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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Australian Shepherds And Tails

by Brooke Jordan
(Paso Robles California)

Traditionally, breeders of Australian Shepherds have docked the tails of infant puppies for a variety of reasons established largely by society. Breeders should take into consideration the reasons behind tail docking, the benefits of a tail, and the modern dog before deciding whether this trend is indeed the best choice for their puppies. Almost 30 countries have already banned any procedures resulting in docking of tails, declaws and the cropping of ears. The US continues to blindly follow an ignorant tradition.

Because the genetic patterns for Aussie's tails vary in length and structure, breed standards established in the USA describe a "typical" Australian Shepherd as having  a tail of 4 inches or shorter. In consequence to breed standards, when a puppy is born with a long tail, the tail is "docked" (removed, cut short, amputated) shortly after birth in order to maintain conformity throughout the breed.

What many people don't know, is that puppies born with a naturally docked/bobbed tail (Short tail or nub) carry a deforming gene if combined/bred with another dog whom was also genetically a natural bob. The result of two parents with natural bobs can result in hip and limb deformities. Therefore breed standards are supporting an inbred mutation.

Tail docking is believed to have originated from the Romans.  They believed the muscles in the dog's tail were the cause of Rabies. This belief has obviously been proven a myth, yet tail docking continues.

In 1970, tax laws on dogs were created to aide funding of the French War. Working dogs were exempt, and to signify their status the tails of working dogs were removed. These taxes are no longer in place, and yet tail docking continues.

The herding industry claims the practice of tail docking is followed to avoid injury. Herding is risky, however its clear that the whole dog is at risk, not only their tail. Should pain be inflicted now by removing the tail, in order to avoid a possible painful injury in the future? Herders may argue that the tails collect burrs and foxtails, which can later cause infection and removing the tail reduces the risk. A good grooming will achieve the same results, and doesn't involve amputation of an appendage. One can not claim that herding dogs shouldn't have tails when the number one herding dog is the Border Collie (which have tails), yet Aussie tail docking continues.

Some report that the procedure is painless, therefore the tradition is carried out specifically to demonstrate personal freedom.  It is something the government does not yet control. Amputation is indeed not painless; there is pain during the process as well as after (depending on which method is used), even if the puppies nerves are not yet functioning at 100%.

If society is depraved enough to do something simply because they can,then they are begging the government to regulate. The government has not yet banned it in the US, so tail docking continues.

Dog's tails are designed with great purpose. They express their emotions with their tails, and communicate to other K-9s. A tail is a dog's rudder while swimming, and warmth when curled up at night. Their tails aide them in jumping, running, and balance. Depriving a dog from their God given tail hinders them in multiple amputating the humans big toe to prevent it from being stubbed in the future,. The purpose of the tail is obvious, and still tail docking continues.

The dog's role in society has significantly changed over time. They have gone from "just the dog" chained up outside, to an having an imperative role in work force and family. It's  no longer only dogs living to serve people; there are now millions of people that dedicate their lives to rescuing dogs. There are laws put in place to protect these creatures from abuse and neglect. Participation with the use of dogs for fighting today is a felony.

Some dogs are referred to as somebody's "Grand-dogs". Dogs work with the police force. They are key members of search and rescue teams. Dogs lead the blind. They are now partners working side by side with the human race.

We have advanced medical treatments for our dogs such as insulin, surgical procedures, seizure medications. Vaccines for dogs were unheard of when docking of tails was acceptable. There are pounds to maintain the safety of un-wanted and lost dogs. Dog food has become organic. Dog grooming is now a profession. Halloween costumes for dogs are normal. These animals are no long "just dogs".  Almost everything about them has evolved, and yet tail docking continues.

The intent of this message is to open the minds of breeders. I support all breeders choices on this subject as long as their choice is a result of their personal reasoning, and not society's. As humans we are capable of choice, but choosing to follow a tradition with no accountability is unacceptable. These dogs are mine. My dogs, my choice, my tails.

Yours Truly,
Brooke Jordan

Comments for Australian Shepherds And Tails

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by: Anonymous

God knows everything. So, don't ya think He also knew what these dogs would do? But even with that, the great majority of people with Aussies, are pet owners not large working farms. Way back when, there would've been a lot more farms but that's sadly not the case, so for the select few that are working their dogs on an actual working farm running cattle... not chickens and goats etc., they will likely be able to get Aussies with docked tails.
There is something Brook mentioned that is very important.
1 in 5 dogs will have a natural bobtail (NBT). While cute, if that puppy is bred with another dog (remember 1 in 5), with the
T-gene mutation, those puppies can be born with severe spinal issues including Spinabifida. Many die. It's all very tragic.
You must consider that the tail is a contuation of the spine with vertabra running all the way down.
This docking thing is all about tradition. But 30+ countries have banned it so far.
Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. And just because it's been a tradition doesn't mean it was ever a good practice.
If God felt the AS needed a nub to do his job. I fully believe they would not have tails.

by: Anonymous

Australian shepherds and border collies are different dogs and saying that because one keeps it tail to work livestock while the other doesn’t is comparing apples and oranges. Australian shepherds utilize their body,’and get under the livestock so a tail has a potential to be broken. A border collie utilizes intimation and staring so the likelihood of a broken tail is slim to none. That point alone should tell you that we don’t just remove the tail for no reason. If it was just for shits and giggles the border collie would t have theirs either but it’s about the safety of the dogs. And because at 3 days we don’t know who’s working bs living a family we make the call to keep everyone safe. This kind of stuff is so messed up because you clearly did research to only back your opinion instead of listening to opposing views with openness.
Also I never am like I wonder how my 7 aussies are feeling? You don’t lose an ounce of personality.

Shame on you
by: Anonymous

You clearly no nothing of how Australian shepherds use their body vs border collies. Collies use their stare and intimidation to move livestock while the Aussie literally gets under the livestock and use their bodies. You can see it in their play. So yes I’d rather have a minor pain than a terrible injury with their tail. Maybe do research that doesn’t just support your view, and this would have been a well-rounded article but it’s just false information meant to scare people. Shame on you.

Docked Tails
by: Anonymous

Tails are beautiful! My 13-week-old Aussie has a white tipped tail. I understand the importance for working dogs but if a dog is not a working dog then why bother?

by: Lisa

Our breeder had a litter of 10 and gave everyone the option of a tail or not. Everyone kept the tail and and puppies were beautiful! We also have an 18 month old red-tri that was docked. He is expressive with his "nub" but wonder how beautiful his tail would have been had it been kept.

God gave them the tails so I believe that they should be left. It would be just like cutting off a babies toe when they were born since that was also God-Given.

It would be great if it was not a breed standard that tails are required.

by: Fritz’s mom

I mistakenly thanked Kaylie instead of the actual author Brooke!

Leave the tails - Please!
by: Fritz’s mom

Rowdy, my beautiful black tri and heart dog until he passed (14 1/2 years) came from the breeder with a docked tail and front dewclaws removed. I knew his tail was docked because I read about that, but didn’t even know Aussies had front dewclaws until years later.

After having him in my life for 3 years I decided I would never get another Aussie from a breeder unless they agreed NOT to dock the tail. I live in Colorado and don’t know of a breeder who will leave the tail intact.

So, when Rowdy passed in 2016 I adopted an Aussie mix puppy from a rescue. Fritz is solid merle with white, has a magnificent tail and his front dewclaws. I don’t know what he’s mixed with because he looks like my boy Rowdy (though he is smaller) and is all Aussie as far as his behavior and traits go. He also has a crook and a nub in his tail, which I read is the result of the bobtail gene. One of his sisters had a natural bobtail.

He’s 5 1/2 now and like Rowdy, runs our 37 acre property (supervised) in southern CO, which has a variety of cactus and all manner of burrs. Like Rowdy, he needs to be brushed and checked for ticks afterwards. His tail has never caused a problem.

My shelter dog and companion to Rowdy later in life just passed in December and I’ll be working with a herding dog rescue to find another dog, hopefully an Aussie or Aussie mix because I love them. But, as much as I love them, I refuse to pay a breeder to mutilate them just to maintain a standard and differentiate them from being confused (by people who don’t know dogs) with Border Collies.

Thank you Kaylie for writing this much needed piece.

source info please
by: Anonymous

I really appreciate all I have learned from this article!
Please, what is the source material? For example, I would love to be able to cite any studies that illuminated the deformity gene in dogs with a natural bob.

by: Glenn

Fortunately, our breeder had a blue Merle male Aussie with a full natural tail reserved in the litter, then, for whatever reason, the folks backed out. Their loss - our gain! Breeder normally docks tails because that is what the public expects, but now has vet do it. Said puppies screamed and cried for 3 days after cutting off the circulation to their tails and she just couldn’t take it anymore...

Keep the tail
by: Anonymous

Our Australian Shepherd is a rescue and has his tail. He has gone hiking and other adventures with us for the 14 years we have had him. His tail is a beautiful banner that lets us know how he is feeling especially as he ages.
Tail docking is cruel and takes away the balanced beauty a large fluffy banner tail gives. It helps them with balance and agility also.


Tail docking is cruel and should be stopped.
We have 3 aussies and their tails are a large part of their life.

Keep the tail
by: Anonymous

I have an Australian Shepherd with a full tail. It's one of my favorite parts of him and it's so fluffy and expressive. I couldn't imagine him without it and I don't understand why anyone would dock the tail as a pup.

by: Anonymous

No docking it is barbaric and should be banned as it is in the UK

Aussie breeders who do not dock tails
by: Glenn

Looking for reputable Aussie breeder in upstate NY or Ontario who does not dock tails. Suggestions where I might find a list?

Full tails were created to begin with
by: Shirley Mcadoo

Until I read and read did I realize that the Australian Shepherds
Were born with tails to begin with.
How ruthless to dock them, I don't think the reasoning
Substantiates the process.
Just because people are too lazy to groom their working Aussies isn't due cause.
God created them to be what they are born with,
Leave well enough ALONE!

leaving the tail on an aussie is ridiculous
by: Anonymous

leaving the tail on an aussie is ridiculous ...takes away all of the history of these glorious cattle dogs. ...leaving it looking like just any other dog. So long as the tail is docked while newborn the practice is not cruel. I would not, however, dock the tail of an adult Aussie.

Awesome Aussies!
by: Kris

I am so glad I came across your article! I have a female black tri and male black bi that are now the parents of 8 black bi puppies! Some brown may show later; they're only 4 days old.

I was struggling with whether or not to dock their tales and just couldn't stomach the thought. Even my vet is against it. Mom and Dad were purchased with their tales docked, so we didn't have it done.

I can't really see the point of doing it especially since Border Collies aren't docked! Let's start a movement!

Thank you!

Magnificent Tails
by: Anonymous

It kills me that snooty organizations like AKC, have enough power to condone animal cruelty. Aussie tails are magnificent.

by: Kasey

U go girl I love everything you said

Full tail rules
by: Byron

I have a rescue Aussie with a full brush tail. It's really beautiful when it flies in the breeze! Here tail fur is 9-12 inches long! Yes it picks up burrs occasionally but careful brushing and use of a de-matting tool takes care of it.

She also has upright ears. Some tape the ears when pups and growing to get a droop but I think it is a dumb idea. The ears tell so much how the dog is reacting. Sam will flood then down when she feels necessary.

Sam also has a very long outer coat. I've seen a number of these too. In fact there were three others all from unrelated breeders at training class earlier. When Sam trots or runs her coat just flows. It's a beautiful motion.

Samantha is from a working line and is an extremely high drive dog. You don't see this level very often. I've worked and trained GSD and Mals like this so training while challenging is extremely rewarding. Sam responds to verbal, hand signal, whistle and flashlight. It's fun to do silent recalls in classes. Our hand signals are just a twitch of hand movement. The flashlight was spectacular as I held in concealed in my hand. I use a lot of silent commands. For example, Heel is simply starting on my left foot. Starting on my right foot is " stay" while I move on.

Aussies are the last of the breeds not ruined by selective breeding for the show ring. I have a real problem with this so I'll leave this rant for another day. Maybe somewhere else.

These are the best dogs ... if you can devote the time and love to them.


Tail Docking
by: Gail OBrien

I research this breed for quite some time. After owning a beautiful, heavy, lush coated Spitz with a gorgeous tail, I was bewildered by the reasoning for tail docking of the Aussie. One of the most successful herding dogs is the Boarder Collie with its beautiful Tail. Go figure!!!

date wrong
by: Anonymous

1790, not 1970

Will not be docking
by: Anonymous

I have a litter of Aussie puppies coming in a few days. i have been doing research on tail docking and looking at pictures of Aussies with tails. I think they are beautiful with the tail intact and have contacted some of the people who will be getting my pups and we've decided against docking. I'm so glad I read this article to help me firm up that decision. Thank you.

Share your tail movement stories
by: Anonymous

Austrians with tails
by: Anonymous

I have an Aussie puppy with a full tail I got her from Robins Australian shepherds in Coldwater Ontario this past summer

Sharon Beiggs
by: Anonymous

Thank you Brooke Jordan, for such an excellent article. I was blessed last year with my first Aussie, Charlie Rae. He has a most beautiful tail he is a red Aussie and many people remark on how beautiful it is. I am so glad that his prior owner did not dock his tail. I met a few Aussie owners at the park and they show them at dog shows. They tell me that you can not show your Aussie unless its tail is cut off.

Standard Aussie Breeder with a tail
by: Anonymous Montana Standard Aussie Breeder

Dear Anonymous looking for a Standard Aussie with a tail. We give the choice to our waiting list families, that meet our standards for an Aussie home, of keeping the tail. The downside is they must pick their pup before they are 3 days old, at the longest. In the 18 + years we've been breeding Standard Australian Shepherds we've only had a couple that wanted their Aussie with a tail. I would also like to add we have our Standard Aussies in almost every US State, and some in Canada as well.

Where can I find an Aussie with tail?
by: Anonymous

Does Anyone know a breeder that breeds standard Aussies with tails? I will not stop looking until I've found at Least one. Please help me out!

How do we determine if tail's genetic or AMPUTATED?
by: Gypsy19129

A RN who's cared for thousands of amputees over the yrs. I could always find a remnant of an incision, regardless of how well the limb healed.
With my Aussie Shep. I've looked with magnification > 20x & can't find evidence of any "cutting"--surgical scar.
Does anyone know how we who've adopted ASPCA Aussies can determine if our dogs have been subjected to this "Dark Ages" procedure?
Tail docking & ear cropping is done by either imbecile who don't have a clue about Anatomy/Physiology nor NATURE'S COURSE OF UTILITY.
Anyone who argues Pro-docking, is for the dog's benefit or health, is under some weird misconception of safety.
Those who discussed the dog tail as BALANCE & AGILITY, especially with herding, are RIGHT ON THE MONEY!
Tail Docking & Ear Cropping is physiologically cruel & useless!

Tail docking is EXTREMELY painful. Just step on pups' tails by accident!
by: Gypsy19129

Any person, medical degree in Vet medicine or not, can never honestly nor scientifically say/prove, tail docking is "PAINLESS"!
Painless really? Just accidentally step on any puppy's tail; the scream will give you enough evidence that it IS INCREDIBLY PAINFUL!
While I won't get into a religious or cultural argument, as a graduate RN working in an Neonatal Newborn unit, tail docking reminds me of the very distinct, high pitched screams heard when newborn males were Circumcised. At least male Circumcision has a cultural & religious history. I'm not of the belief that removing the male foreskin helps maintain improved cleanliness. In fact, the foreskin has a function to protect the most highly vascular, highly neural sensitive part of the male penis!
The connection here is the dog's tail is similar in vascularitiy & sensory pain neurons as ANY distal appendage.
Therefore, Tail Docking causes young puppies incredible pain!
Anyone who has watched an appendage lopped off can attest to the unusual blood curdling cries a dog screams out when just their toenail is accidentally cut let alone when a thick appendage like a tail is totally AMPUTATED without Lidocaine or any form of neurogenic nerve sensation abatement.

Any breeder, ANYONE IN FACT, who practices tail docking or ear cropping is nothing more than a sadist HITLERESQUE criminal!

One faulty opinion
by: Anonymous

Oh the usual drivel of bleeding hearts.

A few days of puppy pain are hardly a big deal. Altering their reproductive organs cause more pain and we do that. So get over it and stop being so stupid.

Auzzi's tales don't tuck like border collie's. For a pet? Sure leave the tail. But for a working dog as they are breed to be? Lets give them the best chance.

And none of our docked Auzzies have ever had balance issues. That's just bull crap.

by: Aussie Ollie

I breed Aussies and Aussie Border crosses. I do have the tails docked and dews clipped. Two of my girls have their tails, 2 girls are docked, and my male is docked. I prefer the docked tail, but do hate having it done of course. In 3 years of breeding, I have only had one request for a natural tail.
Although a tail may act as a rudder, my docked dogs are very well balanced and incredibly athletic. They are also able to show emotion by wiggling their bobbed tail and their whole butts...which they do with a long tail also. And it's not just tails that dogs use to show us emotion and mood...some are very expressive with their eyes, and especially their can totally read a dog by their ears.
It's a legit debate, and I can see both sides...but right now, the preference is for the docked tail...

Choices are made
by: Anonymous Breeder

Great article with one side of the argument, or should I say one opinion. I am an Aussie breeder and have been breeding Aussies for 17 years. We've had naturally bobbed/docked tail pups, docked the tails of the pups and left tails intact as well. The mention of a breeder requiring the pup being chosen before 3 days to have the tail left intact as being a ridiculous request. We maintain a waiting list and only breed well researched, DNA verified parentage lines of Standard working lines. No show lines and never never never merle to merle. Our litters are chosen and deposits paid from the day they are whelped to 2 weeks old. Our lines are proven and personality is something that develops throughout the dogs lives, with early development being the responsibility of the breeder,(A caring, educated and responsible breeder) and passed on to the person or persons adopting the pup. If you choose to wait until the puppy can prove to you it's personality and bond to you...that again is your choice. The breeder needs to make the decision to dock or not within the first few days of the pups life. Like or understand it or not, in my experience of breeding Aussies, an Aussie pup with a tail would likely not get adopted by someone wanting a working Aussie. I've had only 2 requests in 17 years of breeding for an Aussie pup with a tail. We track our pups for as long as the owner(s) will keep in contact. We still have Aussies from our first litters still living. Never a single report of hip dysplasia, epilepsy. All that have passed were either natural or accidental deaths. We have an agreement with each adopting family that for any reason they can't or decide not to keep the dog that they bring them back to us. In 17 years we've had 3 and none were the fault of the dog. We re-home each and they are reported to be the best dogs they've ever had. We've considered requiring the people that adopt our Aussies take an IQ test and require them to be smarter than the pup. Bottom line is that an Aussie pup with, or without a tail, is a personal choice each person or family has to make when searching for that perfect Aussie. I have families that want full tails and families that insist on them being docked. I would also like to mention I interview the prospective person(s) before I make the choice to let them adopt my pups. Many don't make it to the waiting list for whatever reason I choose. Do all the readers here realize some of the same countries that outlawed tail docking also outlawed dogs being spayed or neutered? The veterinaries in those countries are very busy treating damaged or broken tails and wounds from dog fights. Well maybe not but another example of governments taking your personal choices away, one at a time. If you feel you need the government to dictate everything you can or cannot do, maybe it's time to move to one of those wonderful caring & compassionate countries. As far as I am aware, it is still your choice!!!

My two Aussies: 1 natural short tail/1 docked thank God
by: JennieShadow

Why do I say this:
My first Aussie has a naturally short tail and was donated to my trainer with his brother for the reason that it is dangerous to breed the short tail gene in case the other breeding dog's records do not clearly record any naturally short tailed dogs which causes the severely data aging hip and back consequences listed so eloquently in that very first post.

My second Aussie is from a sheep and cattle herding breeder and from a recent incident I can very clearly see why it is so very important to have their tails docked. I was told long ago that 3-4 Aussies would take the sheep out for 3-5 days and they would often come back with terribly chewed up, mutilated tails. I was laughed at by a border collie breeder of 20 years who said, "We send the border collies out the same way, and we've never had any trouble!"

This 4 yr old, my dear Mosie, recently had a sore on his foot just below what I would call his wrist (being unaware of the exact name for that part). We treated it and treated it under a dr's care, but he couldn't leave it alone. Finally, after it had gone on too long with him digging into his skin almost to the bone, we put a veterinarian cone collar on him and kept it on for 3 weeks while the medicine and Benadryl helped it to heal finally. If this had been his tail we would have had to amputate it as an adult because it would have stuck out far beyond any cone could cover, which would have been much crueler than a preventative early docking.

I need to add that watching my dear pup suffer with this irritating pain and chewing was devastating to me and all who know him, and the hair has yet to grow back.

Finally, Mosie is my Service Dog, and he was unable to work all this time. However, imagine a group of herding dogs with Mosie's same irritation and determination to remove it being down that long one at a time for weeks and months and then not only losing all that time herding while suffering terribly and recovering painfully but also losing the ability to grow fur to cover those parts they need covered to safely do their jobs. And how many of their tails would have to be docked as adults and then more pain and recovery.... And healthy sheep and cow and duck herders out of business. These dogs from the ASCA (Australian Shepherd Club of America) are still herders.
I am so grateful my very caring and responsible breeder protected Mosie from further unnecessary suffering by docking his tail at birth. It was a tiny burr he could not get out.

beautiful tails!
by: Anonymous

my boy has the most beautiful long tail that seems to act as a rudder when he's flying after his frisbee!!

by: Jeanne

That was interesting that you linked naturally bob tails to a genetic defect. The only Aussie I have had with a natural bob tail was from a fatal white litter. Of my other three Aussies i have had over the years two were docked and one was naturally long. What a tail! Very beautiful and she would hold it like a flag in the breeze. The next Aussie I get will have a tail if I have a say in it. Love my Aussies and the tail is a wonderful thing!

by: Anonymous

I have no idea if my Aussie has a naturally bobbed tail or if there was no tail at all, though my vet thinks it's just naturally like that. I also have a Great Pyrenees with a huge tail and I haven't noticed any difference in the expressiveness of my dogs. Her little nub goes up and her ears go forward when she's interested, her whole rear end wiggles when she's excited and happy - it's not the same "language" as my Pyr speaks, but she's absolutely clear on all her moods. It took me a bit to get used to, but I think there's only missed communication if you're expecting a dog with no tail to communicate the same way as a dog with a tail. It's different, but not worse! As far as docked tails go, my dogs are pets and competitors in sports and companions for activities - I actually like that it's less to have to keep free of mats, but I wouldn't dock deliberately. Most of my dogs tend to be rescues though, so a decision to dock as a baby is usually made long before I get a dog.

Working Dogs Need Their Tails Cut.
by: Anonymous

The tails of working dogs were/are removed for that reason: they WORK. IF they have livestock step on their tale they CAN easily get into situations where they are killed or maimed. We have 3 Aussies (really Basque as they originate here as CAN be seen in photos or paintings hundreds of years old!), on a sheep ranch in the Basque Country...incredible, thinking, devoted dogs.

Dew claws
by: Anonymous

I believe in removing dew claws. They are too easy to get stuck in a fence or somewhere where they can be ripped off, which I'm sure is much more painful than having them removed at a young age. And I like my dogs with docked tails. It's the way the breed is supposed to be. If you don't like it get a different type of dog...

by: Gayle-Big Run Aussies

As a breeder, I will no longer be docking tails after 20 years of soul searching and observation for many of the reasons cited by Brooke.
I also feel that other dogs misread tailess dogs. My sweet girl has been attacked so many times, because other dogs see her as being frightened with a tail tuck. Sera is a sweet therapy dog and has been attacked while on the job.
We also compete in agility and tails act as rudders in performance and some of the top Aussies in agility have tails.
I do not judge others for their decision to dock. It is just not for me.

A tale of two tails.
by: Morpheous

I have one of each, one natural one docked. It doesn't slow either of them down athletically it seems, and they express themselves very well regardless of the missing appendage. Nicknamed "Wiggles" and '"Lil Wiggs" they shake their rear ends furiously to let us know they are happy to be with us. I am against mutilation in general, unless its really for the well being of the animal, for serious herders producing working dogs, this may be the case. Love my Aussies.

God's handiwork
by: Lori

Thank you for eloquently expressing what many believe. Our family loves Aussies, but we hate the amputation that most breeders insist upon. Aussies have poor balance because of their lack of a tail. It is sickening and depressing to see. This is why we instead chose English Shepherds. Dogs tell us so much with their tails. Cropping ears and docking tails are cruel practices that serve only the whim of the breeder. I contend that anyone wishing to cut off parts of animals should first volunteer for his own ear-cropping and limb-amputation. That would put an immediate end to the practice.

born with a tail
by: Devery

I own a aussie with a docked tail that I know should be there to help support his balance and joy or disappointment. I really wanted the breeder to leave his tail but he would not hear of such nonsense. Born with a tail should die with a tail.

by: Pen Pearce

My Aussie has a naturally bobbed tail. When we first got him it was strange to us and we really wanted one with a tail but there we no naturally tailed pups.
We really like him not having a tail now. He has a very short tail and he is certainly able to wag it and does so with great enthusiasm. He lacks nothing from not having a tail.
HOWEVER I am against docking full stop. It is not necessary.
We also had a Border Collie who was solo proud of his tail.
So, naturally bobbed is okay but NOT docking. I think docking is now illegal in Australia thank goodness.
Pen Pearce

A tail of two puppies.
by: C. Martin

I believe in the natural look, if god wanted to look different he would have made that way. I have had two Aussies and they both had the most beautiful tails. I wouldn't have changed that for anything. It seemed to balance them and never interfered with anything did. Whether it was herding or play frisbee. I say leave them natural.

mine has no tail
by: MrJohn

My aussie rescue came with no tail though she can express emotion with her jiggling butt. I asked when I got her if it was docked or natural and the humane society did not know and I just hoped it was natural but now I'm not so sure. She is spayed so no worry about inbreeding.
I do oppose chopping dogs up to look like something they aren't naturally.
One funny thing is my wife, after having Sadie for a year or more, said to me with alarm that Sadie has a growth on her rear. How she missed it for that long, I don't know.

Tails and Stumps
by: Anonymous

Couldn't agree with you more!!
When I asked why they docked tails I was told so that the cows or sheep did not step on their tails. I was told I could have an aussie with a tail if I chose a dog with in the first day or two. Which is ridiculous to me. How can you bond that quickly with an animal so young? You don't know the personality yet. I hate that they do that to the dogs. I love my aussie, but we lack so much in our relationship because she doesn't have her tail. She can not tell me how she feels or express herself as you put it. I feel as you do. It needs to be changed! Its a stupid and useless act.

Aussie Tail
by: Kathy

Thank you for an excellent letter, Brooke.

My rescued, puppy mill breeder Aussie has a beautiful, full tail. Yes, it grows foot long hair that can tangle and pick up debris, but brushing and the occasional trim takes care of that nicely.

I hope your message makes others reconsider docking. It seems to exist for traditional purposes only.

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