What happens if you don’t dock a dog’s tail?

  • Date: January 2, 2023
  • Time to read: 4 min.

If you don’t dock a dog’s tail, you may be surprised to find that the tail can grow to a full length. This can vary depending on the breed, but it’s normal for a tail to reach up to eight inches long. This may mean that the tail will become a target for injury, and the dog may experience pain and discomfort if the tail is constantly being bumped or hit. Furthermore, the tail can be a hindrance when the dog is running or playing, as it could get in the way or even get injured itself. Ultimately, it is important to consider the risks associated with not docking a dog’s tail and to understand the potential consequences.

Overview of Docking Dog Tails

When it comes to tail docking, there is a lot of controversy surrounding this practice. Tail docking is the removal of a portion of a dog’s tail, usually done for cosmetic reasons. This practice has been used for centuries and is still common in some breeds, such as Dobermans and Rottweilers. However, in the last few decades, the practice has come under scrutiny due to the potential health risks it poses to the dog.

Health Risks of Tail Docking

Tail docking is considered a form of mutilation, as it is an unnecessary and potentially harmful procedure. The risks of tail docking include infections, nerve damage, and increased pain sensitivity. Infections can occur if the wound is not properly cared for after the surgery, as the tail is a difficult area to keep clean. Nerve damage can occur if too much of the tail is removed or the wrong part of the tail is docked. This can lead to a loss of sensation in the tail and can cause the dog to be less aware of its surroundings. Finally, removing the tail can leave the dog with increased pain sensitivity, as the tail is a source of cushioning when the dog runs or jumps.

What Happens if You Don’t Dock a Dog’s Tail?

If you choose not to dock a dog’s tail, then the dog will have a normal tail. This is the tail that the dog would have had if it had not been docked. Depending on the breed, the tail may be longer or shorter, but it will still be functional.

Benefits of Not Docking a Dog’s Tail

One of the main benefits of not docking a dog’s tail is that it can reduce the health risks associated with the procedure. As mentioned above, tail docking can lead to infections, nerve damage, and increased pain sensitivity. By not docking the tail, these risks are reduced. Additionally, not docking the tail can increase the dog’s mobility, as the tail is an important part of a dog’s balance while running and jumping.

Downsides of Not Docking a Dog’s Tail

The main downside of not docking a dog’s tail is that the tail may not meet breed standards. Some breeds, such as Dobermans and Rottweilers, have traditionally been bred with docked tails. Therefore, if a dog of these breeds does not have its tail docked, it may not conform to the breed standard. Additionally, some people may feel that an undocked tail is not as aesthetically pleasing as a docked tail.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to tail docking, it is ultimately up to the individual to decide if they want to dock their dog’s tail or not. It is important to consider both the potential benefits and risks of tail docking before making a decision. If the risks associated with the procedure are too great, then leaving the dog’s tail undocked may be the best option.

## Common Myths about Docking Dog Tails

Myth: Not docking a dog’s tail will result in the dog having poor hygiene or health.

Fact: Docking a dog’s tail does not affect the dog’s hygiene or health. A dog’s tail does not require any special care or maintenance, and the tail will naturally stay clean. The only time cleaning may be necessary is if the dog gets something stuck in its tail fur.

Myth: Docking a dog’s tail is necessary for the dog’s safety.

Fact: Docking a dog’s tail does not necessarily make a dog any safer. In fact, a docked tail can make it more difficult for a dog to balance and communicate with other dogs. A docked tail also prevents the dog from using its tail to swat away bugs or irritants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my dog be in pain if I don’t dock its tail?

No, your dog will not be in pain if you don’t dock its tail. However, some dogs may be more prone to injury due to the extra length of their tail, so it’s important to provide adequate protection and supervision when needed.

What are the legal implications of not docking a dog’s tail?

In many countries and states, it is illegal to dock a dog’s tail without a valid medical reason. However, in some regions, it is still legal to leave a dog’s tail undocked. It’s important to research and understand the laws in your area before making a decision regarding tail docking.


Tail docking is a practice that has been used for centuries, but is increasingly coming under scrutiny due to potential health risks such as infection, nerve damage, and increased pain sensitivity. Deciding whether to dock a dog’s tail is ultimately up to the individual, taking into consideration the risks, benefits, and aesthetic preferences. Not docking a tail reduces the health risks but may not meet breed standards. Caring for the wound properly is important if a tail is docked, and leaving the tail undocked can increase the dog’s mobility.

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