Have you ever wondered why some breeds such as poodles have docked tails while the others aren’t?
Have you also wondered why the breeders of these dogs are so adamant about getting the procedure done?
Or perhaps you came across the many videos on YouTube performing the procedure and are curious to know why a dog owner would want to put their dog through such a process?
In this article, we aim to provide all the pros and cons of poodle docking, discuss alternatives to tail docking, and go over some frequently asked questions about the subject. Doing this, we will be providing you with all the necessary information so that you can make your own informed decision.
So let’s get started!
Do Poodles Really Need Their Tail?
A poodle communicates through its tail a lot more than you might think. At times it can also help save you or a loved one from a severe injury from your poodle.
When dealing with a poodle, one should be familiar with correctly identifying what a poodle is about to do based on all the hints they are giving.
There is a lot of misconception when it comes to an understanding of what a dog is trying to convey through its tail.
Most people believe that a dog wags it’s tail when they are happy. Well, not necessarily. What you need to do is look at how the dog is wagging its tail.
At times, when a dog is happy, their entire body starts to wag as a result of their tail wagging, and that happens when the dog is extremely happy.
Some poodles tuck their tails between their legs, and that might be a sign of stress, poodle anxiety, fear, or lack of comfort.
When a poodle’s tail is stiff and raised above their back, it is a sign that they are being territorial.
If your poodle is wagging, it’s at a lower angle then it might now be that they are happy. It often indicated that the dog is nervous, and as a responsible poodle-owner, you should learn how to interpret that correctly.
What is Poodle Tail Docking?
Poodle Tail Docking is among the most controversial topics in the poodle community that is under constant heat.
It is a decades-old procedure involves cutting short the dog’s tail not long after it’s born. The reason for carrying out this procedure soon after the puppy is born is because the nervous systems are not fully grown. As a result, they feel little to no pain at all.
This procedure is carried out without anesthesia, as it could pose a severe threat to the puppy’s life.
The common misconception about tail docking is that it is solely to produce better-looking show dogs or for aesthetic purposes. But, in reality, there’s a lot more to it than just cosmetics.
Veterinarians worldwide state that mislabeling tail docking as cosmetics is disrespectful and shows a lack of proper understanding about the pedigree of purebred dogs.
Now the question may arise, why they aren’t all poodles docked? Well, to put it merely, docking isn’t mandatory, and it’s ultimately the owners decide whether to want to get the procedure done or not.
Is Poodle Tail Docking Legal?
Before we move on any further, we should consider the legality of this procedure.
Many countries have banned the practice of tail docking, as it is considered cruel and unnecessary.
This world map accurately shows all the different regions in this world, along with their legal status of poodle tail docking.
Make sure you check if poodle tail docking is legal before getting the procedure done.
Pros and Cons of Docking a Poodle’s Tail
Before making an important decision, we always weigh the pros and cons. Doing so helps us make more informed decisions and the ones that we are less likely to regret afterward. The choice of getting your dog’s tail docked should be no different.
So, let’s weigh in all the pros and cons of poodle tail docking. We are starting with some advantages of tail docking.
Maintain Breed Standards – Breed Standards are guidelines of what a particular breed should be like, and breeders follow those guidelines to protect every purebred breed, including the poodles. The confirmation states what the look, conformation, and the temperament of a kind should be. In simple terms, these standards state the unique traits of a breed so that those breeds can continue to function at a job they like they were intended for while maintaining their original look.
Working Dog breeds such as the poodle have higher chances of injury – When a poodle goes through the training to function as hunting dogs they will often be in a tight and clustered area, having a shorter tail will help to move through tight corners faster.
Hygienic Purposes – Poodles have long hair, and it often gets fouled by feces, even with constant grooming and washing.
Now let’s have a look at the cons of poodle tail docking.
Can cause pain – We know for a fact that tail docking is painful for the puppy. No matter what the vets or breeders say – it is painful and messy.
Sabotaging communication skills – A dog uses its tail to communicate. A significant length of tail cut out may seriously undermine its communication skills, which in turn leaves the dog owner unaware of what the dog feels, which might prove to be crucial at times.
Cosmetic Reasons – Many poodle owners get their poodles docked only for aesthetic reasons and served no other purpose whatsoever.
Is Tail Docking Painful to Puppies?
If you watch one of the many videos available on YouTube that show a dog’s tail getting docked you might be disgusted and ask questions like “Why would anyone put their pets though this?”. You’re not alone, most of us have been there. Tail docking does look painful but the fact of the matter is that tail docking is carried out when the dog is of 2-5 days, they are tiny and their eyes are not even open yet.
Long experience and research tell us that tail docking, when carried out correctly, causes no pain or discomfort. Tail docking causes no more pain than a human getting their ears or nose pierced.
If you consider getting your poodle’s tail docked, we highly advise you to get it done by a professional with ample experience in this subject for the best results and minimum stress on the pup.
Can Tail Docking Cause Nerve Damage?
One of the most frequently asked questions of curious poodle owners when it comes to tail docking. We finally have an answer that is backed by research.
In a research conducted by Scotland based Dale Sandercock, of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), provided new proof that helped shine a light on the long term effects on tail docking.
Dr. Sandercock stated that tail docking causes acute and sustained changes, which have long-term implications for pig-welfare.
Upon being asked if his findings were of any relevance to dogs, he had this to say:
Of course, this work is relevant to other species – why wouldn’t it be? The issue is, until now, we have not really been looking for what happens to the animal later on in life– Dr. Dale Sandercock
Tail Banding In Poodles – A Less Painful Way?
Many people consider poodle tail docking as animal cruelty. It is mostly due to blood’s involvement and the fact that it is painful for the dog to go through.
So, what exactly is poodle tail banding, and is it safer and less painful than docking?
Glad you asked. Let’s learn more about it.
Tail banding is essentially taking a Castration Band and tying it at a dime’s length of a newborn puppy’s tail. By doing that, the blood flow to the tail’s end gets restricted, and eventually, it falls off without any blood or pain.
Sounds easy, right? Well, not so fast.
Banding leaves the tail all nasty and full of pus if not executed properly. Moreover, there is always the risk of cutting it too short and exposing the bone present in the tail.
Cutting a tail short exposes the vertebrae present in the rear. No skin encloses that vertebrae even after the tail end falls off, and hence it is susceptible to all sorts of infections.
You should note that banding a poodle’s tail is a bit more complicated than tying knots at the end of a dog’s tail, so we highly suggest you get it done from a professional. Half an inch off the right mark and your dog can be in some severe pain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. When should poodle tail docking be done?
A. Docking a poodle puppy’s tail should ideally be done within the two – five days time frame. During this time, the nerve tissues are yet to grow fully, which is the ideal period to carry out this procedure to cause the puppy the least pain.
Q. How much does poodle tail docking cost?
A. To get your poodle’s tail docked is not expensive at all as it requires an emasculator and a professional vet to perform the procedure. So the process may cost you $10-$15. You may be charged extra for further checkups.
Q. Are all poodles tails docked?
A. Tail docking in poodles while being a standard isn’t mandatory. Is it your decision as a dog owner to either get it done or not unless it is required due to a medical reason?
Our Take On Tail Docking
A vast majority of dog owners feel their dog is private property, and they should be allowed to do with as they, please be it ear cropping, neutering, docking, etc.
While we respect their opinion, we mainly don’t agree with it.
It’s a personal preference, but we do not feel obligated to do it just to maintain breed standards.
Several countries outside of the United States have outright banned docking.
The argument that it is necessary to prevent injuries while working seems irrelevant in most cases in present times.
What are your thoughts on poodle tail docking?
We would love to what your thoughts are on this controversial topic. So, do let us know in the comment section down below!
Poodle tail docking is a sensitive topic.
With this topic, we aimed to provide all the necessary information that might be of use when considering your options.
We hope we were able to provide all the information needed if we missed something in this article do let us know in the comments, and we will love to include that as well!
Herskin, M., Di Giaminiani, P., Sandercock, D., Prunier, A., Tallet, C., Leach, M., & Edwards, S. (1970, January 01). Can peripheral nerve damage caused by tail docking lead to tail pain later in the life of pigs? Retrieved February, 2020, from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC)
American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) (n.d.). Canine Tail Docking FAQ. Retrieved February, 2020
Robinson, M.S., H. Lee. “Working Dogs: Cropped Ears & Docked Tails”, Retrieved February, 2020