Why do breeders cut off dogs tails? A Complete Guide

Why do people dock dogs’ tails?

Nowadays, people cut off dogs tails for four main reasons: to conform to the breed standard, sanitary reasons, to protect the dog from injuries, and for cosmetic purposes.

Breeders of purebred dogs often perform these surgical modifications to keep up with AKC standards. Tail docking is the AKC standard for more than 60 breeds, which translates to nearly a third of the breeds on the registry. Animal activists stress that the AKC breed standards promote this outdated practice since they wont make exceptions for undocked dogs to participate in shows.

Some pet parents prefer to dock long-haired dogs because it can prevent a build-up of fecal matter on the dogs hind end, making matting less likely and cleanup easier. Others choose to cut off working breeds tails because it can prevent briars and burrs from getting in the fur and injuring the animal.

Still, others cut off dogs tails for the same reason people perform ear-cropping: simply because they like the way it looks.

There are many questions and concerns about the ethical nature of tail docking in dogs. In fact, 40 countries have banned the practice of tail docking altogether. Docking is not illegal in all parts of the UK; however, handlers may no longer enter dogs in dog shows if they have undergone tail docking. Many animal activists praise this move as a step in the right direction to changing the outlook on breed standards and tail docking.

While tail docking is legal in America, the American Veterinary Medical Association is a staunch opponent of this practice due to the risks of complications. Likewise, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in the UK have spoken out against this practice, calling it “unjustified mutilation and unethical”.

Complications due to tail docking can involve infection, tumors, leaking of the cerebrospinal fluid, and even death. Whats more, tail docking can cause a young puppy tremendous pain. Some experts argue that neonatal puppies do not have a fully developed nervous system and cant feel the pain of tail docking, yet theres plenty of evidence to the contrary. Puppies often yelp and cry out when they have their tails docked, making some experts believe they are actually more sensitive to pain than older dogs who undergo this procedure.

The practice of tail docking seems to go far back in history at least to the Ancient Greeks

A Greek aristocrat named Alcibiades may have been the first person to cut off a dog’s tail. The story goes that he had an extremely handsome dog which everyone talked about. When people became accustomed to the good looks of his dog and the discussions started to move on to other topics, Alcibiades cut off his dog’s tail in order to draw the conversation and gossip back to himself, as everyone wondered why he would do such a thing!

How old can you dock a dog’s tail?

Typically, you can begin tail docking when the pup is 3 days old.

As mentioned above, dogs’ tails are commonly docked when they are between 3-5 days of age.

What are the PROS and CONS of docking a dogs tail??

Buying a dog is a choice, but it’s the worst possible choice. Buying from a breeder—who could be anyone from a puppy mill owner in another state to a local “backyard” breeder selling dogs on Craigslist to your neighbor who forgot to spay their now-pregnant dog—while millions of dogs are in need of a safe, loving home is a deadly decision that fuels the companion animal overpopulation crisis. Dog breeders know it, but they don’t want you to know. Too bad for them, then, that PETA’s laying it all bare.