Tail Docking- Should you do it?

Tail Docking- Should you do it?

Tail docking and ear cropping have always been a hot topic in the animal community. Whether for sport, or fashion, these procedures can date back to ancient times.

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), “Tail docking refers to the removal of a portion of the tail. The length that is docked varies depending on the breed. Dogs with docked tails include Cocker Spaniels, Rottweilers, and Yorkshire Terriers. Currently, 62 breeds recognized by the AKC have docked tails. Some dogs, such as the Old English Sheepdog and Australian Shepherd, may appear to be docked, but may have actually been born with a ‘bobtail’, or naturally short tail”. They also believe that for certain breeds, these procedures actually enhance the dog’s ability to perform the tasks it is meant to do.

The Romans believed that amputation of the tail tip and/or parts of the dog’s tongue could prevent a dog from contracting rabies. Because the tail was believed to help a dog in the chase, dogs were historically docked if they were owned by a poor person not permitted to hunt game.


Some of those reasons are still relevant today. Those are:

1) Heavy coated breeds need to have their tails docked for hygienic reasons.

2) Prevents a dog from breaking its tail when older.

3)  Showing dogs.  Dogs can only participate in dog shows where the breed standard of that country calls for tail docking. The American Kennel Club, for example, is for docking tails that is traditionally done for that breed, such as with the Doberman pinscher.

Today, the issue continues to be contentious among veterinarians, breeders and dog owners. Studies produced evidence of actual harm to dogs undergoing tail docking, further bolstering veterinary associations’ positions worldwide. Thus, in 2008, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) announced its new and simplified policy:

“The AVMA opposes ear cropping and tail docking of dogs when done solely for cosmetic purposes. The AVMA encourages the elimination of ear cropping and tail docking from breed standards.” In concordance with this position, in July 2009, Banfield, owning over 730 pet hospitals, stated that none of their veterinarians or hospitals would “perform ear cropping or tail docking surgeries on dogs for cosmetic reasons.”


While these procedures might be beneficial for some pups, they aren’t as necessary for others. Be sure to do some research and see if these are purely cosmetic enhancements for your furry pal or not. For more information you can visit:

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