Docking a dog’s tail is not cruel nor is it always because of breed or for looks. There are many reasons for docking a dog’s tail and sometimes it is the best option not just for looks but for the very health of the dog.
Many years ago I had taken in a border collie from a family I knew well. Kiku was obsessive about her tail – she chewed the hair off until it looked like a possum tail with a tuft on the end. There was no medical reason for it found. She crossed from that to chewing the tail itself, leaving sores that were then open to infection. With open sores remedies to stop chewing cannot be used. As an adult she was taken in to have her tail docked. She did not suffer one day from this operation. She no longer chewed herself to distraction. She no longer was left to fight flies drawn to the open sores she created. She never chewed up higher – just her tail. It was FAR better for her physical and mental health after the tail was gone. No one knows what possessed her to do this – but docking solved it.
I’ve also had Dobermans and Australian shepherds that had docked tails. They had NO problem expressing themselves with their shortened tail when they were happy! I don’t think that every dog needs done nor every breed should have docked tails…but nor do I think it’s cruel. There is no long term suffering from having the tail docked or for that matter ears cropped. When done as puppies it heals quickly – as Kiku’s did even as an adult. Granted it took slightly longer than a pup but there was no long term problem with her not having a tail.
There are several breeds with a longer but still less than full length tail – working terriers for example the tail can be a ‘handle’ to grab the dog, and as evidenced by a fox terrier I had, did not cause him any distress to have his tail firmly held or gently tugged any more than any other part of his body.
Yes it can be done cruelly, and yes any measure can be abused. There is an increase in plastic surgery for dogs, with owners sending dogs as far away as Brazil to have it done. In a comparison, I’d snip off a puppy’s tail to shorten it – where he’d be over it quickly – vs injecting Botox – a form of botulism – in the dog’s face! (Or my own for that matter.)
This is expressly against rules to show, and yet thousands of dogs (leading to figure non-show dogs) have been done at one location. This was documented over three years ago. Even CBS reported owners getting their dogs facelifts and tummy tucks – with owners saying they do so there is no reason their pets don’t ‘deserve’ it too. There’s even available “neuticles” – so your neutered dog doesn’t look like a neutered dog when implanted with them. Seems mostly guys can’t handle those being removed so they give fake ones.
If altering an animal’s appearance by tails or ears is wrong then what about the thousands of dollars in other surgeries? This is far more risky than snipping the tail of most often a puppy.
When we take in an animal we are responsible for decisions for the dog. If I want to take three of them in and have their tails docked for whatever reason I choose that’s my decision as their owner. If you don’t want it done to yours then equally it’s your decision to not have it done. As it happens I don’t have dogs with docked tails, but I don’t think that it’s cruel to have it done provided it’s done quickly and as painlessly as possible. A whimper doesn’t mean cruelty either…many whimper and even scream when getting shots yet to talk of not vaccinating brings further cruelty charges even though that is another decision made by the owner of the dog.
The Doberman with or without a tail is still a Doberman. The breed does not change for a tail. There are many decisions we make for our own dogs that perhaps others won’t agree with. To dock the tail or not dock the tail is one of those decisions. That doesn’t make it cruelty.