspokenly said is that he recommends getting it docked because there is no chance of it healing. What frustrates me is that my dog would not have been in this situation if we were in the States because she would have had her tail docked. If vets know about 90% of large breed dogs (who are undocked) will have this problem and will possibly get infections and have to get them docked when they are older (mine is 1 year) I don't see why they don't all JUST large breed dog owners/breeders get tails docked. Now my dog has to get use to the fact she doesn't have a tail and will be in more pain since her tail muscles and nerves are already developed more than it was at a few days old (when I could have had it done). I understand there is that slight chance that large breed dogs won't have this problem but that's a rare chance they won't need medical assistance later. It just seems like it'd be better to do it in the first place when they are little then to get it done when they are older and more developed.

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alexadry 5 years ago from USA Author

Kristina, you sound appalled about your vet trying to ''heal'' before docking.. I applaud your vet and she or he sounds ethical and caring.. i think he or she is trying their best to save the tail... after all, would you like a doctor to elect to amputate your arm just because you have developed carpal tunnel? :(

Plus where do you get statistics that 90% of large breed undocked dogs get tail injuries? Do you have facts to back these up? I am not too eager of posting facts here that are not backed up by some studies.. but just from hearsay or over-inflated statistics just to make a point..

Where do you live? In my neck of the woods (Italy right now) there are hundreds of happy boxers and rottweilers with tails and they do just fine...

I understand your Boxer is unfortunate to have tail problems but docking all large dog tails as a preventive measure sounds crazy to me and would remove the dog from an important means of communication.. would you have tennis players arms chopped up since 50% may develop tennis elbow at some point in their career????.. come on.. let's be reasonable here...

Cory 5 years ago


Does tail docking prevent tail injuries?

Traditionally, some breeders considered docked tails necessary, to fulfil the working function of the dog. Today many working breeds of dog are kept as house-pets. When tails are allowed to remain intact, there are no more tail injuries in breeds that are customarily docked than in other breeds of dog.

Can docking cause problems in later life?

There is considerable scientific evidence that docking can lead to complications, including occasionally death of the puppy. In later life the stump of the tail may be painful due to the formation of neuroma (nerve tissue scar) in the stump. This also occurs following amputation of limbs in people and causes considerable discomfort.

Do dogs need their tails?

Dogs have evolved into their current shape over many thousands of years. If a tail were not useful to a dog, natural selection would have eliminated it long ago. Indeed, tails have many useful functions and are important for balance and body language among other things.

Some breeds today have individuals that are occasionally born with deformed or short tails. This is a genetic abnormality, not usually found in the wild and is caused by intensive inbreeding of selected strains of dog to refine certain inherited characteristics.

maggie 5 years ago

I really have a hard time buying into the excuse about dogs banging their tails hard on furniture and getting them injured. As a Boxer owner equipped with a tail, I can attest that if you give your dog enough exercise and walks in the great outdoors the tail will not get injured by banging on furniture...

Dogs banging their tails on the furniture to an extent of injuring them to the point of requiring amputation, in my opinion are bored dogs left crated or in the home too long. It is also indicates a state of arousal and excitement of dogs who are not offered much entertainment. Please make sure to give your dogs the right amount of exercise and mental stimulation and you will see that tail injuries will be less likely to happen.. just thoughts from a responsible Boxer owner..

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alexadry 5 years ago from USA Author

Mike, what do you mean exactly for this being an ''unfortunate thread''? I give tail docking a whole go when done for medical reasons, but for cosmetics it seems unjustifiable...

serkan 5 years ago

i have a dobi 5 months old and i leave him as he looks. If one day his tail broken then i consider docking. No need now. I love his tail

Aussielover 5 years ago

Interesting thread, good points on both sides. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones... how is tail docking and all that any different than spaying and neutering? You are significantly altering the dog for the sole purpose of eliminating certain behaviors and controlling reproduction. Everyone thinks that is a good idea and is done by a vet under general anesthesia. If the tail and dewclaws come off at the same time, I think those would be less missed and less painful than losing your testicles and ovaries. Just saying... it's all about opinion.

Robert Gray 5 years ago

I just read through your no docking tirade. How self righteous! I bet you have no qualms with sexually mutilating those same animals. And you would do all that for the convenience of owners who would not otherwise be responsible and keep their pets away from breeding situations. Or maybe they just don’t want to be bothered cleaning up after them. Anyway I’d rather bother a dog for a while with a docking job than to alter their sex life forever. And don’t tell me that those operations are painless and cause no discomfort or complications. A man can’t adopt a dog from any shelter in America without agreeing to spaying/neutering. Who’s getting rich off that propaganda campaign? I think you should re-examine your position and do some soul searching before claiming you only want to avoid causing those animals pain, discomfort and inconvenience. What is your real motive? It clearly has nothing to do with causing pain or suffering since you are quite willing to rip the sex organs out of any animal for the going fee. DOg lover my eye.

Amazed 5 years ago

I am continually amazed at the internet's ability to allow individuals with a lack of intelligence and or good grammer to voice their ridiculous opinions.

God created dogs with tails. If an owner wants it docked they should have that right as they have dominion over that animal. Conscience not law or other's opinion should have control over it. Each individual should consider why they want the tail docked and make a rational decision. And in case you are wondering, I have never docked the tail of an animal I have owned,

Spaying or neutering an animal is good for them for their own health reasons, not just for all the other benefits.

If you want to talk about animal cruelty, talk about rodeo's, veal, and the conditions of many livestock and pet breeders.

amazed2-4-your-ignorance 5 years ago

Sorry. all three af y'all see from the same family: ignorants who do not understand the importance of neutering and spaying when there are thousands of dogs being euthanized in shelters....comparing stupid cosmetic surgery to what is a major problem of pet overpopulation is crazy....

Spaying and neutering can save thousands of lives..cropping only makes the owner ''happy'' to say it blunt.. sorry I worked for a shelter and personally saw many pets put down just because of lack of space..stating neutering and spaying is ''ripping out organs'' is appalling,crazy and very irresponsible. I wished you were there when they these pups and kittens were put to sleep. pleaazzz let's be reasonable here...

you are a disgrace to all animals shelters and the future of poor living creatures in needs of home..go visit your local shelter and then let's talk about it..

Deborah 5 years ago

With a boxer of 3.5 years who has just broken his tail AGAIN for the fifth time I am pro docking Boxers. Boxer are an excitable breed they wag and they wag hard. And every Vet ive visited is to scared about there appearance because of the law passed to make docking illegal unless medically required that they wont help my dog. I'm getting his tail dock soon and despite you thinking its cruel. He would've have endured A LOT less pain had it been done as a pup. With pain meds.

And not being able to wag is a misconception they can wag soooooo hard even with a docked tail. Do we really have to wait an see if our dog is going to snap its tail cry in pain for hours until the vet resets it and splints it and then the recovery is weeks of pain meds.When Boxers are known to break, hurt bruise cut open their tails. We always say prevention is better than cure but I guess the only ppl who can understand are owners of boxers who have broken and hurt their tail so many times. They know the look my dog gave me 5 mins ago. And its pleading "mum please fix this" and I cant its illegal!

Deborah 5 years ago

MAggie i highly disagree. My boxer gets walked twice a day most days the days he only gets walked once it is a 3-4hr walk in bushland! He has 2 play dates a week and he has broken his tail 5 TIMES!

Cindy's mom 5 years ago

I have four Boxers with tails and no problems or injuries with their tails.. I find it unjust to lump all together sayings that Boxers need to be docked in order to be healthy.. it is simply not true..we see boxers with tails every day at the park and all seem to be doing fine...

In my neck of the woods, it is illegal dock tails of any breed unless it is a medical requirement. If you or a Vet is caught doing the procedure you can be fined up to $5000.00 on the spot!!!!!!!

Brittni 5 years ago

to all of the guys that responded, do you remember your circumcision? Did it hurt? Were your parents being cruel?

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alexadry 5 years ago from USA Author

Brittni, from a medical point of view, I find it superfluous comparing a tail docking to a circumcision. In tail docking we are cutting through vertebra, muscles, nerves and several supporting tendons and cartilage, it is therefore definitely more like cutting a toe than a flap of skin as done in a circumcision. Sincerely, if a mom cut a toe to a baby with no anesthetic for the heck of cosmetics, that, uhm would qualify as cruel and highly abusive..

bri 5 years ago

I have an English mastiff and she gets so happy to see us she breaks it open and blood goes everywhere but I love her tail and the vets want to amputate. We put foam around the tip of her tail and tape it so its cushiony until she heals again.

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SallyTX 5 years ago from Only In Texas!

Tail docking is very bad and completely unnecessary for a family pet. Really, I can't see any practical reason to do it. Just vanity on peoples' part. Voted up and Useful! :)

ADA 5 years ago

Alexandry is to be commended on her facts and information. The thread has in some instances been spoilt though by a few who have only cursorily read the substance and references and then have posted misleading as well as inaccurate statements which have no scientific standing.

Sondra 5 years ago

I already thought it was horrible to do, but didn't realize how many problems it causes throughout the dog's life. Thank you so much for educating people about this major issue!

alydog 5 years ago

well i curently have 3 dobermans all with docked tails and cropped ears...2 of them are currenly healing from there cropping on sunday so what!

UrDum 5 years ago

Some of you people are seriously ignorant and will believe anything textbooks or things on the internet tell you. "alexadry" is the ringleader for the blind leading the blind.

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alexadry 5 years ago from USA Author

UrDum, I left your comment as is so every body can see it and realize what type of people post here and how easy they are to call names without even realizing that most of my statements are backed up by scientific facts or at least, MERE common sense.

Miranda 5 years ago

OMG!!! I have a minture pinscher and his tail was docked before I got him but may god my heart just broke watching that video. It is so mean and creul! I would never consciously do that to a puppy.

Turròn 5 years ago

@miranda: Me too ... I had two, but both are gone - even though I didn't want to watch the video above- just reading the article makes one soooooooooo saaaaaadddd ... it is mean and cruel and I wish I knew this when I was little - makes me really sad to think how bad my dogs -one of them more in particular- probably felt ;..( I wish I could hug them ... Sorry Turrón y Caramelo (the doggies)

Turrón 5 years ago

I seem to agree with some of the other points people are making,though. But for the most part it seems like a very painful and unecessary procedure - from experience I can "tail" that my dog's tail wagging was of an odd matter , since his tail was CUT OFF -somewhat- too short ... everytime he wagged his tail his whole body would move as if it were the tail ,..(

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lakshithashree 5 years ago from Bangalore

I understand tail docking is cruel. But few breeds may require it to stay healthy. However, I have not cut my little friends tail!

Talisha 5 years ago

Lets worry about human abortions and circumcision being without pain relief before we start worrying about an animal. When baby boys are born they get circumcised without pain relief so why is it any different for a dog..... an "animal".

Truth-Made 5 years ago

Calm down people!! Gosh its like baby boys getting circumsized

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alexadry 5 years ago from USA Author

Comparing circumcision with tail docking is like comparing apples to oranges. Circumcision involves cutting tissue whereas in tail docking you are cutting through tissue, muscle, tendons and bones. It's more like cutting a finger for the sake of comparison but tails have much more functionality than a finger in dogs.

Jazzy 5 years ago

While you are at it. Can you post a topic on how spay and neutering is a more dangerous procedure.

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alexadry 5 years ago from USA Author

Sure, I already did that, but realize that you cannot compare a cosmetic practice with something medically necessary and that helps keep down the pet overpopulation problem. If you ever worked for a shelter I am sure you would understand the sadness of countless perfectly healthy and happy pets being put down every day because of irresponsible owners..anyway here is my article, blunt pros and cons of spaying, and I think I wrote one about neutering too.

Raul 4 years ago

lord do what you want to your dog. speak to your vet know the consequences and go from there. dont torture it but if its the breed standard go ahead make sure you speak to your vet and make your appropriate decision.. i have a mini schnauzer and she is undocked and uncropped but i refuse to yell torture or make a reference to docking as a crime. show docking done correctly i think its a dis service to anyone trying to make up there minds about doing this to their dogs. nature didn't intend for humans to reach 7 billion im sure. if you speak with a professional and do things right this shouldn't hurt your dog one bit! now if you want to pay 50 cents for a tail docking with a machete yes that torture. thats wrong.

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alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Saying that tail docking ''shouldnt hurt your dog one bit!'' takes some courage and is not telling the whole truth. There is ample of literature and studies suggesting that the pups perceive the pain. I never said it was crime but it remains what it really is: cosmetic surgery for dogs. Is it cruel? try to have your finger cut and see if you like it. We are talking about cutting through nerves, muscles, and bones. Is it necessary? Most likely not.

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KnowMoreIdiots 4 years ago

A receptionist at a vets office huh?

Now normally,I just ignore you type of people,there's no point in arguing with you. You are entitled to believe as you wish. But you are wrong on SOOOOO many levels. I run a private animal rescue AND I'm a dog breeder. I don't really give a crap if you don't like that.

I do not cut the tails off. I band them. If done correctly it causes NO PAIN to the pup,none. Banding simply slowly cuts off blood supply to the end part of the tail,and it falls off. 90% of the time,the puppies either sleep right through the procedure,or are nursing,and just keep nursing through the procedure (gee,they must be in extreme pain seeing as how they don't even wake up during the procedure.

I don't breed boxers,but educated people know it's necessary for the breed,their tails are different from other breeds,and left undocked,there's almost always injury. I know that first hand,I've seen it a million times,so don't bother arguing about it.

My breeds tails are docked because that's the standard. I once left one with his tail undocked (we kept him as out own,and it's doesn't cause any issue for him (toy breed). HOWEVER,his dewclaws DO. Dewclaws need to be done on many breeds. You can do it as a puppy,or pay a hell of a lot more at a vets office,while your dog is under anesthesia,AFTER,it's gone through the pain of having their dew claw ripped.

I band my pups tails because that's the look I prefer. The breed also calls for ears cropped,but I don't do that,it's just preference,and 99% of the time,they stand up all on their own by the time they are 6 months old,so it's not even necessary.

I do it purely out of look and preference.The reason my breeds tail were originally docked,no longer apply (they were "ratters",going into small animal holes to flush out rats and other small animals,so their tails were docked to prevent bite injuries from rats and other small animals).

That's not longer what the breed is used for. That being said,I'll continue to dock their tails,because that's what I prefer. Banding causes NO PAIN. It makes no difference what you think,as a secretary at a vets office. I think I've got quite a bit more knowledge than someone who answers the phone at a vets office. Banding does not hurt the puppy,and is aesthetically pleasing.

I run a private rescue out of my own home,out of my own pockets,100% My life is animals,and no one loves animals more than I. I have many dogs,cats,ferret,rats,tarantulas as pets of my own. I love all animals. So there's also no point in the "well,you don't really love your animals that much then".

Believe it or not,many of people like myself,love animals more than most people,but are also aware that we are speaking about animals here. We are removing part of tail folks,not sucking them out in-utero and killing them,like they do with HUMAN BEINGS,when they perform abortions. It's quite pathetic,sad,and very telling of this countries current values and morals,when people are all up in arms about a small procedure done on an animal,but don't flinch when some skank decides she's too busy to carry her baby to term,and decides to kill it instead.

Your priorities are not only way out of whack,but you are also misinformed. Again folks,this is coming from a receptionist at a vets office. She's not a vet,not a breeder,and knows little to nothing about each individual breed of dog (I judge dogs in the rings at confirmation shows,and dog shows). And by all means,continue to feel as you do about tail docking. I'm not here to change your mind,just here put the REAL facts out there. Got it? Good. Don't like my matter of fact attitude? TOO BAD.

Farkle 4 years ago

I sincerely never heard about ''banding'' but googled it and am shocked at what terrible things are done to the pups! Try putting your finger in a rubber band and keeping it there and see if it hurts! It sounds like something done by ''do-it-yourself'' morons and that it is prevalent in areas short on education and modern pet care. To the breeder; where do you live? I so badly would want to report you.

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KnowMoreIdiots 4 years ago

No,you're right,I didn't read your first posting all the way through,nor did I with this one. I have better things to do than listen to someone drone on and on,and on,and on about something they've never even done.

I'm pretty sure I know a lot more than you not just animal health,but human health since I worked in a laboratory (using animals,for 6 years before I decided to stop working all together (and know,unlike what your kind thinks,we do not torture animals,or keep them in small confined cages,in fact some of our lab animals live better than some people).

Thew point here is,as I really quickly scanned through you barrage of droll musings,I saw your lack of knowledge several times.

So,let me get this straight...banding causes the tail to go GANGRENOUS,and fall off? You sure you want to stick with that,or would you like to use a lifeline?

You have very little actual knowledge of both human and animal body anatomy,biology,and nervous system. The tail does NOT go gangrenous. There's a stark difference between closing off the extremely small amount of blood supply to an appendage,and having an appendage become infected and turn gangrene. So,come back when you have your facts straight.There's no pain,no muss,no fuss,when done correctly. No blood,nothing. Banding is painless,period. Not sure where you live,but around here all of our vets offices to tail tail docking,removal of dewclaws,and and about half of our vets do ear-cropping. It's common,it's normal,and depending upon the method,it can be completely painless. As for the dewclaws,I can't say it's painless,I'm a dog. But I can say it saves a lot of pain as they are older,and get their dewclaws ripped off during play or exercise,as I've seen it time,and time,and time again.

And I'm not "angry",not at all. However "people like us",get tired of "people like you",running around flapping your gums about how "horrid" it is to dock a dogs tail. It's just obnoxious,and makes anything you might have to say on any other animal related subject,moot because it's clear that you have an agenda. I don't run around telling everyone that they should or must dock their dogs tails. I can give helpful information,and allow people to make their choices,based on ACTUAL,scientific biological information....not on your anthropomorphic assumptions and feelings (which are wrong).Dock,don't dock, I could care less. But blasting a practice that has been done for centuries,isn't productive. Now,we have greatly improved our animals standard of living,health and longevity over the same said centuries.But some things don't change. Like the fact that even if you chose to do the surgical docking (as opposed to banding),and pain or discomfort is minimal,and lasts mere seconds. You can try to argue that the pain lasts,does on and on,but the real truth just doesn't. Dogs feel pain when they get their vaccinations,especially rabies vaccines,because of how their bodies react to it. But that doesn't mean we don't vaccinate them. An we circumcise babies,and they cry for a minute,it hurts,and then it's all done. Because a babies nervous system (be it that of a human or of a puppy),is completely undeveloped/underdeveloped. Minutes after "the cut",it's done,the puppy remembers nothing,doesn't feel anymore pain,and moves on,just like a baby does.

Now I myself prefer banding for a few reasons,but also because it lessens the stress to the mother an puppies,to do in the comfort of their own home,among other things. Not only have I ever yet to have one little issue with tail docking,but I have also had many issues with grown dogs,coming to me as rescues,with tail injuries. Not the breed I breed,but breeds like boxers (which is why it's done,people didn't just pick random breeds to chop the tails off of),it's a real necessity.And no,it's not of a result of "lack of exercise" (where do you people come up with this stuff from?) It's because of the vigorous wagging and the way their tails are constructed. Adult amputation (even with anesthesia)is more painful,and the pain lasts a long longer.

The really funny thing is,that we just had a new litter born last night,and while looking to see if my nearest farm/animal supply store had the bands I need in stock,so I can band the pups tomorrow,that's when I came along this little ditty (among others),and I just decided to pop in and add some real factoids to the plight of a secretary at a vets office.

And you know,perhaps I can fetch more money for pups in my breed with docked tails,I've never thought about it,or worried about it. But in that case,it gives me even more incentive to do so. You see,painlessly removing a pups tail by banding them,produces more money for me to help animals out there who are ACTUALLY suffering,as it's all out of my pocket. So,I'm gonna have to go with my way.See,it's not all about profit for some of us breeders,it's about preference and profit,being used for the greater good of hundreds of other animals.

So,I'll think of you tomorrow morning while I'm painlessly docking the tails of our 7 new little pups,knowing (thank God),in this country,we can do it as we please,and not have to kowtow to people like you.

And THAT...does make me happy!

Commonsense 4 years ago

This breeder sounds so very much like a backyard breeder (especially the attitude). Reputable breeders have this professionally done by veterinarians under sterile conditions. A breeder worth a billion dollars that does this is just as cruel as a backyard breeder. Tail banding is done to cut corners and save money. While professional tail docking by a vet is legal, doing it at home is illegal (aka backyard breeder chop-shop) and should be reported to the police or humane society. We had a case in our neck of the woods and the owner was fined and risked having the dogs removed. I personally would put a rubber band around these people's necks they are so ignorant.

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alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Nomoreidiots, your comment was not removed it is on hold because it contains opinions and not facts. You continue to say it is painless when I posted ample of studies (which of course you did not read because you were too lazy or perhaps it was totally inconvenient for you to accept)that claim the contrary. Posting your comment would mean I would have to re-post all my studies to correct your misleading and biased thoughts once again. Again, all I wrote comes from vets, it is not about you knowing more than me because nothing I posted was really my opinion they were 99% statements from vets. Compete with the vets if you want and think you know more than them.I will get to your post later this day as it will take too long for me to adjust all your misstatements. I am too busy at this time to take care of it so bare with me.

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alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Ok, where do I start. Ok gangrene...

1) Gangrene: according to Mayoclinic the definition of gangrene: ''Gangrene refers to the death of body tissue due to a lack of blood flow or a bacterial infection.'' Now rubber band on tail= no blood flow. No blood flow= death of tissue, right? tada! tail comes off.

2) You claim docking is painless, sorry but you must again read what several veterinary associations have to say about it. I have seen pain exhibited many ways but heck, I am a stupid former receptionist/vet assistant so my opinion does not count, right?

It is a myth that day old pups do not feel pain, and suckling is done to receive endorphins which makes them feel better (because they are in pain). Sorry you have to stop being lazy and read the studies they are long but they are STUDIES not my opinions! Again, puppies are NOT underdeveloped at birth as you think!

Breeders erroneously ''assume'' that just because a pup goes back to nursing it means they are fine and are not in pain post -docking. This is wrong and we must debunk the ''non-pain myth'' once and for all.

These studies come from veterinarians which I will quote -they obviously know much better than me (poor receptionist who knows nothing!) and you (very knowledgeable breeder)

There is a common belief that docking a tail in a three day old puppy is not painful simply because puppies are an altricial species and therefore have an immature nervous system. While there has been belief that lack of myelination was a sign of immaturity, today new research has demonstrated that actually newborn born puppies not only feel the pain, but even more than expected.

According to Australian veterinarian Robert K. Wansbrough, the pain is intense and will be greater than an adult dog because the inhibitory pain pathways are not developed and therefore the painful stimuli would be greater. The whimpering exhibited by most docked puppies is evidence of pain, even though some pups may appear stoic due to an inherent preservation instinct''.

Many docking advocates claim that puppies are not harmed when docked due to their immature nervous system and to prove this they claim that there must be no pain, since most puppies go back to nursing in no time. However, Jean Hofve explains that nursing causes the release of endorphins which are natural pain relievers''.

More details about pain by ROBERT K WANSBROUGH

MYTH 2 - Lack of myelination is an index of immaturity in the neonatal nervous system and therefore

neonates are not capable of pain perception. We know this is no longer correct, in fact the contrary occurs.

Anatomical studies have shown that the density of cutaneous nociceptive nerve endings in the late foetus and newborn animal may equal or exceed that of adult skin (Anand and Cart 1989).

Nociceptive impulses are conducted via unmyelinated and thinly myelinated fibres. The slower conduction velocity in neonatal nerves resulting from incomplete myelination is offset by the shorter interneuronal and neuromuscular distances that the impulse has to travel. It has been shown, using quantitative neuroanatomical methods, that nerve tracts associated with nociception in the spinal cord and brain stem are completely myelinated up to the thalamus during gestation (Anand and Cart 1989).

Further development of the pain pathways occurs during puppyhood when there is a high degree of 'brain plasticity.'The development of descending inhibitory pain pathways in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord and the sensory brain stem nuclei also occurs during this period, therefore painful and other experiences during this period may determine the final architecture of the adult pain system.


Tail docking involves the removal of all or part of the tail using cutting or crushing instruments. Muscles, tendons, 4 to 7 pairs of nerves and sometimes bone or cartilage are severed. The initial pain from the direct injury to the nervous system would be intense and at a level that would not be permitted to be inflicted on humans. The subsequent tissue injury and inflammation, especially if the tail is left to heal as an open wound will produce the algogenic substances, the 'sensitising soup' and the 'dorsal horn wind up' required for peripheral and central sensitisation and the development of ongoing pathological pain. Puppies are usually subjected to this pain and trauma at 2 to 5 days of age when the level of pain would he much greater than an adult would experience because the afferent stimuli reaching the dorsal horn from a greater density of sensitised cutaneous nociceptors will exceed that of the adult and the strength and frequency of painful stimuli reaching the brain will he greater because inhibitory pain pathways will not be developed. The whimpering and the 'escape response' (continual movements) exhibited by most puppies following tail docking, are evidence that they are feeling substantial pain.

Animals tend to be more stoic than humans due to an inherent preservation instinct.Because some puppies do not show signs of intense suffering, it does not mean that the pain inflicted on them has not registered in their central nervous system.''

3) I did not make any anthropomorphic assumptions at all. I hope you know what anthropomorphic means, because so far you have compared tail docking to circumcising babies!

4) My closest vets in my neck of the wood are in Petsmart and they are Banfield. Banfield stopped tail docking a while ago. Smart and ethical vets I applaud!

Now please, stop trying to promulgate the ''no pain'' myth. Even my vets were honest enough to say it was painful. This is often why we did not allow clients first place to come in and see the procedure. I have seen it done with my eyes and it is no walk in the park. Looked more like a nasty butcher job (and I have assisted major surgeries) but at least it was done in sterile conditions by somebody licensed and knowledgeable to do it.

George 4 years ago

Alex, don't give this nut a second thought, you've provided plenty of verifiable facts, while this backyard breeder just went for petty personal attacks, rambled on about what they find aesthetically pleasing, and then made it a point to shoehorn in their irrelevant religious beliefs. Bringing up abortion in this context is so retarded it's hard to fathom, and the 'skank' comment to refer to anyone who gets an abortion shows what kind of ugly, ignorant person you're encountering here.

Docking is really only acceptable if you're dealing with a breed *extremely* prone to tail injuries (thanks to selective breeding, not nature; these dog show people and their nutty ideas of what they find "aesthetically pleasing" have resulted in such horrible health problems for so many breeds, it's disgusting, but I suppose that's for another discussion). Outside of boxers, though, this is almost never the case. It's just nuts like the nut above think mutilation is justifiable if they find it aesthetically pleasing. Real pet lovers don't have to mutilate their pets to love them, but then again the whole dog show culture contains many strange people with strange egos that I don't think I'll ever understand, despite my best efforts. And the whole "banding must not hurt, I mean, they keep nursing!" line is such flawed logic it would almost be funny if it wasn't so indicative of the lack of critical thinking skills exhibited so often these days. If more people were capable of critical thinking, this clipping/docking/banding nonsense would be over. But unfortunately, someone who actually says things like "skanks who are too lazy to carry their baby to term" to describe a woman who has an abortion, well, they'll never read all your factual sources and respond accordingly, they'll just sling insults and unfounded accusations and pride themselves on their stubbornness and ignorance (they like to call it 'sticking to their guns'). Calmly discussing (and being open to other) ideas is a sign of weakness to these people who pride themselves on their inflexible beliefs that are rarely backed up by anything more than "well that's how I feel dammit!". Its discouraging, but at least we know they don't account for everyone. Plenty of us can still have intelligent discourse grounded in truth, where ignorant phrases like "...and if you don't like it, too bad!" won't be encountered.

Now, some people have brought up circumcision here. That's an interesting one. Frankly I'm glad I was circumcised, but plenty of people feel otherwise and wish the choice had been left to them. I'd say the big difference is, in the US at least, anesthesia is used any time a circumcision is performed. Presumably because we realized it was wrong to inflict that kind of pain on an infant. Maybe we should just tie a rubber band around the foreskin and wait for it to die and fall off instead? /sarcasm. Frankly, though, this topic goes into different and stranger issues than tail docking, so I'll try to avoid derailing this topic.

KnowMoreIdiots profile image

KnowMoreIdiots 4 years ago

No really,I could give two craps less what you think. I've just come to enjoy your high and mighty delusions. I really do! Not only does one thing you say or "prove" not matter one bit to me,but it's also painfully clear (no pun intended),that anyone who even so much as slightly disagrees with you,or challenges you,you're very quick to call them "idiots",or tell them "they don't have the facts". I on the other hand,respect that some people don't like tail docking,and some do. There's no right or wrong answer here. Tail docking causes pain for the pup for a moment? There's no lasting effects on the dog,and THAT is fact. You can express your opinion,yet others who don't agree with you,cannot? HA...quite the hypocrite aren't we? And I'll state it once more,banding does not cause gangrene. You are beyond misinformed. Gangrene means infection. The tails don't become infected,they have blood supply cut off,and THAT'S a fact. My career and experience proves that. Where's you get your medical degree? Lithuania? You don't have your facts straight,that's all. You should BEFORE you preach to people.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Gosh, I still can't believe you are still posting here and thinking what I wrote are my opinions! This came from vets, now do yourself and me a favor and go argue with the vet's studies not me. I have no fault here other than educating people that tail docks are not painless as assumed and that the latest studies show that puppies are capable of pain perception.

And FYI, the definition of gangrene I gave came from Mayo clinic. If you think you know more than Mayo Clinic, fine. Gangrene does not necessarily mean infection, it can just mean death of tissue. Gangrene results when blood flow to a certain area of your body is interrupted. Go see it yourself it is here:

Still not convinced? According to CNN:''Gangrene refers to the decay and death of tissue resulting from an interruption of blood flow to a certain area of your body.''

The choice of the word ''gangrene '' you are accusing me of, did not even come from my mouth, it came from my source ''In defense of animals'' I will QUOTE it for you:

''Tails are usually docked on 2-10 day old puppies, without either general or local anesthesia. If the procedure is done by a veterinarian, the tail is clamped a short distance from the body, and the portion of the tail outside the clamp is cut or torn away. Many breeders dock their pups themselves using a method that has been proven to be FAR MORE PAINFUL - "banding," or tying off the tail. This stops the blood supply, which results in DRY GANGRENE. The dead portion of the tail usually falls off about three days later. This can be likened to slamming your finger in a car door - and leaving it there.''

Want to read it for yourself? It is in the first paragraph right here:

Note: I never ever called you idiot. Actually, you are the one if you re-read all your posts that has implied from the get-go that I am just a dumb receptionist and you are the smart breeder, you never even read my whole bio and my newest qualifications:( Your choice of user name alone is just an offense in itself :( But it's ok. I am a pretty tough skinned gal;)

wow 4 years ago

Start at the top! Maby your site should be called Alexadrys opinion on tial docking! Or do all fanatical types preach the truth, the one and only true path?

stopthecrops 4 years ago

WOW,I actually read through the whole article up to your post and honestly found the writer used a lot of facts to back up her opinion. Her facts also appear to come from reliable sources and reputable vets. I think alexadry did good research if you have the patience to read through the posts. I also see no fanaticism whatsoever, just facts.

C-Walk 4 years ago

I have two rottweilers, both have their tails docked. There are certain medical reasons that rottweilers need to have their taials docked, but not only that docked tails are a breed standard. Rottweilers docked tails is what gives them their buff characteristic. I love it and I don't think there is anything wrong with tail docking.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

I also own two rotts and they are docked. But after becoming a dog trainer I realized how important tails are in dog communication and many other functions. I really do not think there are medical reasons for docking in Rotts, can you be more detailed as to what medical conditions exactly these are? The Rottweiler has a pretty tail that is quite thick compared to whip-like tails so I cannot see how tail injuries could happen. I am not aware of any medical problems connected to keeping the tail in Rotts, but I have heard of incontinence problems and phantom pains associated with docking. I have been in Europe at a dog show and saw hundreds of Rotts with tails, and I was impressed as how lovely they looked. My next batch of Rotts is definitively going to be with a tail...

John 4 years ago

[b]Pain is part of life, obviously every unnecessary pain should be avoided, but you make tail docking look like and open heart surgery without anesthesia, which is not! I tail docking bet is not more painful than male circumcision done by the hundreds in U.S. or ear piercing, and none of the kids come out physiologically traumatized by those practices.

Also, the "nature choice" argument isn't true at all, and a vet should know it, if it was nature choice dogs would exist, they are a product of human selection and there are many breeds with very small tails because they were selected for it, not because nature wanted to. Also there are breeds that have short hair because man wanted to, and unlike the animal that nature put a tail on, the wolf, and many of those short haired dogs will have their tails with a permanent open wound at the tip (and I bet that isn't a nature choice), search happy tail syndrome.

Seems like politic correctness will inevitably take over logic, but until then I will fight to try to avoid it. Tail cropping procedure will not traumatize your dog, you should instead be worried of giving him a healthy diet, loving home and cared for long life![/b]

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

John, I will have to correct you on several things. Ear cropping is a far cry from circumcision: in circumcision, you are only cutting through tissue, in ear cropping we are cutting through skin, nerves, blood vessels and bone. For the heck of comparison it is far closer to cutting a digit of a finger than a circumcision. Of course, tail docking is nothing close to ear piercing, so I will not go even into that. Of course, it is not like open heart surgery without anesthesia and I never claimed that, but again for the heck of comparison, it can be similar to cutting a new born baby's digit of a little finger, and I think nobody sane of mind would do that.

I am perfectly aware of humans selectively breeding dogs for no tails, but nature still plays a prominent role. Truth is, dogs need their tails, and nature would have got rid of tails if they had no function just as it happened to humans eons ago, yes, humans had tails.

Happy tail is something I will never get a grip on. It is something that is human created. I have noticed it is often due to dogs who are kept for too long under exercised and their tail is banged against walls causing it to split open. A dog who is allowed outdoors and exercised properly should stand a zero chance to develop such a man-made condition.

I am with you about focusing more on dog well being, so why instead of spending thousands on tail docks and ear crops, don't people just accept the animals as is, give them the unconditional love they deserve, and perhaps make a donation to an animal shelter?

John 4 years ago

Ok, most of your comment was a recital of your article, so I will not bother to refute your arguments again.

I will just comment about the false new argument used, you said:

"Happy tail is something I will never get a grip on. It is something that is human created. I have noticed it is often due to dogs who are kept for too long under exercised and their tail is banged against walls causing it to split open. A dog who is allowed outdoors and exercised properly should stand a zero chance to develop such a man-made condition."

Like you said it is more probable to happen to dogs that have short hair and live in apartments, so even if the owner gives the dog 2 hours/day of exercise the dog will still be 22hours/day in an apartment having great probability of hiting his tail NOT only in walls but mostly on table legs, cabinets, furniture, etc. (which you wisely didn't refer).

In fact, I actually believe that if you only have an apartment then you shouldn't have a dog in the first place, but the reality is different, because most of the so called animal rights aware people live in city apartments and have their animals there!

Finally, the prove that what you said is wrong is that many dogs that get injuries in their tails are working dogs, and obviously they don't work inside a small room.

I love country side and I have seen horrific injuries in hunting dogs, some of injuries were in their tails (just for the record always in non-cropped dogs with short hair, wire or long haired dogs seem to be less prone). I actually witnessed one of the injuries, the dog tail got caught in a fence and the dog panicked and started pulling he made a huge cute and lost the skin in the tip of the tail.

At least on one thing we agree, happy tail is definitly a man-made condition!

I'm obviously not against people not wanting to cut their dogs tail, I'm against the ones that intend to make it illegal to everyone. And of course you guys are free to publish this type of articles but a warning should always put after an opinion article referring that "This article is purely based in my opinion and isn't intended in no way to represent reality."

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Well first of all, the great majority of dogs are used today as companion pets, and I can grant you that a great minority are actually being used as working dogs.

I can say after working for a vet that the great majority of working dogs admitted at the hospital developed leg injuries, I probably saw only a couple of tail injuries in hunting dogs, but a bandage and TLC took care of it. I also saw a litter of pups developing infections due to a DO IT YOURSELF tail dock gone bad.

Now, for the sake of argument let's assume ALL working/hunting dogs did actually develop tail injuries...Are you therefore suggesting that we shall dock Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Border Collies, Siberian Huskies, German Shepherds, Bernese Mountain dogs and all the like? They are heck of working dogs and some even work harder than the average docked dog! I am sure a big no would sound off and people would want mandatory tail banned ASAP. So what gives?

Countries where thousands of dogs are left un-docked due to bans are happily wagging their tails and living a normal life! I was in Europe last year, and asked a vet in my hometown and she claimed that she did not see an increase in tail injuries at all!

I agree wholeheartedly about dogs living in apartments. I live on 2.33 acres and prior to this home had 5 acres. I cannot imagine my dogs living in an apartment and I think that would be egoistic on my side because they are not used to it. Hopefully those who live in apartments are able to find an alternative such as doggy day care, pet sitters, and lots of romps at parks and long walks.

As per my article, this was published several years ago, when studies on tail docking were not up to date as of today. My article is under construction with the most up-to-date veterinary facts and sorry, to say, they mostly back up my facts or what you call ''opinions''.

John 4 years ago

Obviously if you work in a city vet you will think that "the majority of the dogs are pets", but once again you are failing to see the reality as it is.

99% of the not-apartment house that has a dog, has it to guard not only to pet, and that is a working dog, it's guarding (not that this has anything to do with the tail docking, but it's just to show you that sometimes you really need to think to get to valuable conclusions).

Once again I do not agree with most of what you said, and as my opinion was said before I will not repeat it.

One more thing I would like to add, specially directed to the people that use the "that's mutilation" argument against tail docking, is that chopping nuts of (neutering) is also mutilation and animal rights organizations even seem to defend it.

Conclusion: Stop with the erroneous information.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Since you continuously claim I post ''erroneous information'' please provide me with the source that 99% of the not-apartment house has a dog to guard. Truthfully, I find the term ''guard dog'' a bit misleading and ambiguous, perhaps you may wish to say ''watch dog?''. In my neck of the woods, -I live in the country- most dogs are watch dogs, none of these dogs would attack or was trained to attack as real ''guard dogs'' normally are.

I said most dogs are kept as pets, and have derived this information from the World Small Animal Veterinary Association: quoted ''. Today many working breeds of dog are kept as house-pets. When tails are allowed to remain intact, there are no more tail injuries in breeds that are customarily docked than in other breeds of dog.'' Source:

Neutering/spaying dogs is a blessing and a must in today's unfortunate irresponsible society. I worked for a shelter and if you would see how many dogs were put to sleep simply because NOBODY wanted them proved to me what a disgrace it is to keep dogs intact and allow them to breed. Litters of pups were put to sleep because the owners did not have the diligence to spay and neuter! When you see so many dogs killed you understand why neutering is a blessing. Comparing something important as neutering to a cosmetic surgery to me is like comparing apples to oranges.

John 4 years ago

"In my neck of the woods, -I live in the country- most dogs are watch dogs, none of these dogs would attack or was trained to attack as real ''guard dogs'' normally are."

WOW, We must be talking about a different species... I'm done.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Yes, I guess so. As a dog trainer, I often encounter the term ''guard dog'' used incorrectly. Most dogs are watch dogs unless they are specifically (and hopefully professionally!) trained to guard. It takes a certain temperament and loads of training to obtain a stable minded authentic guard dog, you can read more here:

4 years ago

I love short and bobbed tails on dogs, but I understand that today dogs are bred as companions and these procedures have become merely an aesthetic link to their (sometime horrifying) heritage. I would not have my dog or puppy cosmetically altered just because it looks nice, as it is unnecessary. I understand there are a few breeds of dogs which have naturally short tails and if short tails are so important to rotts,dobermen and the like then perhaps breeders should try to breed that trait into them (cross-breeding promotes genetic diversity and healthier dogs anyway).

Andre 4 years ago

Hey guys, i was given a puppy by a friend who couldn't have him and his tail was docked (I'm against this sort of things)and apparently it was cut off incorrectly and the puppy has contracted a fever and infection because of it, i took it to the vet already and I'm just wondering can it survive?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Andre, depends on how widespread the infection was, if you took him promptly, very likely the antibiotics will kick in and soon make him better, hoping for the best, I send best wishes

Weimster 4 years ago

So, it's ok to breed dogs in all the shapes, sizes, colors, dispositions, coat lengths and such for our personal needs or likes, but it's cruel to dock their tails because as a newborn they feel some pain? Shots cause pain. Blood tests cause pain. Having a dog neutered causes pain. Have you ever seen an adult Weim crying and howling with a broken tail? I have and so did his "docking is cruel" thinking owner. That sight sure changed his mind. I'm sure there are some breeds out there there that docking is totally unnecessary. However, to be a responsible owner and caregiver of some breeds, I think it's absolutely necessary. For you to put video of some hillbilly butchering a dog on here as a representation of the practice is completely irresponsible and misleading of you, in my opinion.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

It is not only the pain, it's the futility of the procedure and depriving a dog of an important means of communication. Yes, all dogs have pain, but this is totally unnecessary. And yes, I have seen working dogs cry from getting injured legs, shoulders, paws and so forth, all body parts are prone to injury, it's a fact of life. The video is not misleading at all, breeders do this on a daily basis all over the world. It's an eye opener and it would be irresponsible on my part to ignore what is really going on when a breeder does a DIY tail dock in their basement ''chop shop''. Videos of tail docks done by vets are equally gruesome if that is what you wanted me to post.

mike 4 years ago

this article is a little ignorant, i hope you know that sometimes humans are born with tails... If a human is born with a tail, the tail gets amputated...

i have docked rhotweilers tails for as long as i can remember, benefits??? Many ex... a 130 pound rhotweiler as a housepet with a huge tail wagging around knocking over lamps, tables, chairs, even whiping children in the face when they get really exited, its no big deal, i say dock the tail!! and if the dog gets too horny, cut off his balls too!!!

Liesl 4 years ago

I have been around Weimaraners and pure bred dogs my entire life. My mum breeds Wei's and so growing up, tail docking was always a part of the process that they went through. Seeing it done many times, it was never the horrible, life-threatening event I have been reading throughout this blog.

When tail docking was banned in Australia I spent a long period of time figuring out which side of the debate I was on, as my entire family is very invested in the ethics of animals - all of my family members having studied a zoology or veterinary science degree. Over the years, I have heard many arguments - some with strong underlying reasons and some without. I have also built conclusions of my own from my own dogs and my exposure to the dog breeding and showing world.

My understanding of the debate is that for breeds like weimaraners, their tails were originally docked because of what they were bred for; being gundogs and working dogs. This worked its way into the standard of the breed and the reason evolved to be more cosmetic. For years Weimaraners, Rottweilers, German-Shorthaired Pointers, Dobermans and many other breeds mentioned throughout this blog, had their tails docked early on in their lives to adhere to their breed's standard.

Growing up in the home of a breeder, I always noticed what my mum looked for when breeding two dogs - she would take into account the strength and weaknesses of each dog, always looking to breed the most Weimaraner-like Wei's. For example, if a dog had a dip in it's topline, she would not breed it, or breed it with a short Weimaraner or one with a great topline.

The way that this relates to the tail docking argument, and one problem that is occurring today because of the ban is that for years in these breeds, such as Dobermans, Weimaraners and GSP's, breeders haven't been taking into account any safety issues of their tails. You will notice in breeds like Labradors who have always had long tails, they have huge, thick and sturdy tails that don't cause much tail damage. Weimaraner's tails are now, after being ignored for so long - often thin, bony and very susceptible to tail damage.

This is the reason for the debate, not because people like the look of a short-tailed dog, but because ethically, docking their tails can also cause damage as breeding strong, sturdy tails wasn't necessary when they were going to be docked. Maybe the solution is that we accept this and breeders work to breed more resilient tails, but there is a lot of truth to the tail docking debate, and this blog only covered some of it.

Also, Speaking for the breeders that I know, breeders LOVE dogs, and the arguments they hold is what they think is right for the dogs. They breed good top-lines and thick tails and correct eyes because they want to decrease spinal problems, tail damage and eye disease. There is a lot of reason and understanding in why breeders do what they do, and all of it has to do with what is ethical and right for the dogs. At least, with the breeders I know.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

I find your post very interesting and would like to go more in depth into this. It sounds like you are claiming that the actual tail docking is what is causing whip-like tails? That sounds like a good argument, however, Rottweilers which I own which have also been docked for many years, when left un-docked exhibit a pretty good darn thick and sturdy tail, so perhaps the theory would work for dogs with already thin tails to begin with? (ie Boxers and GSP)

On the other hand, there are Weimarenars and GSP claimed to be docked to ''prevent injury'' and then there are English Pointers with thin whip-like tails left undocked and hunting with no problems. I see a lot of controversy in this, and the more I notice these controversies the more it is convincing to me and those against docking that tail docking is more cosmetic than anything else.

I just was reading a post made in a forum by a Weimarener breeder claiming ''I had an undocked Weimarener who qualified for Crufts and was very successful in working trials before I lost her to torsion. Her tail never suffered any damage even when working in the thickest cover of places such as Ashdown Forest.''

Science! 4 years ago

Please please please, do not say "here are the scientific facts" and then throw a link to a newspaper article. As someone who has family working in media: They get things wrong all the time. Even direct quotes. Newspapers are not a source of valid scientific information. Also, this was a single study, and it was done with a stuffed dog. You have to understand that there are HUGE extraneous variables here that could have influenced dog responses, and you do not know what the controls were. Anyone in the scientific community would not take this as proof of anything, but rather a step into deeper questions with a more refined approach. I'm not saying docking has or has not been shown to be detrimental to dogs' behaviour, what I am saying is that you cannot offer youtube videos and a newspaper article as academic sources.

Science! 4 years ago

I'll add to that: If you have read the actual studies, you should link to them, or if not available online, post the authors and the abstract so that other's can get more information from them. Many sites like JSTOR and even google docs can provide access for the public to published papers in peer reviewed journals.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Science, realistically speaking studies and research should not be needed for something like this, simply because it is common sense! First, I am a CPDT-KA that trains and deals with dog behavior on a daily basis so I know the effects of tail docking on inter-dog communication as I see it every day with mutilated dogs, second many of my links already go to veterinarians and studies. I understand that a Google doc may be more reliable, but really is it necessary? Only a minimal percentage of pro-dockers would really read them and many do not understand the technical lingo. If you read an article about ''cutting a baby's finger at birth'' would you need research to back up its deleterious effects? Puppies are babies equipped with a nervous system and a tail is even much more than a finger ( it helps in balance, communication and much more!) I could fill my article with studies to back everything up but is it needed? Would it really make a difference? Would people understand the lingo? And about the youtube video: it's an eye opener, many people do not realize what a real tail dock is, this is to educate them about what is really happening. I did not know until I saw the vet do it in front of my eyes...

why_me 4 years ago

in switzerland docking tails and clipped ears are illegal, this includes the importation of any dog with such modifications.

i have seen on tv that young brains, including humans ones, have a delayed reaction to pain. This has been interpreted as no reaction. However, the reality is a painful trauma with a slight delay between cut and sensitivity.

stop doing this cruel action now. Great site!

sammeewolf 4 years ago

KnowMoreIdiots, that's not matter-of-fact, it's RUDE. Your whole attitude is extremely rude, and not just because you personally attack Alexandry. I just joined this hub pages thing, and I'm already blown away by how rude people think they should be just because they disagree with something.

It is an interesting thread, and I have learned some things.

Rachel 4 years ago

Hello. I admit to coming in to this argument with no knowledge of the process. I have had four poodles over the course of my life, and all of them have had short tails.I think poodles are one of the usually dock tailed breeds. I have noticed that my dogs have plenty of tail to communicate with. I've never notcied balance problem with them. I have noticed that the claws can break and bleed all over the place and cause the dog horrific pain, but Its possible to clip the nails when they get too long. While I remain on the fence about Tail Docking, because of the injury possibility, Ears should never be cropped, that's just cruel.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

The communication issues are not towards you but other dogs. In my daily interactions with dogs I have noticed how other dogs are more ''tentative'' when approaching docked dogs in respect to un-docked dogs. This was confirmed in a book published by Stanley Coren and by a study conducted by Stephen Leaver. Docked dogs are ''handicapped'' when it comes to conveying emotions such as fear, caution, aggression and playfulness. The balance issues does not mean your dog will literally and constantly fall over or walk oddly. A tail works as a rudder when a dog is swimming and possibly aids in balance when running, putting them at a disadvantage compared to their tailed peers.

Rachel 4 years ago

I have read "How to speak Dog", thanks. I should have reread that chapter before posting here. The statistics about dogs being twice as likely to attack Docked dogs,(Coren 132) has now convinced me that only Sporting Dogs should be docked. I still love my Poodles as they are, however.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

I loved reading that book.. I think the best bet for breeders is to breed for stronger tails if they fear working/sporting dogs are prone to tail injuries. There are however lots of controversies and it all seems to boil down to cosmetics, for instance why do Weimareners have to be docked when the long-haired Weimarener is accepted with its tail? In a similar fashion, why are German Short Hair Pointers docked and then English Pointers are not? Why are Australian Shepherds docked and then Border Collies and Retrievers are not? These are all working/sporting dogs as well and seem to do just fine with their tails..go figure..

joinkent 4 years ago

Our English Springer Spaniel is expecting her first litter in 3 weeks and she is not docked and we will not be docking the puppies or allowing anyone to pay up front and go dock a puppy either. Our dog is a pet and although categorised in the UK as a gun dog (sporting dog in USA) we do not hunt - she is a family pet and therefore I see no reason to dock. In the UK you have to have a certificate and other paperwork to prove that your Gun Dogs are to be workign dogs before any Vet will dock. It is otherwise against the law here in the UK - and thank goodness it is. Has been since 2007 and it is lovely to see Springers and Cockers with their beautiful tails.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

That's great! Thanks for sharing. I like the UK's reasoning, it really makes sense.

Greg 4 years ago

just an FYI, Tail docking is not relatively new.. it's been done since the 1700's(probably even earlier). Something about working dogs having tails.. non working dogs not. and a tax was involved too.

mo harvey 4 years ago

my first boxer had his tail, but due to his excess wagging of tail and bottom he split his tail so many time and had considerable pain out vet who was totally against docking had to amputate his tail, which im sure was worse than if he had had it docked as a new born, he never missed his tail at all and he was two when we had it done so it wasnt something we went into lightly, i personnally would rather have a docked tail and not for cosmetic reasons but for the sake of the dog.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

There are countless owners of boxers with tails and they have no problem whatsoever. I personally would keep it instead for the sake of the dog. Injuries due to excess wagging are a result of domestication (ie wagging against walls, crates, furniture)we should not mold dogs to our lives but our lives to our dogs. Just my thoughts.

Lissa 4 years ago

Excuse me evolution lady. you may have come from monkeys but I was wonderfully created by Almighty God!!! Docking the tails and the other things is strictly pet owners decision and prerogative. I had both my sons circumcised because of my Christian beliefs. Some parents believe in spanking (not to be confused with beating) as a punishment. I being one of them. We all have different feelings and different beliefs. It is not your right to tell me i'm wrong nor is it my right to tell you your wrong however I would appreciate people to stay out of my business and let me raise my children and dogs according to my own wishes.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

It's not me saying not to dock; it's the AVMA, WSAVA, the Antidocking Alliance, more than 20 countries who have banned this practice, Banfield vets, and the thousands of people like me who think its unethical and cruel. It's not about your right to raise dogs, it's about the dog's rights we are talking about here, which apparently sadly don't count much:( Sorry to say but docking dogs just for cosmetic purposes (and spanking kids while we are at it) makes us closer to monkeys than God:( yes, we should be progressing not regressing:(

Mary 4 years ago

The puppy was way too old to be doing that to in the first place.It should have been doone at 2-3 days old.They should not have blunt cut it either or put a band on it.Were these vets or someone trying to make it look worse than it should hav been?I have done tails and never even had to stitch it with little or no bleeding.

I think they did this to show people what they want you to think.Ban it because it was done,not done wrong.My son was circumcised without an anesthetic at 2 days old.No one seems to care about that.Look at all the people who get their faces redone.I guess that's ok to them and they are probably some of the people complaining about it being done on an animal.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

I don't think they were trying to make it look worse, there are countless reports of backyard breeders doing this at their home "cut shop". Some were even reported for animal cruelty for banding at home. I really do not like comparing human procedures with tail docks as they are two totally different procedures.

Kristin 4 years ago

All I wanted to say is, you mentioned that breeders dock because it is their clients wishes. I would disagree. Most pet owners of docked and undocked dogs would be just fine and would even prefer their dogs to be undocked.

Unfortunately due to "breed standard" set by the likes of AKC and such breeders dock. I have personally asked about if breeders would not dock (because we are looking for a corgi) and I always get the response of due to breed standard, and because they dock at such a young age, the breeder can not yet determine which puppy has show potential and which ones would make good family pets. So what if they left one undocked and then that turns out to be the best "show" dog in the litter etc.

It will only change when dogs who are normally docked are allowed to enter the ring with a tail and succeed.

Docking became a practice for working animals, to protect them breaking the tail by being stepped on by cattle etc. But most dogs bred today are not working animals in the slightest.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

In my experience there are breeders and breeders. Backyard breeders, care less, they actually want to save money so docking is more of an inconvenience than anything else. Reputable breeders most likely show their dogs and wish to have specimens that adhere to the standard mostly because they wish to show if they have show quality puppies.

Ike538 4 years ago

Having a dogs tail docked is no different than have a baby boy circumcised. Both procedures are done to newborns without using any anesthesia or pain meds and neither remember the procedure. Just ask any Guy that's been circumcised if he remembers being in pain when he was 2 days old. As for dewclaws, yes they most definitely should be removed. After working at a vets office for several years I have seen to many dogs come in with there dewclaws grown into the pad. Tell me what's worse a quick 5 second procedure when the dogs 2 days old or a painful several weeks?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

My article is not on dewclaws.. anyhow, the fact the dog remembers or not the pain is irrelevant. what is relevant is the fact that this is done for cosmetic reasons only and for personal egocentric reasons. Dogs are not fashion accessories. Circumcision to tail docking is like comparing apples to oranges. How can a piece of tissue be compared with cutting through skin, nerves, bones? and how can it a piece of tissue be compared to an important means of communication as a dog's tail.

Tony 3 years ago

Alexadry, I think you are taking this way too far. Some breed's tails are built entirely differently. Some breeds need to have their tails cropped. I, like you, used to be blind to this fact as well. Here's a little story about my life as a loving dog owner...

We have a 5-year-old GSP that we just had to amputate her tail last Friday. GSPs, as I'm sure you are aware, usually have their tail docks. Many people believe this is due to cosmetic reasoning, but please pay attention...

Our vet told us from Day 1 after we rescued her that she NEEDED to have her tail cropped. He said most GSP breeds suffer from "Happy Tail Syndrome" and that is the reasoning behind their tails being cropped. My wife and I had never heard of this syndrome before, and we decided against it because we honestly had the same feelings as you about tail cropping.

However, after seeing our house look like a murder scene numerous times over the years due to her getting excited and smacking her tail into everything in sight, after years of bandaging her tail, years of worrying about her health and her little "nicks" opening back up or becoming infected, after years of thinking 'what can we do to stop this?', after literally lining our ENTIRE house with bubble wrap to help cushion the blows and PRAY her cuts wouldn't return ... My only wish is that we would've listen to our vet the first time. Our vet was right, her tail NEEDED to be cropped to protect her from herself. We were too blind to the fact because we thought the entire idea was solely for cosmetic reasons. The fact of the matter though, after talking with our vet, is that in many, many, many cases cosmetics has nothing to do with it.

I don't know the specifics from breed to breed, and I honestly don't care to, but in our case, tail cropping would have made a huge difference. Had her tail been cropped five years ago, it would've saved us -- and more importantly her -- a lot of stress.

I think with everything in life, things need to have a varying perspective. We are not, and refuse to be labeled as, bad dog owners. Or not caring for our dogs, or be told that we are egocentric. I know it's tough to do sometimes, but I think it may be beneficial for you to research "Happy Tail Syndrome" a little bit. It may open your eyes to many of the reasons why the practice of cropping is done in some cases.

I'm not saying I always agree with the practice, because I am definitely not schooled enough in the many breeds of dogs that have their tails cropped. However, the idea that cropping GSP's tails is solely for cosmetics reasons and for simplicity with hunting, is a myth. I love our GSP, and would happily own another ... only if it's tail was cropped FIRST ;)

Tony 3 years ago

This is a very interesting study that was performed after Sweden banned docking in GSPs.

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alexadry 3 years ago from USA Author

Tony, I am well aware about happy tail syndrome as that is also known to happen in boxers. And I am sorry to hear about your GSP tail, yours is an unfortunate case, but there are still many things that are not convincing. One thing is that this syndrome seems to happen due to keeping sporting breeds in confinement. If a GSP would be kept outdoors hunting and doing what it was bred for, it would likely not develop such a thing. In the past, this breed was worked all day, and then once in the home it would settle in front of a crackling fire and sleep. There was no opportunity to bang the tail against the walls. I know many GSP breeders in Europe who keep them undocked cause it's illegal there, and they seem to not have any issues both in the field or at home.

I personally have an issue on the study you posted from Sweden: it was conducted under the auspices of an organization known for advocating tail docking. I therefore believe it is biased. Another study conducted in England actually concluded that approximately 500 dogs need to be docked in order to prevent 1 tail injury! Is it worth it? In my opinion it's like saying, let's take away a baby's tonsils or an appendix to prevent future problems even if the chances are very low. It wouldn't make much sense!

Another controversial issue, is why is the German pointer docked when the English pointer can go happily with a tail and has done so for eons? And most importantly, why is that the long haired German pointer which is also a working dog allowed to have a tail while a short haired cannot? The criteria seems more based on a human nature's whims on what's OK and what is not more than based on concrete facts. So there are many things I just don't buy. Yes, you occasionally get the dog that gets injured, but it's not the norm. It's just unjust to go ahead and justify across-the-board that all dogs must be docked because several years later in life, a handful of them may wag their tails hard enough to do damage:(

Tony 3 years ago

Again, I just think this is going a little too far. I can't tell you how many people told me how amputating Lucy's tail this late in her life was going to be such a strenuous and tumultuous and major surgery. It took 45 minutes for the actual surgery. She was out cold and when she came to, showed no signs of pain or anything. The most bothersome thing has been the ridiculous e-collar she has to wear. She hates it, and I can't really blame her :)

I just have to admit that after going through this first hand, I definitely envisioned it to be much more difficult than it actually was. I was expecting this to be like open heart surgery on a human. That's one of the main reasons we waited until this option honestly became our last resort. However, after seeing how easy this whole process actually was, I wish we would've done it years ago.

Also, as to your question about docking 500 tails in order to save 1. I would absolutely answer that question with an emphatic yes unless there was proof that tail docking actually hinders the dog's life. I have this same approach towards humans as well. If altering something on 500 human bodies as baby's could better the life of 1 individual without altering the lifespan for all 501, I would gladly do this.

I agree with you that the breeds that dock tails solely for cosmetic purposes is wrong. I just don't agree that cosmetics is always the only case. A quick Google search will show you that Happy Tail is alive and thriving. If you ever experience it firsthand, which I certainly don't wish upon you, maybe you would see the other side as well.

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alexadry 3 years ago from USA Author

There are two sides of the story. Please google phanthom pain, the implication of tails in dog communication and the studies suggesting that tail docking in young pups is done without anesthesia and the pup feels pain despite what many breeders say. Not to mention urinary and defecation implications and locomotion. There is ample of proof out there that tail docking has many health and psychological implications. For me all of these are enough to make the procedure not worth it. Add to that the 500 in 1 chances and then you see where I come from. You also haven't witnessed seeing the docking first hand which I have with the pups shrieking in pain, and worst of all some pups getting infections- and all of this in breeds with perfectly strong tails such as Rottweilers. Here is a great read for the other side of the story many do not want to know or pretend not to know. There's much more going on that thought!

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alexadry 3 years ago from USA Author

Also, please understand that I am totally with you on docking when medically necessary. I just don't agree, nor I think it's correct to assume that 500 dogs should have this done as a preventive measure if the chance is only 1 may get tail injuries. I find this appalling being that there there are also countless risks in tail docking as the article published in the Australian Veterinary Journal above points out. Also one consideration: if the procedure was so harmless and tail injuries were so common, why would you think respected veterinary organizations such as AVMA and WSAVA would be against it?

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alexadry 3 years ago from USA Author

FYI, I am familiar with happy tail, we have treated one -two cases when I worked for the vet and all we did was bandage along with giving discharge orders of keeping the dog away from walls and avoid crates. Management was all it took to prevent relapses just as you would with a dog with an injured leg. As you may know "Happy tail", also known as "kennel tail" because it's seen in dogs that are often confined, can affect any breed of dog. The one we treated was a lab. For the sake of argument, would you be comfortable advocating docking for labs, goldens and just about any breed of dog for a slim chance as such?

Justine 3 years ago

Alexadry, i have a very serious question, that being i have two pure manx cats, one with a long tail the other with a short tail (natural not docked). My long tailed manx is pregnant and im looking into getting the long tailed kittens docked. i am in no way wanting to get this done because of cosmetic reasons, i have reads in a few different places that long tailed manxs can develop pains in the tails that can lead to serious problems. Im have a very difficult time deciding what to do here, i really dont want to cause my kittens any unessisary pain. PLEASE HELP!

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alexadry 3 years ago from USA Author

Justine, my experience with cats and the manx breed is limited when it comes to docking. Perhaps it's best to ask your vet about this when you have them checked out or your breeding mentor if you have one.

stevek503 3 years ago

Alexandry, your arrogant tone in your article and comments is very annoying. I can see your point, but your point is not the only one, nor is it the only correct one.

I have several dogs, two of them in particular relate to this article. Both are mutts, shelter dogs, so I don't know their whole history. One is a lab mix, her tail had already been docked when we took her home. She is perfectly happy and has been a terrific dog. We were sad that her tail was gone, but we could still tell when she was happy because her nubby was wagging. So no problem with communication there. The other dog is a mix that we still can't quite figure out, but I am pretty sure there is some pointer in her. Every wall in our house is streaked with blood and the tip of her tail is perpetually injured.

You mentioned hunting dogs should be kept outside, and if we were utilizing them for what they were bred for, this problem would not exist. Basically, every one of these dogs in the shelter should be left there to die if they are not going to be used for what they were bred for. I don't feel that way. I do not hunt, I have animals, I don't kill them. My dogs have a full half acre to run around, to play, and wear themselves out. She still has a bloody tail, and she has actually injured a smaller dog and a cat with her baseball bat-like tail. There are other animals in the house that you probably did not even consider when you wrote this.

We were sad about our lab, and wished she still had her tail. Now we understand that there might be other reasons besides what we think look pleasing to us.

We spay and neuter all of our pets. They were born with those parts and they served a purpose. We do it to stop unwanted breeding and the health benefits that come with altering a animal. Sometimes removing things are in the animals best interest.

We have not docked the tail, we really don't want to, we would really rather not. But in the end, we will do what is necessary.

So, tell me, how do I keep my dog away from walls and doorways, how do I keep it away from trees and fences. Is having a constant open wound a good thing?

Try not to sound so arrogant and holier than thou.

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alexadry 3 years ago from USA Author

Steve, I do not see this arrogance you mention. If you read through the comments, you'll notice how pro-dockers have attacked me repeatedly. I have been called names and some comments I had to remove because they were full of bad words. I want to make it clear that I don't have anything against the procedure when done for medical reasons and a reasonable matter. I offer all my support to those who have to dock because of medical causes. The problem with communication in docked dogs is not from us not being able to read them, but mostly from other dogs who approach docked dogs with more suspicion. As a dog trainer/behavior consultant I have seen this happen, and there are even some studies on this. See the "robo-dog"study if you have time. I am not against spaying and neutering, and I have worked for shelters and was horrified by the amount of pets put to sleep because of bad choices. I rather see more dogs spayed and neutered than pups put to sleep because nobody wants them. I wished some people spent money more to help shelters rather than docking dogs for cosmetic reasons, but that's something I can't do anything about it. Back to your case, yes, please do what the vet recommends if your dog's tail is such a bloody mess and please don't feel bad or guilty for it as you have a good reason for it. I do occasionally blame domestication for causing this sort of injury, since it's sometimes seen when people over-crate their dogs, keeping them all day home in a small room, which is not the life for an active dog bred to work. I was really angry once when a person told me his Boxer had "happy tail" and then he told me his dog was crated like 10 hours a day. But in your case you have acreage, sounds like your dogs lead an active, happy life and you're taking very good care of them. Your vet is the best option to consult in this case; some vets are conservative and will do what it takes to save the tail, others will dock it, especially if the wound is constantly re-opening. See what your vet recommends. Do what's in the best interest of your dog, best wishes.

Donald 2 years ago

Docking of a dog's tail is so inhumane and i for one totally hates it, i see many here agreeing to docking tails because another dog tail is injured, why don't you people go and chop of your own hands because someone else hand was injured or rip off your nails because someone else's nail was split? Why don't you? Puppies feel pain just as an adult, who tells you they don't? And people saying they looks badder, so what? They not bad while their tails are on? Is some illiterate owners like these taking dogs and causing dogs to get bad raps and have society blaming the animals, you want animal to be hurting just because they looking bad, people like you so shouldn't even be owning an animal, causing the animal pain just for to have a mean looking dog, this is the same foolish and stupid mentality is what have given the pitbulls and doberman a bad rap..steups

Kelly 2 years ago

These docks are hurting their tails in confined spaces because they should not be kept inside. Dogs belong outdoors.

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alexadry 2 years ago from USA Author

Dogs can be kept indoors if they are properly exercised and given mental stimulation. Think about hunters out in the field all day and then coming home with their happy, tired dogs dozing off in front of a crackling fire. If these dogs are hurting their tails in confined spaces they are not being properly exercised and are housed in inappropriate quarters. I know many active breeds who are happy indoors because their committed owners are exercising them enough during the day and have no problems of hurting their tails.

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Emma Chan 2 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

We are going through the docking debate at the moment, the NZKC wants it to remain legal, the Veterinary Council see docking for cosmetics (breed standard, since it can be changed, included) as unnecessary. You have hunters who claim that their dogs get injured in the field, other hunters, using the same breed and often the same lines, don't have that issue. However, humans have interfered with dogs for centuries, that is why there is over 300 different breeds, what of those bred to be tailless? Australian cattle dogs and pembroke welsh corgis can be practically tailless (disregarding cases such as the sudden spate of litters of 'naturally bobtail' rotties that appeared once Australia bit the bullet and made cosmetic docking illegal)

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alexadry 3 months ago from USA Author

Emma Chan, thanks for sharing your thoughts on tail docking in dogs.

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