Docked tail dog breeds
Purebred dogs are purpose-bred dogs and come in all shapes and sizes. The characteristics that make each of these dogs unique also help them perform the function for which they were bred.
The physical appearance of the dogs illustrates this, and is also an important part of the breed’s history. For example, the thick body and heavy fur on a St. Bernard make it the perfect dog for mountain rescue. The long, narrow body of a Dachshund (German for "badger hunter") allows it to burrow underground to hunt badgers.
Many owners of specific breeds wish to maintain their dog’s historic practical function by having their puppy’s ears cropped, tails docked, or dewclaws removed. While some unfamiliar with the breeds believe that this is purely aesthetic, these procedures actually enhance the dog’s ability to perform the tasks it is meant to do.
Debarking is another hotly debated procedure. This is not purely a procedure of convenience, but rather a viable option that allows a dog in certain circumstances to remain in its loving home rather than being sent to a shelter.
Understanding the Procedures
Ear cropping, tail docking, dewclaw removal and debarking are procedures that are increasingly debated in the general public and in public policy. To help gain insight on these issues, let’s begin by defining these terms:
- Ear cropping is a procedure by which a dog’s ears are trimmed, or "cropped", so that they can stand erect rather than flop over. Common examples of dogs with cropped ears are Boston Terriers, Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers. The AKC currently recognizes 20 breeds with cropped ears.
- Tail docking refers to the removal of a portion of the tail. The length that is docked varies depending on the breed. Dogs with docked tails include Cocker Spaniels, Rottweilers, and Yorkshire Terriers. Currently 62 breeds recognized by the AKC have docked tails. Some dogs, such as the Old English Sheepdog and Australian Shepherd, may appear to be docked, but may have actually been born with a "bobtail", or naturally short tail.
- Dewclaw removal is a procedure by which the dewclaws, which are essentially extra claws that serve little to no purpose for the majority of dogs, are removed. Most dogs are born with dewclaws.
- Debarking, or "bark softening" is a veterinary procedure that softens a dog’s bark by altering a dog’s vocal cords with a laser or biopsy tool. The dog may still bark, but at a softer volume. When performed correctly by a veterinarian, the most common method is non-invasive, takes just a couple minutes to perform, and again has no lasting negative effects.