Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Tail Docking

I have heard that it is quite difficult to find an Aussie who has not had their tail docked (as it is usually done at such a young age). I am looking to get a female Aussie in the near future and was wondering if anyone had some suggestions of how I might go about getting one that does not have its tail docked. Is the only solution speaking to a breeder before the puppies are born?

Also, is there any known problems with an Aussie having a full tail (apart from getting waste stuck in it from time to time)?


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Full Tail Aussie
by: Kathy


My purebred Aussie has a full tail. She is a rescue dog, seized from a puppy mill that was shut down. Guess they didn't care about docking their breeders. If you'd like to choose rescue first, check out Petfinder - you'll probably find some full tail Aussies there.

There are no problems with the undocked tail, other than needing regular trimming - the fur grows to about a foot long!


by: Anonymous

I can think of two possibilities. You could ask local breeders if they will let you pay the full amount and sign a contract as soon as the litter is born and they will agree not to bob your chosen pup's tail. Of course that means choosing your pup as soon as she is born.
The other possibility is to advertise that you are looking for an NBT ("natural bob tail"). Some Aussies are born with bobbed tails. My first Aussie was an NBT. She had the little short tail, and on the end of it was a very short string of extremely tiny vertebrae. You really had to search to find them, but they were there. On the registration it will say NBT.

by: Anonymous

Aussies in most European countries are not docked. There are also some performance breeders-- agility, obedience, herding-- who are not docking tails. Aussies have natural bobbed tails and the tails that they have can be pretty peculiar. They can be twisted, bent or just really short. Many times a whole litter will have NBT's. Most times even the bob tails will be docked so that the tails look even and all pups in the litter are alike.

Full tail aussie
by: Anonymous

I have a full tail blue merle female I got from an ad in the paper at 7wks. I prefer bobbed but love her just as well with a tail. I'd say the only trouble I've had is that she has a nasty habit of chewing the long hair off her tail when she's bored while im at work. Looks terrible.

Thank You
by: Natalie

Wow, I had no idea they could be born with NBTs. Thanks for the help!

Merle and Bobtail
by: ADA

Aust Shepherds carry the merle gene (as do Rough Collies, Dachshunds, Great Danes). Merle is patches of grey on the coat and this is caused by the genetic combination of Mm, i.e. they are heterozygous for the (M) allele. Most breeds do not carry merle. In breeds where the M allele exists it is possible to create MM individuals when two Mm animals are mated. . The MM combination gives rise to deaf white dogs, often with eye defects such as small and impaired vision. If one does not mate Mm to Mm this homozygous state cannot occur. Some German research undertaken on Dachshunds (where merle is described as dapple) that even Mm animals can in a high proportion have some impairment of vision and hearing. Therefore it is argued that, despite the attractiveness of merle, the colour is undesirable. Not all merles are implicated with this gene but as some are it suggests caution with this gene.
Likewise the bobtailed mutated gene has lethal implications and is thought that it may cause spinal defects. (Docking means amputation of the tail). Bobtails are unlikely to be of a standard length and one would guess that those who do not conform to a standard length still get their tails docked!
There may still be a breeder of undocked Aussies in MO USA

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