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Readers Respond: What is your opinion of tail docking in dogs?

Responses: 27

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From the article: Docked Tail

Tail docking is amputation of the tail. This surgery is usually done for cosmetic (breed standard) reasons, when the puppy is just a few days old.

Tail docking an adult dog is a much more involved surgery, due to the development of muscle, nerves, blood vessels and bone.

Sometimes there is a medical reason for these surgeries, such as repeated or non-healing injuries. For many breeds however, the reason is cosmetic.

Is your dog's tail docked? What is your opinion of tail docking in general?

Related: What do you think about ear cropping?
Banfield Veterinary Group Bans Ear Cropping and Tail Docking

Tell us about it

Tail and ear docking is a MUST!!!

Tail MUST be docked in working and gun dogs they get painful injuries as they work in heavy brush the end of tail splits and then it has to be amputated ..... also with boar hunting dogs ears must be cropped for dogs safety reason.
—Guest Viktors Ginters

leave them natural

i have mini poodles and 2 were bought with the tails docked and the puppies they had afterwards did not. for those that say it stops the feces from sticking in their coats, you are DEAD wrong! i have had the 2 dogs with docked tails have had their feces stuck in their hair. it doesn't matter the length of hair except it be cut very very short to stop that from happening. and so you just have to keep your eyes open and nose, check quite often. Then the docking the ears shouldn't be done either. and the dewclaws (the natural toes that is on the front paws) should NEVER be cut off either. if they are NOT deformity-extra that somehow have grown on the toes i could see taking them off at the right age, but NEVER the natural toes that ALL dogs are to have and are born with, should NOT be cut off.
—Guest helen

Yes

We were told by our vet that it would wouldn't hurt the puppies that much to have their tails docked. I was there threw the procedure and the puppies were fine, when we got them home they n ever cried or whined and our female, their mother licked b and took care of them. To me, my boxers are very active and would most likely get a tail caught on or in something and I believe we made the best decision. I find it odd people don't understand a vet cares for animals as our doctor cares for us...they know what their doing.
—Guest Guest

Why not?

I am definitely a pro-animal rights kind of person, but I'm for ear/tail docking. Tail docking doesn't hurt newborn puppies if done correctly and can be fatal if not done in some breeds. Docking the ears of hog dogs prevents them from being RIPPED off later. Cleanliness for some long haired dogs is important and sometimes isn't enforced, but could be if some people would suck it up and chop off a tail. Docking is like circumcision; Sometimes it's needed and other times it's for aesthetic reasons. I've helped my grandfather dock many puppies tails, including mine, and most didn't even let out a squeal.
—Guest Raven

Gundog tail docking.

I personally believe that changing the dog's appearance for your own benefit is wrong and unnecessary. However, in working gundogs tail docking plays an important role. The fact that it is banned without exemption in Scotland does irritate me as gundogs are a case where docking is necessary. Spaniels out working thrash their tails around as it is in their nature. This can mean that they get injured badly hence causing them stress. This could easily be avoided if the ban was lifted or an exemption made. That is my opinion anyway.
—Guest iijsjcfksa

Yes for some reasons

For some reasons yes: breed standard(if showdog), safety (certain dogs can be seriously injured if they have a tail), cleanliness (long haired dogs can become filthy), and of course there is the very critised cosmetic reason(its very much like circumsicion; not a big deal; doesn't hurt the dog)
—Guest Morgan

YES

People who say dont do it are people who have purchased their dogs for vanity versus the purpose that breed serves. I own weimaraners and I have seen battered damaged tails on tails that were in tact after coming out of the field. When a pup is 3 days old there is no way to determine which pups will or will not hunt. How many of you that say no to tail docking has a circumcised son? That is for vanity! I know quite a few men that are not circumcised and have never had an infection.
—Guest Michelle

tail docking

Tails are a major means of communication for the dog - to other dogs and to you. Aussies lose that when their tails are docked
—not2persona

Ban cosmetic tail docking in dogs.

It strikes me as another example of cruel, painful surgery for human vanity! NO breed standard should retain the need for any cosmetic surgery. Shame on the USA for allowing it!!
—Guest Janet Diehl

Tail docking

For certain breeds it is much better to have their tails docked at 3 days old, and it really does not hurt. Mommy cleans them up and it is fine. I do not understand ear docking however, and unless someone can explain WHY it should be done, I am against Ear docking.
—Grannyrolo

ALL cosmetic surgey=ban. ALL is from GOD

I don't believe it is inhumane or cruel. I do think it needs to be done on most breeds. It will prevent injury in the future (read some statics of countries who banned the procedure; most of then saw a major increase is vets visits due to injuries of the undocked tail, & poor hygiene), and it will prevent disease, and other hygienic complications!!!! I have a Miniature Aussie, and her tail was docked when she was a just a few days old. The nerves and bone are not fully grown in, and most vets do it in a more natural way, like a baby's umbilical cord would be done. It has a rubberband placed around it to cut off blood flow, so it can fall off naturally. I most definitely would rather have her tail docked NOW (like it is, and on my future puppies), than risk REAL injury or some sort of infestation later on in her life. Then she would have a serious problem and need surgery to remove it! It is not inhumane, nor does it cause much pain, when done at proper age.
—Guest If you think its inhumane, read title..

No other choice...

Our adult dog developed an injury to the tail that would not heal... the bloody mess was hard to manage... bandaging the tail was a lost cause!
—Guest At Wits End!

tail docking

I think it is a horrible mutilation and should not be done for cosmetic reasons. The breed standards should be changed.
—Guest Mary Madis

sometimes it is wise to dock the tail

I have the same situation in my home as the person who first asked this question. I have a great dane mixed with birddog. oh how i wish I had docked this pup's tail. He slaps the kids in the face and everyone else on the legs. he is always whacking it on EVERYTHING. he knocks things off of tables, and everything else. I will not dock his tail, now that i have discovered it will be painful to him now, but I sure wish I had done it when he was born. I know the poor big guy would agree to make this decision on account of all the trouble he has because of the huge swinging whip that is attached to his butt and he just cant help wagging. Its not his fault we weren't wise enough to think of this possibility looking at that adorable pup.
—Guest lilallykat

It's not just dogs

Someone who has never seen a long-tailed sheep mightn't understand, but not only dogs regularly get their tails docked. I've had sheep with long tails and sheep with short tails, and the same with dogs. In the case of my current dog without a tail (bobtail in her individual case, but about half of Australian Shepherds are born with tails and have them docked), she would end up the same as a sheep with a full tail. Filthy. Heavy-coated breeds and species that don't keep their tails raised are going to catch considerable amounts of feces in their rear ends. It can even become a health risk, not to mention degrading to walk around covered in one's own filth. Removing the tail as a newborn prevents all of this. With Australian Shepherds, some dogs are born without a tail and some with. However, breeding two bobtails is worse than breeding two merles: it frequently leads to extreme spinal conditions. I don't support cosmetic docking, but ultimatums are worse. It's not black and white.
—Nemeril

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What is your opinion of tail docking in dogs?

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