Why are Rottweiler Tails Docked? You Might Be Surprised

Last Updated on June 26, 2021 by Marco C.

The strong and proud Rottweiler turns around confidently and reveals – a short tail? Why are Rottweiler tails docked? Learn the reasons behind the practice. These shortened tails can be seen often – for good and bad reasons.

Playful dogs wear their heart on their sleeve by wagging their tails. It’s so cute to see how they swish their tails back and forth because of happiness! However, you may notice some dogs actually have portions of their tails removed. This procedure is called “docking,” and you can see that today, there are a number of people who participate in its practice.

This practice is not a new one and extends to a number of other dog breeds. Every dog owner has their own reasons for docking dog tails. Learn more about tail docking by reading on!

What Is Tail Docking?

The docking practice is, simply put, the removal of a dog’s tail. This is done across breeds, and for a number of reasons. It is usually accompanied with “ear cropping” – which is the removal of the floppy portion of a dog’s ears.

This procedure is usually done by a veterinarian. The tail is surgically removed, and the dog is administered anesthesia during the procedure. Some simply apply a rubber ligature on the tail, forcing the blood flow to cease. This causes the tail to fall off on its own.

Why Do Rottweilers Have Their Tails Docked?

Why do we see Rottweilers specifically have docked tails? Their natural tails are very long and thick. Here are some of the reasons why their strong tails are removed by their owners.

Utility Reasons

Rottweilers are working dogs. They are known for doing guard duty, shepherding cattle, and pulling sleds, and other kinds of physical labor. Docking helps them fulfill these duties more conveniently.

Unfortunately, docking is also used for the purposes of dogfighting rings. In order to prevent opponents from biting onto their long tails and losing as a result, they are cut instead. This creates an advantage in each match.

Convenience Reasons

When fully grown, Rottweiler tails are long – and very powerful! They will have the tendency to knock things over in your home, especially during playtime. They often also trail dirt in the home, especially after some time in the outdoors. Some owners prevent these incidents by getting their rottweiler tail docked.

Cosmetic Reasons

You will see tail docking in a lot of “tough” dogs, in conjunction with ear cropping. A lack of a tail and upright ears creates an image of an intimidating guard dog in our heads. This aesthetic has spread in our popular culture, and you can find this belief has a global reach.

Docked tails have also become a standard in the dog show and kennel club community. In the American Kennel Club’s “Official Standard of the Rottweiler” tail docking is a necessity. According to the document, the Rottweiler should have the “tail docked short, close to the body, leaving one or two tail vertebrae.” While they do not technically enforce the practice, not having a docked tail can leave your dog at a disadvantage in the competition.

rottweiler tail docked

Read more about: What Types of Rottweilers are There? A Definitive Guide

Side Effects of Rottweiler Tail Docking

Unfortunately, even with the supposed advantages to docking a Rottweiler’s tail, there are some side effects.

Health Problems

According to WebMD’s veterinary portal, Fetch, nerve tumors could be a side effect of the procedure. Nerve tumors or neuromas are damaged neural tissue at the top of the tail. It is likely to have thickened after the procedure and healing of the wounds. 

Like with any kind of procedure, complications could arise especially if the removal was not done properly.

Balance Problems

Tails serve a practical purpose for dogs – they act as a counterbalance in their activity. This means that when the dog is moving, the tail will work and shift in order to balance the dog’s body.

Taking off a dog’s tail may greatly affect its agility. Active dogs who move around a lot and enjoy climbing activities should have their tail intact in order to maintain this balance. While Rottweilers are big and heavy dogs, a tail can still benefit their day-to-day movement.

Communication Problems

You can easily read dogs by observing their cute and active tails. Docking will prevent this kind of communication, especially between other dogs. Things such as happiness and agitation are conveyed through the use of the tail. Being unable to communicate these basic apprehensions can put them at a disadvantage in social situations. This is communication with fellow dogs and humans alike. There is a danger of misunderstanding the dog’s intentions and emotions without the tail.

Is Rottweiler Tail Docking Legal?

Since tail docking seems widespread, it would be easy to assume that this has been a way of life since before. However, there are many countries where this practice is illegal. Any professionals and dog owners caught perpetuating the practice will have criminal charges against them. In the United States, there is no clear legislation regarding the topic, which makes it a more confusing issue.

Docking is considered “mutilation” in many parts of the world. This is especially since the only persisting reason for its use is cosmetic reasons. Dog show participants would proudly show off the docked tails of their pure-breeds. But, it is not a necessary procedure

Is Rottweiler Tail Docking Recommended?

Now that you know what some of the benefits and disadvantages there are to the tail docking practice, how will you proceed?

Authorities in the dog industry also have opposing views on the matter. The American Kennel Club has allowed the docking practice, noting some of its benefits. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is firmly against the procedure.

Why are Rottweiler Tails Docked Until Today?

Since Rottweilers are not typically used for labor due to the advancement of technology and dog fights are illegal, there is no practical reason why are rottweiler tails docked. Cosmetic reasons are considered shallow and cause more harm than good to the dogs in the long run.

Tail docking may seem like a good option and the golden standard for how a rottweiler should look. However, studies done have shown that the disadvantages outweigh the benefits in the overall consideration of your rottweiler’s life.

Do you have any more questions about Rottweilers and tail docking? Leave a comment below!

Read more about: Male vs Female Rottweilers: A Would-Be Dog Owner´s Guide

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