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Poodle Tail Docking – What Is It and Should You Avoid It?

Poodle Tail Docking – What Is It and Should You Avoid It? 2


Haven’t heard the term poodle tail docking used before? Maybe you’ve seen a photo of a poodle that has a “docked tail” or you might have been wondering what it means when you read something about “poodle tail docking.” If you’re wondering what the fuss is all about, read on.

The procedure of docking a poodle’s tail involves cutting off a portion of the poodle’s tail to prevent injury or infection. It’s barbaric and unnecessary mutilation that should be avoided at all costs.

Breeds such as Poodles, Spaniels, and Schnauzers have their tails cut off by breeders. The procedure, which is supposed to prevent injury or infection, involves cutting off a portion of the dog’s tail to prevent injury or infection.

That’s right. Tail docking is barbaric and unnecessary mutilation that should be avoided at all costs. What’s even more surprising about this practice is that it’s still legal in most states and not banned by the American Kennel Club.

In this article I will discuss everything possible about poodle tail docking. First, we’ll cover what it is, why it is done, and the different methodologies. After that, we’ll cover some of the risks associated with poodle tail docking and finally I’ll answer some of the frequently asked questions on this topic.

We will cover everything you need to know about what poodle tail docking is, why it is done, the different methodologies, and the issues that are caused by it.

Poodle Tail Docking What it is and should you avoid it

Poodle Tail Docking What it is and should you avoid it

Do Poodles Really Need Their Tail?

Before I discuss what tail docking is, let’s first talk about what a dog’s tail is used for in general.

A tail is primarily used as a means of communication through wagging. When a dog wags its tail, it’s sending a message to whatever or whoever is nearby. The rate at which the tail is moving communicates how strongly the dog feels about what it is experiencing.

If you look at a dog with its tail up, it’s generally doing so to get your attention because it’s feeling happy and positive. On the other hand, if the tail is tucked between its legs, it’s communicating that it is feeling highly agitated.

An anxious poodle will also tuck its tail between its legs when encountering an unfamiliar situation. If the dog has done something wrong, you may notice the dog holding its tail low as a way of expressing remorse or shame

Dogs don’t communicate with words. In many regards, the tail is a dog’s “voice.”

Okay, so now that we know that a poodle’s tail helps them communicate better, let me now tell you what poodle tail docking is.

What is Poodle Tail Docking?

If you’ve browsed through images online of poodles, chances are that you’ve seen some with unusual-looking tails. Some have round “docking stubs” while others don’t even have remotely recognizable tails. The answer lies in the cruel practice of tail docking, a horrific procedure designed to “prevent injuries”.

Tail docking, also known as tail amputation, docking, or bobbing, is a surgical procedure performed on certain types of dogs to remove a portion of the tail. This procedure involves cutting through skin, muscles, up to 7 pairs of nerves, and bone and cartilage connections.

Why is a Poodle’s Tail Docked?

Most people have never given a great deal of thought to why certain dog breeds have their tails docked. The question as to why it occurs just doesn’t seem to cross the mind of most people. The general public isn’t really aware of the fact that tail docking is even performed.

Docking dates back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. There is a general consensus that tail docking is primarily done in an effort to maintain a distinctive appearance for a particular breed, as well as to participate in an ongoing tradition.

Another reason that was given is to prevent injury due to the dog wagging its tail; this seems unlikely, as while there have been reports of broken tails, these were rare occurrences.

How rare you ask? Let’s find out.

It has been reported that the incidence of tail injuries in dog populations is between 0.21% to 0.39% each year.

I’ll leave it to you to decide whether that’s rare or not.

How is a Poodle’s Tail Docked?

Poodles generally have their tails docked two different ways.

The first method involves tying a Castrating band on a puppy of 3-5 days of age and leave it for a few days. Eventually, due to a lack of blood supply, the tail decays and falls off.

Using these bands, a lot of people try docking their pup’s tail on their own but often leave the tail bone exposed, leaving their pups susceptible to infections and diseases.

The second methods involves a tool called an Emasculator, with which the tail is cut.

Using one of the two methods mentioned above, a poodle pup’s tail is docked.

Is Poodle Tail Docking Legal?

Now that you have a fair idea of what poodle tail docking is, you might be questioning Is this even legal?

If we’re talking about the legal status of Tail Docking in the United States then the answer to that question is Yes, it is legal in the United States.

The consensus of expert opinion is that routine tail docking of dogs is unacceptable. As a consequence, the practice has been banned in at least two European countries while a range of others has restrictive bans or guidelines. A similar situation prevails in Australia. In many countries, veterinarians and the general public support such bans and guidelines but breeders in favor of routine tail docking remain vocal.

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.

Risks of Docking a Poodle’s Tail

Studies have been conducted on the welfare and ethics of tail docking. Few studies have compared the health and welfare of docked and undocked dogs and reported on the short- and long-term effects of the procedure. Let’s look at some of the most common risks surrounding tail docking in poodles.


A lot of vets argue that this procedure does not cause any pain to the puppy since their nervous systems are not fully developed. However, according to researchers, when a dog’s tail is amputated, the behavior is indicative of acute pain.

Procedural Complications

With any procedure there is always a chance of potential complications. Tail docking is no different.

There have been many cases where a puppy died soon after the procedure was done due to loss of blood supply, shock, infection, and delayed healing.

Behavior Problems

We have already established the fact that a dog needs its tail in order to communicate better when we discussed whether a poodle really needs its tail or not.

Let us now look at the results of research done by Leaver SDA and Reimchen TE on Behavioural responses of Canis familiaris to different tail lengths of a remotely-controlled lifesize dog replica.

I’ll save you time and share with you the results of that research. The researchers found out that a long tail is more effective when it comes to conveying interspecies cues than a short one.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is a Poodle’s Tail Docked?

Veterinarians usually dock Poodles when they are around two to five days old using scissors, emasculators, or castration bands.

How Much Does Docking a Poodle’s Tail Cost?

Typically, the entire procedure costs $10 – $20 and is performed by veterinarians. If there are signs of infection, you might have to pay extra.

Are All Poodle’s Tails Docked?

Although AKC dictates that the tail of a poodle be docked, not all poodles have their tails docked. It is ultimately the owner’s choice to get the procedure done or not unless your vet suggests it due to medical reasons.

Is Tail Docking Painful to Puppies?

Researchers at the Companion Animal Veterinary Hospital at the University of Queensland have found that puppies that undergo docking shriek in pain for up to 15 minutes, which is a clear indication of pain. The study showed that the procedure definitely caused some pain for the puppies, although there is no way to gauge precisely how much stress and pain they undergo.

Our Take On Tail Docking

Many dog owners believe their dogs are their private property, and they should have the right to do whatever they want with them, be it ear cropping, neutering, docking, etc.

Although we accept their opinion, we generally do not agree with it. It’s a personal preference, but we do not feel obligated to follow it out of a commitment to maintain breed standards.

In modern times, the argument that it’s important to prevent injuries while the dogs are working seems irrelevant in most cases.

What are your thoughts on poodle tail docking?

What are your thoughts on poodle tail docking

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!

About the Author Nancy Williams

My name is Nancy Williams and I am a writer, activist, and gardening enthusiast from Chicago, Illinois. I started PoodleGo to help poodle owners find the right information on a variety of topics. I want to help reduce your learning curve in dog ownership by providing useful facts and tips that you can use immediately.

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  1. I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is an issue that too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy that I came across this in my search for something concerning this.

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