Okay, this is a hot one people but it is a topic of discussion on one of my groups so I thought I'd throw it out there for everyone to ponder on. This is my opinion and mine alone and you are completely entitled to have and voice your own opinion on the subject. I am completely against docking and cropping; but this specific blog is about docking.
Docking is typically done between the age of 2-5 days and without anesthesia. If you've ever witnessed the procedure; yikes. There are several sites on the web that show step by step how it is done from start to finish. Only look if you have a strong stomach.
As a lover of dogs, all dogs whether purebred or mix I think that docking now belongs in the history books. I just know that our Grandchildren will look back and shudder when they see what we did to dogs for fashion. Being that I have a docked breed I have had many a heated discussion on the subject and balance seems to be one of the important factors in docking today. "The dog looks more balanced." More balanced?
I don't understand how people justify our human eye more than the natural length of a tail. Dogs like wolves are born with tails for a reason; all physical. They use them for communication purposes and to aid in agility. Watch a dogs tail when they swim, do agility, frisbee or any other active type sport. That tail is turning back and forth in the opposite direction of the body like a rudder.
From a behavior perspective a dog with a tail has much superior communication capabilities than that of a dog with a shortened or completely docked tail. It is simple logics to see that they cannot throw signals as easily nor can other dogs read them as freely.
As a trainer I much prefer dogs with tails as it let's me know much more comprehensively of what is going on in that little head. Tails are not the only thing used for communication but they are a huge factor.
Many breeders state that the reason they do it is because the standard says so. Hey, isn't there a saying that says "rules are made to be broken?" If everyone just stopped, no more docking and everyone banded together the standards would change, bottom line. The Europeans are way ahead of us in this department.
The other reason many stand by docking is for injury reason. It is stated by many that a working dogs tail can be damaged leading to later amputation. Yes well accidents happen and I know many, many dog breeds that are not docked that are amazing working field dogs. Labs, Goldens and English pointers all have their tails.
And the last reason and most historic is that of the guarding breeds that looked just too darn cute with their ears and tails. They were taken off to create a more menacing appearance and to eliminate the grab ability of the would be criminals. Most police dogs nowadays; German Shepherds, Dutch Shepherd, Tervuren and the Malanois have tails. And from where I stand they are pretty scarey, seems like the criminals on the news think so too.
Check it out: