Tail docking

(87 Posts)
Hoppinggreen Thu 28-Mar-19 17:48:15

I was in my local farm shop today and there was a sign advertising Working springer puppies with the line “tails legally docked “
I thought all tail docking was illegal unless for medical purposes (such as tail damage) am I wrong or is there a loophole for working dogs?

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Thu 28-Mar-19 17:50:57

There is a loophole for working dogs - the breeder must prove the dogs have been bred to work. That said, obviously many dogs who are then sold at pets are getting through this loophole.

A springer's tail is a magnificent thing!

BiteyShark Thu 28-Mar-19 18:12:07

Yes gun dogs breed to work can be legally docked. If you do get a puppy with a docked tail make sure you get the paperwork from the vet that did it and keep it safe to prove it was done legally.

My breeder bred working lines but their tails were not docked because she sold them as pets (and her vet was aware of that).

I love how expressive my cockers full tail is and he has never had any issues running through the undergrowth so far touches wood

Hoppinggreen Thu 28-Mar-19 20:02:20

What a shame
I’m not in the market for a puppy (EVER AGAIN thanks to dickhead Retriever) but if I was I would want one with a tail

OP’s posts: |
MattMagnolia Thu 28-Mar-19 20:33:26

Many puppies are still being docked by the breeders, it’s common to see pet dogs like Jack Russells with mutilated tails.
This barbaric practice won’t stop until there are prosecutions but that’s never going to happen. I like to shame the owners by loud comments as I pass.

Floralnomad Thu 28-Mar-19 21:24:59

matt that’s a ridiculous response, how do you know why a dog is docked . My dog came from Battersea as a pup with a docked tail , he has about 5/6” of tail) do I warrant abuse from passers by who know nothing about me or my lovely dog .

FleurNancy Thu 28-Mar-19 21:36:03

I like to shame the owners by loud comments as I pass.

Oh aren't you a treasure? Our cocker has a docked tail as she came from working parents and several of her litter mates went off to be working dogs. I'd think you were a complete twat if you walked past making some snarky comment.


JaneEyre07 Thu 28-Mar-19 21:42:13

I've got a working cocker and a sprocker spaniel... both have full tails.


Our cocker has had endless problems with his.... he constantly catches it in undergrowth/hedges and it splits, gets infected and bleeds all through the house. He's had so much vet treatment in his 5 years that in honesty, I can understand why they do have docked tails if they are working. We now have to use horse crepe bandages on the tip EVERY time we go for a walk which is tiresome for him and us. Amputating their tails in later life is a horrendous process, and often very risky.

florence11 Thu 28-Mar-19 21:56:47

Some dogs are very unlucky. My (non working breed) small dog had to have half of her tail amputated when she was about 6. It was awful, her tail died and went gangrenous. No idea how it happened, it was a thin whispy little tail.

Given that, I wouldn't judge someone if I saw a dog with a docked tail. I do know a few spaniels who have had issues, they've all had helicopter type wags.

Babyroobs Thu 28-Mar-19 23:16:51

We have a working cocker spaniel ( Miles) whose tail was legally docked. We have a certificate given to us to show to a vet if asked about it. I was upset about his tail having been docked when we went to pick him up but now you would never know it had been done, I swear it has grown back to full glory. Our cockers mum was a fully working dog working on pheasant shoots in Yorkshire and I expect they thought he was destined for similar rather than being the unemployed pampered boy that he is.

Doggydoggydoggy Fri 29-Mar-19 08:12:39

Personally, I fully agree with docking for working dogs.

If you’ve ever seen a cocker or springer working it’s no surprise why they tend to be docked!

Yes the tails are gorgeous and yes some undocked working dogs never damage their tails but plenty of fully tailed working dogs do, it’s a painful injury that is slow to heal, if it ever does because any movement splits it open again and as an adult dog the operation is much more painful with a longer recovery.

I don’t agree with it for cosmetic reasons but for super active dogs that crash about like working spaniels do it is a necessity in my opinion.

SlightAggrandising Fri 29-Mar-19 08:15:10

@MattMagnolia you sound like an arse.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Fri 29-Mar-19 20:19:06

Our cocker had his tail already docked when we went to see the litter. I didn’t turn him down just because he’d lost his tail. He did go on to become a working dog and it was probably just as well he didn’t have a tail. He caught his face, his ears and sometimes his body throwing himself into every hedge and bramble he could find whilst retrieving game for us. He was so enthusiastic. I dread to think what state he’d have been in wagging a full tail, there’d have been bloody everywhere.

HomoHeinekenensis Fri 29-Mar-19 20:23:07

Sniffer dogs looking for contraband at the airport that run all over the carousel have to have the tail docked for safety.
For tail protection you can get things called 'Dog Ends' that cover the tip when they are picking up if they still have the full length.

tabulahrasa Fri 29-Mar-19 20:32:43

“as an adult dog the operation is much more painful with a longer recovery.”

Hmm, anecdotally obviously, I know there are Rottie breeders who realised that docking had made a pretty big difference to the growth of puppies - so suggests it’s not exactly as straightforward for puppies as people seem to think.

I know when they looked at docking for the Scottish government the figures came out as something like 125 puppies docked to prevent 1 tail injury.

Veterinari Fri 29-Mar-19 20:40:26

There is absolutely no good reason for a mutilation done without anaesthetic/analgesia that would be better done if needed, as an adult with appropriate medical safeguards in place.

This ‘legally’ docked puppies are certified as being homed for working purposes so they haven’t been legally docked, they’ve been fraudulently docked as clearly someone had certified they’ll be used for working when they won’t be.

1 in 16 hunt point spaniels (most at risk breeds) may experience a tail injury if not docked. Docking causes injury to 16/16 puppies docked. And at a time that has maximum developmental impact. Someone please explain the logic!

Veterinari Fri 29-Mar-19 20:42:17

as an adult dog the operation is much more painful with a longer recovery.
I’d love to see your evidence for that @Doggydoggydoggy. I know for a fact it’s a view totally unsupported by any evidence. But then most of your view are...

Prequelle Fri 29-Mar-19 20:43:50


My boxer had to have her tail docked because her wag was that powerful she split it from top to bottom hitting the wall. It was horrible for us all so you would get told to piss off and mind your own business if you had something to say. angry

SockPortal Fri 29-Mar-19 20:47:34

We adopted our jack russell at 16 weeks old from a Dogs home. His tail had been illegally docked before he arrived at the home, his poor stumpy tail was still sore when we adopted him, poor mite.

@MattMagnolia things aren't always as they appear, you are most likely shouting at people who had nothing to do with the docking.

Veterinari Fri 29-Mar-19 20:48:39

Pain during the neonatal period has been shown to have a significant impact on behavioural development for the rest of that animals life. Increasing their overall pain sensitivity plus increasing risks of anxiety and lack of resilience.

Removing tails remove a vital communication tool.

Physiologically severing the nerves in the tail results in neuroma formation which can lead to chronic pain unless appropriate anaesthetics/analgesics are used

FairfaxAikman Fri 29-Mar-19 20:57:12

The entire tail isn't removed vet, it's the bottom third (occasionally an over zealous person will do half).
I definitely don't agree with docking for cosmetic reasons but I've seen too many tail injuries in the field so IMO docking is a MUST for working dogs.
As for adult amputations not being any riskier, the last two that I know of personally ended up undergoing multiple surgeries as the amputation failed to "take" and more had to be taken off. One ended up with a stump.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Fri 29-Mar-19 20:59:43

I’m surprised my lab hasn’t broken his tail, he’s whacked it very violently into every door frame and piece of furniture in our house.

coffeecoffeecofffee Fri 29-Mar-19 21:03:15

We have a working spaniel pup and his tail isn't docked, they give you a choice whether you're working them or not.

Some people may just want them as family dogs, not workers so I think it's best not to dock them till you're sure they will be working.

Veterinari Fri 29-Mar-19 21:08:13

he entire tail isn't removed vet, it's the bottom third (occasionally an over zealous person will do half).

So what? The pain and trauma involved is the same regardless of the level of amputation.

I’d love to see how the maths of mutilating 100% of puppies with no analgesia at a critical developmental period stacks up against an occasional tail injury as an adult with the provision of analgesia /anaesthesia.

It’s the same as a circumcision argument for male humans. If circumcision was removal of part of the spine rather than a just the foreskin.

ChandelierSail Fri 29-Mar-19 22:01:43

I would never buy a dog with a docked tail and I'd tell the breeder why as well.

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