If you’re a dog owner, then you’ve likely seen pictures of Australian shepherds with their long, fluffy tails. But what you may not know is that these dogs are often born with their tails docked – a procedure that removes part or all of a dog’s tail.
Docking is the process of amputating a portion, or all, of a dog’s tail. The procedure is considered an elective surgery, and is often done for cosmetic reasons. While many pet owners may not be familiar with the term, docking is a common practice in the United States and other countries.
In fact, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), nearly 30% of all dogs have their tails docked. But why do Westminster Kennel Club champions have their tails docked? And what is tail docking used for in Australian shepherds?
And what’s the reasoning behind this practice? Keep reading to learn more about tail docking and its effects on dogs.
So, Do Australian Shepherds need their tails docked?
What Is Tail Docking and why it is important?
Tail docking is the practice of cutting a dog’s tail off, typically when they are still a puppy. It is a procedure that has been around for centuries and is still performed in some parts of the world today.
While there are many reasons why people may dock their dog’s tails, one of the most common reasons is to prevent them from being injured or maimed if they get into a fight with another dog. Another reason is that many breeders believe that it makes the dog look better.
However, there are also many people who oppose tail docking on ethical grounds, claiming that it is cruel and unnecessary.
Reasons for Tail Docking
- The most common reason that tails are docked is for cosmetic purposes. Many people believe that a docked tail gives a dog a neater appearance.
This is especially true for certain breeds, such as poodles and schnauzers, which are often shown in conformation (conformation is dog shows where judges evaluate how closely a dog conforms to the idealized standard for its breed).
- Some people also believe that docked tails are less likely to get injured. This is because a long tail can easily get caught on things, or stepped on, which can lead to painful injuries.
In addition, some working dogs, such as Australian shepherds, may have their tails docked in order to prevent them from getting injured while working.
- Finally, some people believe that docking a dog’s tail can help to reduce the risk of rabies transmission. This is because the rabies virus is typically transmitted through a bite, and a dog’s tail is often the first part of their body to be bitten when they are fighting with another animal.
Opposition to Tail Docking
While there are many reasons why people may choose to dock their dog’s tails, there is also a lot of opposition to the practice.
- One of the main arguments against tail docking is that it is unnecessary and cruel. Many people believe that it is wrong to remove a part of a dog’s body simply for cosmetic reasons. In addition, tail docking can be a painful procedure for puppies, which often have their tails docked without any pain relief.
- Another argument against tail docking is that it can actually make a dog more prone to injuries. This is because docking a dog’s tail can interfere with their natural ability to balance, which can make them more likely to fall and hurt themselves.
- In addition, docked tails can also make it difficult for dogs to communicate with other dogs and humans. This is because a dog’s tail is used as a form of nonverbal communication, and removing it can make it harder for them to communicate their needs.
- Finally, some people believe that tail docking is unnecessary because there are now many breeds of dogs that do not have their tails docked. This includes popular breeds such as golden retrievers, Labradors, and border collies.
As more people become aware of the potential risks of tail docking, they are choosing to adopt breeds that do not require this procedure.
The Bottom Line
Tail docking is a controversial practice that has been around for centuries. There are many reasons why people may choose to dock their dog’s tails, but there is also a lot of opposition to the practice.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to dock a dog’s tail is a personal one, and should be made after careful consideration of all of the potential risks and benefits.
So, how do you dock a puppy’s tail? Or how do you dock an Australian Shepherds tail?
How Is Tail Docking Performed?
If you’re considering having your dog’s tail docked, then it’s important to understand how the procedure is performed. Tail docking is typically done when a puppy is between two and five days old. The procedure is usually performed by a vet, but it can also be done by a qualified breeder or groomer.
The first step of the tail docking procedure is to anaesthetise the puppy. This can be done with either a local anaesthetic or a general anaesthetic.
Once the puppy is anaesthetised, the vet will make an incision at the base of the tail, and then remove a portion of the tail, depending on the desired length.
Finally, the incision will be closed with stitches or surgical glue, and the puppy will be given pain relief medication to help them recover from the procedure.
After the tail has been docked, the puppy will need to be closely monitored for any signs of infection or other complications.
The stitches or surgical glue will usually need to be removed after seven to 10 days, and the puppy will need to return to the vet for a check-up two weeks after the procedure.
Pros and Cons of Tail Docking
As with any decision, there are both pros and cons to tail docking. It’s important to weigh up all of the potential risks and benefits before deciding whether or not to dock your dog’s tail.
Some of the potential benefits of tail docking include:
- Reducing the risk of injuries: Docking a dog’s tail can help to prevent injuries, as it can make them less likely to fall and hurt themselves.
- Preventing rabies transmission: Some people believe that docking a dog’s tail can help to reduce the risk of rabies transmission, as it can make it more difficult for another animal to bite the tail during a fight.
- Reducing vet bills: Tail docking can also help to reduce vet bills, as it can prevent injuries that may require medical treatment.
So, is tail docking painful to puppies?
Why you shouldn’t Dock your dog’s tail?
However, there are also some potential risks associated with tail docking, which include:
- Pain and discomfort: Tail docking is a surgical procedure, and puppies can experience pain and discomfort afterwards. In addition, the procedure can be stressful for puppies, and they may need to be given pain relief medication.
- Increased risk of injury: As mentioned above, tail docking can actually make a dog more prone to injuries. This is because it can interfere with their natural ability to balance, which can make them more likely to fall and hurt themselves.
- Difficulty communicating: Docked tails can also make it difficult for dogs to communicate with other dogs and animals. This is because they use their tails to express themselves, and docking can interfere with this important form of communication.
Frequently asked questions
Should You Dock Your Dog’s Tail?
As you can see, there are both pros and cons to tail docking. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to dock your dog’s tail is a personal one, and should be made after careful consideration of all of the potential risks and benefits. If you’re still unsure about whether or not to dock your dog’s tail, then it’s a good idea to speak to your vet for more information.
How long should Australian shepherd’s tail be docked?
There is no definitive answer to this question, as it will depend on the individual dog and the desired length. However, most tail docking procedures involve removing a portion of the tail, typically between two and five inches.
Can you dock a tail at 12 weeks?
Yes, tail docking can be done at 12 weeks old, although it is generally recommended to wait until the puppy is at least eight weeks old. This is because puppies have a higher risk of complications from the procedure if they are younger than eight weeks old.
Is it cruel to dock a dogs tail?
There is no definitive answer to this question, as it is a personal decision. Some people believe that tail docking is cruel, as it can cause pain and discomfort for the dog.
However, others believe that it is necessary in order to prevent injuries or transmit diseases. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to dock a dog’s tail is a personal one.
Is dog tail docking legal?
Yes, dog tail docking is legal in most countries. However, there are some countries, such as Australia and the United Kingdom, where tail docking is illegal unless it is done for medical reasons.
Is dog tail docking illegal in the US?
No, dog tail docking is not illegal in the United States. However, some states, such as California, have banned the practice.
Are Australian Shepherds tails cropped?
Yes, Australian Shepherds’ tails are typically cropped, meaning that a portion of the tail is removed. This is typically done when the puppy is eight weeks old.
Why don’t mini Aussies have tails?
There are a few reasons why mini Aussies may not have tails. One reason is that they may have been bred from parents who had their tails docked.
Another reason is that tail docking may have been done for cosmetic reasons or to prevent injuries. Finally, some mini Aussies may be born without tails due to a genetic mutation.
Are Australian shepherds born with docked tails?
No, Australian shepherds are not born with docked tails. Instead, the procedure is typically done when the puppy is eight weeks old.
How much does it cost to get a dog’s tail docked?
The cost of tail docking will vary depending on the vet and the region, but it typically ranges from $50-$200.
Is dog tail docking legal in Australia?
No, dog tail docking is illegal in Australia unless it is done for medical reasons. This means that the vet must believe that there is a legitimate medical reason for the procedure, such as if the tail is injured or diseased.
Australian shepherds are born with tails that naturally taper to a point. While many people believe that this natural tapering is aesthetically pleasing, it can also lead to problems.
For this reason, the practice of tail docking – or cutting off the end of a puppy’s tail – has been performed on Australian shepherds for centuries. Though there is some opposition to the procedure, most people feel that it is important in order to protect the dog from future health risks.
In this article we discussed about how do you trim an Australian Shepherds tail? And Pros and Cons of Tail Docking and answered some questions.
If you are considering owning an Australian shepherd, it is important to be aware of both the pros and cons of tail docking before making your decision. Have you ever trimmed your Aussie’s tail? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!