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

Responses: 23


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

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


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

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.

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.

Had to tail dock

Today I had my 3 year old mixed boarder collie s tail removed to about the last 5 inches.She had been in an accident and the lower part damaged to the point she constantly was trying to chew it off.We tried all the devices and none worked short of a muzzle 24-7. Sometimes things have to be done to make things better in the future, good luck with your individual decision
—Guest rob

Beauty of Dogs: Gods Way vs. Mans Way

I'm fine with cosmetic surgery for those who want to look younger or smaller/larger in places, as long as that adult is capable of making those decisions. What I'm not ok with is when that same logic is applied to our canine friends. While some prefer to perfect God's beauty for themselves, how can anyone look at a tiny puppy and feel the need to change a single thing? Aren't they already absolutely adorable just as He intended? Considering there are more than 5000 breeds in the world and an endless amount of mixed breeds, surely there's a dog to suit everyone. The most important thing to consider is the amount of pain these poor defenseless pups must go through. When humans have surgical changes made to themselves, they're given anesthesia along with pain meds after the procedure. Did you know these puppies are awake the whole time and given nothing for pain afterwards? Hard to believe this is the 21st century and yet there are still barbaric procedures such as tail docking going on.
—Guest S.Moore

Tail Docking

Of course what most people who do not hunt with a dog do not understand is this: in the case of my breed, German Shorthaired Pointers, if the tail is left natural, more injuries and having to have it amputated as an adult is far more painful. When done correctly, and at the correct age of 3 days old, the puppy's nervous system is not completely intact, I have held pups that slept right through tail docking. Ear cropping on the other hand to me, when the dog is fully neurologically functioning is terrible.

It depends

For some dogs, like my own, it is a good idea to have their tails docked. Mine is running around in pastures and such and could easily get it caught and have no one find her. Some dogs look very weird without it too. Like Jack Russels.
—Guest Ashlin

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