To Dock or not to Dock

15/12/11

Tail docking in dogs has always been a controversial practice, and as of 2007, a banned one in the UK. However, there are exemptions to the ban and so the practice continues, fanning the flames of the debate.

The exemptions are for medical reasons, or for dogs that are likely to be ‘worked’, where evidence to prove these ambitions can be provided to a registered veterinary surgeon. The prooceedure must be carried out no later than 5 days of age by a vet, and with appropriate anaesthetic and sterilisation. For more information on the details go to DEFRA’s website

The objections to the ban often come from show dog owners who are used to having their dogs look a certain way, or working dog owners who are convinced that undocked tails will  become entangled in brambles and the like during work.

To the first group of people I wouldn’t bother arguing, as to put it bluntly, logical argument must elude them. To submit a dog in the early stages of life to unnecessary cosmetic mutilation is backwards. It impairs the dogs ability to communicate in later life and is a serious procedure in terms of possible complications.

To the second group, I always wondered why long haired dogs were selected to work- yet long locks aren’t trimmed to prevent ensnaring the legs. If it were such a problem as to demand such a ruthless resolve, I wonder why the long haired trait wasn’t selected against in breeds such as the springer spaniel?

Too little space to cover all sides of both arguments here, so if you have any thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.

Picture from http://www.coloribus.com

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One Response to “To Dock or not to Dock”


  1. I had a rawboned big ole’ hunting dog when I was a kid. Had her from a pup. She had a tail long enough to be a lethal weapon when she got it going. It never stopped her one bit from doing anything she wanted to do. She was part German Shorthair and part Pointer. Dogs have tails for a reason and we need to leave them be.

    I can see reducing coats on fuzzy dogs to keep the from getting matted or stuck in bramble bushes. That’s easy enough to do and the coat grows back. Cutting off a tail or doing that stupid ear lop thing is just beyond me. Why torture a poor animal by hacking off a body part for looks? Disgusting.


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