Why are Yorkies Tails Docked?
As a dog lover and history buff, I’ve always been intrigued by the various breed-specific traits and practices that have been passed down through generations.
Tail docking is one such tradition that has piqued my interest, particularly in the case of Yorkshire Terriers, or “Yorkies” for short. Why are the tails of Yorkies docked, and what is the history of this practice?
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In this blog post, we’ll look at the history and reasons for tail docking in Yorkshire Terriers, as well as the potential benefits and drawbacks of this practice. We’ll also talk about the current state of tail docking and its relevance in today’s world.
So grab a cup of tea, cuddle up with your favorite Yorkie, and join us on a journey through time to learn more about this fascinating breed-specific tradition!
The most common reason for docking Yorkie tails is for aesthetic purposes. Since they have long and high-riding tail, the undocked Yorkie is thought to be unattractive from a visual standpoint. However, a Yorkie dog’s tail should not be docked unless there is a medical reason for it.
For the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Continental Kennel Club (CKC), the New Zealand Kennel Club (NZKC), the United Kennel Club (UKC), and the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC), it is mandatory to enter Yorkies in dog shows with their tails docked, according to the rules.
In order to comply with American Kennel Club standards
Unless otherwise specified, the American Kennel Club requires that Yorkie terriers’ tails be cropped to a medium length.
It is left with a small tail stub that rises only a little over the level of the backside.
It is seen as a distinguishing characteristic of the breed, and it is particularly significant for Yorkies competing in dog shows. Party and teacup Yorkies are included in this category as well, but not the Biewer Yorkie, which is considered to be a distinct breed from the typical Yorkie.
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For the sake of aesthetics
Another important factor contributing to the popularity of tail docking in Yorkies, both in and out of the competition scene, is the fact that they are easy to train.
Because of its long and high-riding tail, the undocked Yorkie is thought to be unattractive from a visual standpoint. This is especially true for dogs with long hair/fur which is the majority of the population. Shortening the dog’s tail gives him a more compact and visually pleasing appearance.
A teddy bear haircut is extremely popular among teacup Yorkies, and the tail is believed to have an impact on the cuteness quotient of their dog.
To keep you safe from hunting-related injuries: Yorkies were originally developed for hunting purposes, and they are still occasionally employed in this capacity.
Those who have their tails undocked are more likely to get tail injuries, particularly when retrieving in bushes or holes.
As a result, many dog owners prefer to spare their dogs the discomfort of trimming their hair and instead simply trim it to a manageable and less accident-prone length.
What’s at the end of a tail
It is necessary to understand what a tail performs for your dog before you can comprehend why a Yorkie would have its tail docked. Scientists believe that having a tail assisted some organisms, such as dinosaurs, to walk more steadily and balance their bodies.
In contrast, by studying four-legged mammals such as bears, you can observe that many of them do fine without an extension to prevent them from tipping forwards in their stride.
So, what exactly is in a tail?
A dog’s tail serves primarily as a means of communication. The wag of a tail indicates friendliness.
When a dog wags its tail back and forth, it is communicating to you that they have only the greatest of intentions for you.
Alternatively, a dog with a stiff tail may be keeping an eye on someone or something in order to determine its threat level.
A dog who is standing stiffly should never be approached by a human.
They may assault as a result of their anxiety or insecurity. It’s wise to prevent any potential problems by staying put.
Is Docking a Disadvantage or a Benefit?
Is it a disadvantage to dock the tails of dogs like Yorkies if they communicate with their tails?
I find it to be an intriguing question, and there isn’t a definitive answer to it. Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate any studies in this area.
According to the AMVA (American Medical Veterinary Association), however, there is a distinct possibility. It’s possible that it’s similar to having a stutter, to put it mildly.
A docked tail makes it impossible to communicate several things in canine lingua franca, and while there are alternate ways to communicate those things, the major communication route is damaged or absent with a docked tail.
As a result, the dog is unable to communicate with their long tail as they would normally.
It’s worth noting that the AMVA was one of the first organisations in the United States to express opposition to docking. “In 1976, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommended that breed associations remove cosmetic modifications from breed standards.”
Instead of placing your beloved dog at a disadvantage, I recommend that you provide them with every benefit possible.
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Docking for Medical Reasons
Docking for medicinal reasons is a totally different experience than docking for cosmetic reasons.
If a dog’s tail is broken, it may not heal properly, resulting in continuous discomfort.
It is also possible for a dog to get a serious infection in its tail or to suffer a severe burn.
When it comes to removal, sometimes the best option is to remove the object.
When done for medical reasons, removing part or all of a dog’s tail for the health of the dog is more akin to amputation than the more common practice of traditional docking.
There are a few more significant distinctions as well.
First and foremost, docking for medical reasons is a rare occurrence. Instead of being a routine practice, it is a last resort that is only used when the dog’s health or life is in imminent danger of being compromised.
For example, severe frostbite may result in a dog losing the ability to move his tail.
Rather than allowing the tissue to decay in place on your dog, a veterinarian may recommend that the injured appendage be removed.
The Negative Effects of Not Docking Tail
The fact that your tail isn’t docked isn’t all good news. Anyone who has witnessed a large dog gets excited and knocks stuff straight off a coffee table understands why they get in the way.
Dogs do not have complete control of their tails, in contrast to a monkey’s prehensile tail..
Unfortunately, not every animal possesses the ability to grab objects and utilise their backsides to regulate fine motor movements in the same way.
As a matter of fact, your pet does not require its tail in order to grip branches, hence it does not have one.
However, because dogs have less control over their hindquarters, having tails can be problematic because they are unable to curl them up and keep them out of the way as they should.
There are more effective methods of keeping your dog healthy than removing a portion of their tail.
Purchase a high-quality food for your Yorkie, such as Instinct Be Natural, that contains no fillers.
If they do injure their small tails, they will normally recover more quickly if they are in better physical condition.
You can purchase some for your particular canine companion by visiting this website.
Two main reasons why the Dog Tails are docked
There are two main reasons why dogs have their tails docked: health and aesthetics.
First and foremost, guard dogs, military animals, and even police dogs may have their tails trimmed in order to avoid being tempted.
During a battle, a human opponent may be able to catch a dog’s loose tail and use it against the dog. Animal adversaries, for that matter, can do the same.
Second, smaller dogs such as Yorkies were designed to perform a certain role that can result in a totally different problem for their tails than larger dogs.
Originally, the breed was supposed to be used as rat hunters for mines.
Furthermore, they were once employed for the purpose of hunting and burrowing animals such as foxes.
Due to the fact that Yorkies must scurry their way through tight spaces, the tails of these dogs often become tangled.
Getting tangled on a branch is a terrible experience.
When you consider that this was a time before modern medicine, it isn’t difficult to understand why docking became popular.
A dog whose tail is likely to be amputated anyway because it has become sick or injured, and because it is in the way, might as well not have one.
Although I do not agree with this way of thinking, I can see how individuals arrived to that decision in this case.
A tail injury could be even more dangerous if modern medicine were not available.
Is Docking Effective in Preventing Injury?
Any dog that is running around could end up with a broken tail. Tail injuries are a common occurrence in most dogs’ lives, just like other types of dog injuries.
However, the question remains as to whether it is indeed worthwhile to dock an animal’s tail based on a hypothetical possibility.
The good news is that experts began working on an answer to this topic back in 2010. The reason it took so long for someone to come forwards and pose the enquiry is beyond my comprehension. However, a survey of 138,212 dogs in the United Kingdom was conducted to compare tail injuries in dogs with docked tails with dogs with undocked tails.
The results of the survey conducted on this large sample of dogs are reasonably conclusive.
The danger is really low. Dogs with undocked tails are only 0.23 per cent more likely than dogs with docked tails to sustain a tail injury. From a practical sense, this means that you’d have to slice off five hundred doggie tails in order to prevent one from being injured.
Docking tails are Breeding Requirements
Yorkies in the United States are known for having docked tails, but there are other breed criteria in place as well.
The following is a concise list of the AKC’s standards for Yorkies.
- The head should be small and spherical, with erect ears that are V-shaped.
- The eyes of a Yorkie should be dark brown or hazel, and they should have an intelligent expression.
- The muzzles of this breed should be short, and the nose should be black. In addition, kids should have healthy teeth and no noticeable underbite or overbite on their upper or lower teeth.
- The dogs’ bodies should be compact, with nice proportions and a straight back, and they should weigh between 4 and 7 pounds.
- The front legs of your Yorkie should be straight, and the hind legs should be straight as well when viewed from behind. The stifles, on the other hand, should be slightly curved backwards when viewed from the side.
- It is customary to have a docked tail of mid-length that sticks up from the body.
- The feet of this breed are small and spherical, with black toenails.
- Breed standards that stipulate that a dog’s tail be docked date back to an 1891 publication. The American Book of the Dog specifies that dogs’ ears and tails should be cropped. The justification is nothing more than the desire to maintain a “decent appearance.”
- When you have a long-haired show dog like a Yorkie, taking care of him can be a hardship.
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Is Docking a Legal Practice?
Tail docking is allowed in both the United States and Canada, and there are no legal limits.
In other regions of the world, on the other hand, the practice is regarded as barbaric, harsh, and cruel by many people.
The practice is prohibited by law in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the majority of European countries.
Is Docking a Difficult Task and is it Painful?
Tail docking in Yorkshire (and other) puppies is supported by the assertion that it causes no pain or stress to the puppies.
They claim that young dog has a reduced or non-existent awareness of pain as a result of their undeveloped neurological system.
The tails of puppies are cut as early as two to five days old for cosmetic reasons and to ensure that they correspond to breed standards.
The neural system of a dog, on the other hand, is fully developed at the time of birth. Puppies exhibit pain reactions that are similar to those seen in adult dogs.
There is no reason to suppose that they are experiencing anything other than what they should be experiencing medically, therefore docking does cause harm to dogs.
As a result, the docking process causes damage to delicate tissue.
In the process, you’re chopping up tendons, nerves, bones, and other body parts. Furthermore, doing so can be extremely unpleasant for the dog to recover from and can result in long-term difficulties.
Chronic neuromas, also known as pinched nerves, can develop in your dog and cause them to experience discomfort for the rest of their lives.
Even if there are no additional difficulties such as infection at the site, it is detrimental to the dog’s health.
It is possible that docking will alter the way a puppy perceives pain. Furthermore, it has the potential to inflict long-term psychological stress.
If that wasn’t enough, the fact that breeders and owners are causing damage to the tails of juvenile dogs has the potential to interfere with their development.
Puppies that have been docked may have undeveloped levator ani and coccygeus muscles.
Is It Necessary to Dock My Yorkie?
It is totally up to you as a pet owner to decide whether or not to dock your Yorkie’s tail, just as with any other animal health consideration.
Docking is legal, however, it is not a very ethical practice. You have the option of purchasing a docked or an un-docked animal, of course. In the United States and Canada, however, docked tails are unfortunately widespread.
Making the decision to remove a portion of your pet’s anatomy is a significant one. Although I am personally opposed to it, some people believe it is vital despite the lack of compelling data to support their position.
Cutting hair is one thing, but cutting a portion of a dog’s tail or ears in order to make your dog “look right” appears to be an unusually harsh practice.
Please keep in mind that this is merely my opinion based on what I am familiar with in the practice and nothing else.
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To be fair, there was a period when there was no convincing evidence that the world was round, and we can’t predict what scientific discoveries may be made in the future. You can, however, only do the best you can with the knowledge you have at your disposal.
That means that docking is a practice that is no longer relevant and has no basis in fact.
About the Author: Dog Behavioural Consultant
Jennifer W loves Pets! She is an animal lover. She loves caring for and sharing her knowledge of all kinds of pets.
Her Love for pets made her Join the pet paws hub Team, to share knowledge with the world.
Jennifer W – Dog Behavioural Consultant