What is the purpose of tail docking?

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What is the purpose of tail docking?

This is a discussion on What is the purpose of tail docking? within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Our 10 month old border collie/black lab mix Baxter had a bit of a rough start to life. He was dropped off at an animal ...

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Old 03-05-2017, 09:06 AM
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What is the purpose of tail docking?

Our 10 month old border collie/black lab mix Baxter had a bit of a rough start to life. He was dropped off at an animal control shelter at 6 months, then before his 2 weeks were up, a no kill animal rescue took him. We adopted him from them a couple months later.

One thing we just found out was that his tail was docked, and it doesn't look professionally. What would be the purpose of this? I've looked up how the tails on boradors look and they don't look like they would be an issue health wise.

It seems so mean because he chases his little nub and seems to still think it's there. It's almost like he has a ghost tail.
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:27 AM
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The purpose of tail docking now is purely cosmetic, as most of these dogs are not being used for their original job anyway, and is now done to keep up the breed standard. In the past, it was done to prevent tails from being stepped on by cattle or crushed by farm equipment.

My Aussie's tail is docked, and was done at a few days old. Any later than that is strange to do a docking.

Neither one of your dog's breeds should have a docked tail, so either someone docked it for some strange reason, or there is more than those two breeds in there.
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:31 AM
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Is it possible the tail was injured and needed to be removed or was lost in the injury?
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Old 03-05-2017, 11:44 AM
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In hunting breeds it's supposedly to prevent injury to the tail as well. The *fine specimen of humanity* that produced my dog and then dropped him off at the pound at six weeks old docked his tails but left his detached rear dew claws, which is a MUCH more significant safety issue in a hunting dog.


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Old 03-05-2017, 02:44 PM
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as shandula said in working dogs it's so their tails don't get crushed by cattle sheep or farm equipment but imo this should only be done in working lines that are probably going to farms. its the breed standard for aussies but i don't think anything you need to physically force should be breed standard, obviously the breed wants a tail :/

your dog shouldn't have been docked there's absolutely no reason for it, however it could have been an injury that wound up needing the dogs tail needing to be removed.
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Old 03-06-2017, 06:21 AM
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We do live in a rural area in Virginia, so either could make sense. There are a lot of border collies and hunting type dogs around here.

From the story I was told, the original owners had pure bred border collies, and one had puppies with a lab which they didn't want, so all the puppies were dropped off at animal control.

The vet said that the tail docking wasn't professional, which is gross to me. He has a 4" nub and at the end there is no fur and I can feel bumps of scars and bone. I just find it odd that he still acts like it's there.
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Old 03-06-2017, 06:49 AM
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One of the weird things the scientific community has discovered about brains is that mammals have a 'body map' hardwired in. Loss of the limb doesn't actually stop us thinking it's there. Get someone with and amputated hand to pop the stump in a box and suddenly they have two hands again. I suspect that the effect is greater if it happens as an adult because the connections in the map reinforce but the skeleton of the map is present from birth.

So it's fairly likely he still thinks he has a tail to an extent.

The book 'The Tale of the Dueling Neuroscientists' is an excellent read if you're interested it's easily accessible to people with out neuro backgrounds which I love.

Edit: a warning for that book: a lot of not nice people did some horrific things but discovered important things too, do not read if you are prone to despairing at the psyche of humans and please know scientific experiments now have to go through ethics board so the scientific world isn't like that anymore.

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Old 03-06-2017, 10:38 AM
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Guess the age at which the docking took place, plays a part as to how they perceive its presence. When we found Samantha at the shelter, she was about a year old, and her tail had been docked, probably very early in her life, as it was fully healed. She has, as far as we can see, zero perception that there is anything more, back there then the small section of tail that remains. Though I would never do, or allow that to be done to any dog, we have let her hair grow on what tail there is, and it looks very much like a big snow ball back there, actually pretty attractive.
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