Tail docking in dogs is now illegal in most countries. In 2006, when we first decided to stop docking and leave the tails natural, it was easy to list by memory the countries that had come to ban docking. By 2011, the list of countries that allow docking is an easier list to remember because it is getting much smaller. Mexico, a few Asian countries and some pockets in Africa still allow it. In the USA, professional veterinarian associations are standing up against it and individual states are beginning to consider banning the act as well.
We realize the subject of tail docking is a sensitive one and the choice to dock or not is entirely up to the breeder. Since October 2006, we have not practiced tail docking. We do not condemn other breeders for this practice - Some who work their dogs in a serious manner say it is to prevent serious injury to their working pack. For us, it is a personal choice - we simply feel better accepting terriers with a natural tail than agreeing to mutilate them, putting the pups through this procedure just for the sake of “following the crowd”. We will not dock your puppies tail. And we will ask that you leave the tail natural. AVMA position statement
Tail Docking: Facts
What actually is the tail and what function does it serve?
The tail is not a limb but an appendage and is the end part of the spinal column comprising approximately 20 coccygeal vertebrae, muscle, nerves and a blood supply. The muscular structure plays an important role in body shape, function and communication.
The tail is used as a counterbalance in various locomotory activities: running, walking and squatting to defecate.
The tail is used to communicate the mood and attitude of the dog: its emotional state, assertion of social status, acceptance of a subordinate or equal position, or willingness to fight. We also believe that the use of the tail to communicate is essential to a dog’s well being. Studies have proven that dogs with docked tails and cropped ears are more likely to be misread by other dogs and end up in confrontation.
Does Docking Hurt?
There is now scientific evidence showing that puppies feel pain during the process of docking.
The initial pain from the direct injury to the nervous system caused by cutting or crushing the tail in a young pup is intense. The reactions of the pup to the procedure (whimpering, squealing and wriggling the tail stump or the whole body and sometimes urination), indicates quite clearly that the procedure is painful.
A proper dock involves only removing the tip of the tail. Can you tell from the pictures here, which tails are docked and which one is not? Every dogs tail is different but on average, a natural tail is roughly 2-3” longer. Bobbed tails on a JRT is a butcher job, by someone who doesn't know what the breed standard is (if you agree with docking).
DOG FANCIER TAKES TAIL DOCKING PROTEST TO SHOW RING