Australian Shepherd Tail Docking

by Robyn
(Toronto, ON Canada)

I am looking to purchase a blue merle Aussie Shepherd in the spring of 2011 and have a question about docking.

I would prefer that my new addition does not have a docked tail. How can I ensure I find a breeder that does not dock the tail? Is this something that I can request...?

Please let me know the how to go about this?

Comments for Australian Shepherd Tail Docking

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Re: Docked tail
by: Anonymous

You should not have a problem with NOT having your puppies tail docked as long as you have chosen your puppy within 3-5 days old. This is when tail docking/dew-claws are done. As long as you have reserved your puppy, the breeder should abide by your wishes. The breeder will probably make sure however, that the pup is paid for in full. Good luck with your new puppy!

Docking confused
by: Smagee

I am confused...
I thought it was the breeder that docked the tail..then I just watched a youtube video that stated it was a natural dock... so I thought they were born that way.

So are ALL docked?

Re: Docked Tails
by: Anonymous

You are correct. Some aussies are born with naturally docked tails and some are not. Tail docking on all breeds are done between 3-5 days old. By this time, they are strong enough, yet all the nerve endings etc are not fully developed. Yes, it may be painful at the moment of docking but only for a minute. It is done quickly with a little betadine, and a quick clip (some vets use nail clippers)and some skin glue.If one is to wait until after this time, most vets will consider this a tail amputation. This of course will require anesthesia, sutures and most likely pain medication as this is a VERY sensitive part of a dog! After this time, it becomes more painful for them, recovory time is prolonged and more than likely, a touchy subject for quite awhile.
All of my pups had tails docked at 3 days. No further problems or complications..My stud dog got a lump on the end of his tail(nub) at about 6 years old..when removed he was in excruciating pain for almost 2 weeks.He also had a VERY high pain tolerance. In my opinion, if your puppy doesnt have a docked tail when days old,PLEASE,PLEASE do not do this to your dog unless it is a health concern!!! PS Now days, it is acceptable in many breeds to keep the tail. This is a personal choice. I hope this helps.

docked tail
by: Elizabeth

If you want a puppy without a docked tail, the breeder would have to choose the puppy for you since the other pups will most likely be docked. This is just something to consider.

My Aussie has a tail
by: Mary

It took me six years to find a breeder who would allow me to have a dog with a tail. Others acted as though I slapped them in the face when I inquired. Unfortunately, when a pup is chosen at a few days old, you do not know what you are getting. My blue merle turned out to be Alpha with many health problems. Try to do your best to research litters where you can select your pup when their personality can be seen.

why dock me?
by: kaithedog

i am vehemently opposed to tail docking any dog for 'looks.' loss of a tail makes the aussies not as able to swim well. if my breeder does not agree to stop docking, i won't be getting another aussie . just because this was 'in fashion' years ago for aussies does not mean this process should continue.

Tails left on is not a big problem
by: DW

I live overseas and it is illegal to dock the tails where I live. When looking for a puppy in America, I contacted a number of breeders and asked them if they could leave the tail attached. Almost all of them were very nice about this and said that it would be no problem as long as I paid in full and I would have to choose a puppy within the first 3 days. There are what I call the "high-end" breeders who raise their dogs for specific purposes and they usually did not want to do this: they observed the dogs for temperament to place them better, then looked for show dogs, then the rest were for pets. You need to find someone who is responsible in breeding and does all the genetic testing first and then simply ask them.

Docked tails
by: Anonymous

My Aussie has a docked tail and she is a better swimmer than my lab! Can't keep her out of the lake! I am considering getting one with a tail next time but it's hard to tell what their tails will look like...not many in my area with a tail but the breeders will do whatever you want if you pay upfront. I saw one with its tail curled up I didn't like that but if it wags like a normal dog I would like that. Personal preference but it has to be done when they are 2 or 3 days old!

aussie flags
by: ken

Having owned aussies both tailed and docked I
have decided that having the tail is better,
watching them in the field, the tail helps me
know what is happening depending on where/how
they are holding it, in tall grass i can still
spot the tail sticking up like a flag.

Docking best for the breed
by: Anonymous

Australian Shepherds are bred as working dogs and as such it is always best to dock their tails. If yours is just a pet then it doesnt matter but when they work livestock and get tail injuries because someone thought it was mean - just doesnt justify leaving that tail long.

by: Karina Calvert - Jones

I am looking for an Aussie puppy but want to keep the tail. Does anyone know of a good breeder who will accommodate this. I'm finding they will only leave it on if its a unsightly dog that they could not show.

Keeping the tails
by: Anonymous

I am a breeder out of Texas and I will be having a litter at the beginning of September and I am keeping the tails on the puppies. Most of the puppies will probably have a natural bobbed tail. You can email me at

Aussie Tail Docking
by: Roo

Before my first Aussie, I disliked the lack of tail. I thought my puppy would be weird, but I've come to think the exact opposite. My wife and I have owned a few Champion blood line Aussies, and we would not own another if it had a tail. It seems that among high end breeders, it's just something that happens. Yes, you have the history of why they were docked, and that's what the higher end breeders cling on to. It's a purist thing now.
If you want a "tv commercial Aussie," keep the tail. If you are a purist, have it docked.

australian shepherd
by: Rachel

I have a Australian shepherd who she is 10mths now and has her tail I never had it docked there great dogs and I recommend them to anyone who isn't lazy and loves to do things I will be having a litter of aussies this summer. The female I have is red merle with a blue and green eye unique markings and had offers on her but I wont ever sell her.... id rather not do the docking and just leave their tails as there is no need to dock unless farming so they don't get there tails injured my sister has a Australian shepherd with her tail docked and has to wear a life vest while swimming shes a blue merle.

Docking is unnecessary
by: Beautiful tails

I work stock with full tailed aussies and there has never been any injury on their tails. Why would there be? If a dog gets hurt herding cattle, it will be front legs or head (I know many cases of broken teeth or legs from kicking animals), NOT it's tail. Australian cattle dogs aren't docked, and they're bred to work very close the kicky and stompy parts! Probably these tail injuries have never happened to anyone, someone just started the docking and then justified it with this made up excuse. It angers me that the US has tail mutilating in the breed standard. I live in a country where docking is illegal and docked dogs can't take part in any kind of trials, competitions or shows. I can only hope someday this lands in to the states too. I'm not holding my breath though.

by: Henma

My Aussie is 8 years old with a very beautiful tail, I am looking for another Aussie but can't find a puppy with tail, to me it is animal abuse and there is no need to dock the tail. Also declawing is abuse, why not let the Aussie in a natural way? It is mostly about the money and the prices from shows but to me it is just not right and zi still searching for a undocked Aussie puppy.

Rachel / tail docking
by: Anonymous

Rachel, from your writing I'm guessing you are a BYB. If your breeding 'program' is anything like your command of the written word, please don't breed.
About docking Aussie tails: if its so dangerous for Aussies' tails to work stock, why do Border Collies work stock without danger to their long tails?

Tail docking
by: Anonymous

Breed standard calls for docked tails, you want a tail, get a border collie!

Wish my Aussie had a tail!
by: Anonymous

Aloha! I have a red merle Aussie Shepherd and wish he had a tail. The breeder did this before we ever saw the litter. I believe the practice of docking is barbaric and stupid. Breeders who do it should be slapped or have their little fingers cut off. Further, the AKC rules should be changed -- that's right, CHANGED.

Tail Docking
by: Anonymous

AKC-AMERICAN Kennel Club standards should be changed. Most euro dogs are required to have their natural ears and tails! Why must we Americans always try to change what GOD created.

As for herding, to say they will hurt themselves is just pain ignorant, most Shepherd breeds have their natural tails.

Having one or not doesn't change the dogs temperament or talents, but it sure effects the attitudes of the dogs owner as demonstrated here in this blog. LOL

Tails should be docked because they are working dogs?? WTF
by: Anonymous

Can someone tell me how often a tail gets injured on a working dog?
There are so many other working dogs with tails, why don't they get tail injuries?
What sort of situation injures a dog's tail?
Wouldn't legs, heads, bodies be more at risk than tails?

I'm sorry but this "working dogs require docked tails" argument is stupid.

Let's be honest, the real reason to have docked tails is because you have an aesthetic preference for them, and I just don't think that's a good enough reason to inflict harm on a dog.

How would you like your pinky removed just because your parents preferred the look if it?

Breeding mini Aussies with tails
by: Tandra Peters

We are going to be breeding our mini Aussie in the next 2-4 weeks and will be keeping the natural tails on the puppies. We believe they should be left how they were born with the natural tails. If anyone is interested feel free to contact us.

Tails attached
by: BonanzaGal

How is it Border Collies can work stock and not have their tails docked? Their is new research on NBT and Spina Bifada... could this be the reason for docked tails

by: Anonymous

... Docked aussies don't have balance issues or can't swim. I actually do dock diving with my aussie. Also its not just for looks. Aussies are a herding dog, they were originally docked so they wouldn't get injured while herding. Id much rather have my dogs tail docked at birth than to have it docked surgically because she was stepped on. Do your research before getting a breed.

A reply to the last comment.
by: An Australian Shepherd lover, owner, and who did their research

I'm from the USA and view tail docking as horrible, unnecessary, and that it should stop. Not only is it painful for the dog or puppy, but completely unnecessary Tails don't need to be Docked for herding! I have a border collie as well, and their tails aren't docked yet they can work with the same live stock! Tails are docked for looks. Personally I find Australian Shepherds with tails much prettier! Also, most injury's from live-stock are on the head, for-legs, and area's like that, not their tails. As Australian shepherds keep to the side or back of the herd while herding, so their tails are almost always out of the live-stocks way. Herding live-stock is just as dangerous with the tail as it would without the tail. You are not 'protecting' your Australian Shepherd by docking its tail, only hurting it, and getting rid of a beautiful fluffy tail. The Aussie I got from the humane society has a docked tail, he's 18, I wish I could have seen his beautiful tail, his colors are so pretty... if only.

Breeders that don't dock
by: Anonymous

There is a Facebook group that is for people looking for Aussies with tails in the US. (Aussies with tails- breeders)
Back Acres Aussies in Texas and Lake Nacis Little Aussies in California are two home breeders that do not dock.

Looking for female blue merle with tail
by: Rhiannon & Dan

We are looking for a female blue merle with a non docked tail. We reside in Tampa Bay, FL and have just purchased a property on a lake. Should anyone have any puppies as of current or an upcoming litter, please contact us at Thank you!

Tail docking
by: Anonymous

Tail docking and docking of a dogs ears is illegal in all parts of the EU and should be here also in the US. It does not affect the ability to show a dog in the EU. Look at the natural tails of the border collie.

Remove dew claws or not?
by: Anonymous

I'm looking for a Mini Aussie puppy (with tail) breeder. I know for sure that I want a tail on puppy, but what about removing the dew claws?

I have read both sides of the debate about removing the dew claws, but I am still not totally convincing what is better for the dog.

Could someone share an experience with or without dew claws?

Turn your back on livestock isn't herding at all
by: Terry Aus Shinaberry

Here's the TRUTH and I pull no punches.

An aussie getting their tail stuck under a heifer isn't going to happening because they don't run from nothing. Tails, or no tails. If that was to happen it be on one half-assed trainer. That aussie should have never been in the field to begin with. If the tail can be step on there held down it's plain fatal they will stomp them into the earth. So who are you kidding? NBTs are not so common and it's still considered a birth defect always has been. So docking makes them look as if they were born with a birth defect. LETS GET IT RIGHT. Here's a ( FACT ) No NBT can be bred to another NBT because the mortality rate is 100% IT'S unsurvivable. NBT = natural bob tail. Aussie herding cattle They are extremely intelligent and way to fast, tails are up underline UP and flat out fast. One more important fact so you dockers go chew on it but good and long. You better leave the dew claws alone. Have you ever seen one fall though the ice, or have to climb out of a steep sided clay embankment in a fast running creek. Didn't think y'all did. I have watched dogs drown before trying to save them and it's ugly. I could not reach them in time all because some asshat you nitwit that cut off parts thought you knew better by removing the dew claws. STOP MESSING UP WHAT GOD GAVE THEM TO SURVIVE WITH YOU BIG DUMB IDIOTS. Your not going to improve on anything by removing their parts. STOP IT!! YOUR KILLING THEM.

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