Australian shepherds are an iconic dog breed.
They’re smart, energetic, and have a lot of personalities.
But what you may have never noticed about these pups is that they all look the same: they have bobbed tails! If you’ve ever wondered why this is the case, we’ve got answers for you.
Read on as we explore the world of Australian shepherd tail docking.
Australian shepherd tail docking
Australian shepherd tail docking is a tradition. It’s done to prevent injury and identify the breed, but also to prevent injury to other dogs and people.
Tail docking has been part of Australian shepherd history for centuries—and we don’t know when it started or why it was ever stopped.
The earliest known written documents about docked tails in Australia were from the 18th century, but there may be earlier evidence that just hasn’t been discovered yet.
Why are Australian shepherds’ tails docked?
Docking, in this case, is the practice of surgically removing the tail from a puppy.
This is done for several reasons:
- To prevent injury to the dog’s spine or tail when it sticks out too far.
- To make it easier to see if their back legs are healthy. Australian shepherds are bred to be strong and agile, but sometimes these characteristics can cause injuries in pups that don’t have long tails.
- To make them look more like other dog breeds that have docked tails (like Border collies).
For all these reasons, docking was originally intended as a way of preventing injuries during working activities such as herding livestock on farms or ranches where there may be sharp objects lying around that could injure a long-tailed Aussie pup while they’re working hard out in the field!
Why do they dock Australian shepherd’s tails?
There are several reasons why people choose to dock their Aussie’s tail:
- Health concerns – The most common reason given for docking tails is health concerns. This includes injuries from getting hit by cars when standing at the rear of a moving vehicle, as well as infections from dirt or debris getting trapped in long hair around the anus called coccidiosis. It also prevents infection from flies laying eggs under long fur around the anus.
- Aesthetics – Some people prefer their Aussie with a docked tail because they feel it looks better on show dogs or simply because they want to conform to breed standards set by dog clubs such as American Kennel Club (AKC).
- They’re so skinny, that they can’t use the bathroom by themselves.
- Because it’s a tradition
Is It Okay To Breed Bobtail Australian Shepherds?
Although bobtail Australian Shepherds are not a requirement of the breed standard, there are some breeders who specialize in breeding them.
If you are looking to purchase an Australian Shepherd from such a breeder, you will likely find that they have docked their dogs’ tails.
However, if you find an Aussie breeder who does not dock their dogs and doesn’t advertise that they do either, this is generally because they have never had any reason to do so.
We hope that we’ve been able to answer your questions about Australian shepherd docked tails.
We know that this is a sensitive subject, but we also want to stress the importance of understanding why it happens and what it means for the dogs themselves.