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A friend of mine is vehemently against tail-docking. Her heart goes out to her beloved pit bull, whom she adopted from a rescue shelter. The poor animal had had his ears snipped off with scissors at home! It was in an attempt to make him look like a fighting dog.

I can get behind her loathing of people who maim their own dogs. That's just cruel. But I still approve of the traditional tail-docking as done by a vet. Maybe because I was with you the day the puppies got snipped.

harmonica jim

I did not know about this controversy until I read this thread. I ihave heard of puppies dying from botched docking.
Personally, I think a docked tail can keep a dog out of a lot of trouble with coffee table height crystal and dips and chips.
As for our toy poodle, her puff is always full and i never thought of her as having a small tail. Hers is a proud flag for a small and sovereign entity and she carries it high for other dogs to see.


my poodles are 3weeks old can they still have their tail docked?

Michelle Garcia

My Mini poodle is now 4 months old can she still have her tail docked?? the reason is not it's because she's a rescue poodle and they did not do it.


Having the tail docked now is a major operation, requiring anasthetic and full surgery.
I would not have it done.
If she was meant to be a rescue dog, she can wear her tail proudly.

B gillis

I just picked up a 9 wk old mini poodle in another state...A great dog & good looking but the tail curves onto the body & lies flat...ugly. The photos I received before puchasing showed otherwise. Baid & Switch. I want to have his tail fixed...it is not too short. What to do? thank you.


I answered your question in an email.

Barbara Harvell

The author states that poodles should have their tail docked to "look like poodles". How much more like a poodle can they look than with the beautiful tail that God gave them. My precious 6 month old toy poodle is beautiful with her long tail. She prances proudly with her plumme held high. No one can mistake her for anything other than a poodle.

karen bailey

I addopted a 15 week old Standard Poodle puppy. He was born at the shelter so they did not dock his tail. He also had a broken leg! By the time his splint was removed (4 weeks later)he was 4 months old. I had gotten use to the tail. I talked with the vet, My grooming friends, and also my agility instructer who Shows and breeds Standard Poodles. Everyone thinks I should leave his tail. He is Just too old. He may suffer pain and excess scar tissue in that area.And the procedure would be called an amputation. He is not registered even though both of his parents were. Shelters do not allow that. I have 2 other Standard poodles .Both with docked tails, Every case is different. I would have loved his tail to be docked,But should I put him through all that for looks? Probably not.


think about science here. the tail provides a counterweight. without it, the poodles must overcompensate with their hip muscles, which is what causes their hind legs to fail later in life.


Hi I have an 8 week old poodle puppy I bought but his tail isn't docked. Is it too late to have it done?

Sallie Tamblyn

I have had poodles my whole life, every one I have loved.I have just recently ...two weeks ago...bought my new little boy. He is the first one not to have a docked tail and for this I am so very happy. As a young girl I never thought or understood they removed my boys tails from them. I'm so very glad cadeau (my new poodle) was not inflicted with this unnecessary pain for our own vanity.


I find this discussion really interesting. I will be getting a standard poodle pup near the end of May/beginning of June. I can't wait!! One thing that I've been researching and looking into is whether it is better to leave a poodle's tail as it is, or whether to dock it. To be perfectly honest, I think both ways look really cool in their own way. I've noticed that a lot of European poodles have their tails longer. I think it looks really unique, and if it's left with a bit of fringe, it adds to the standard poodle's elegance.

If I do decide to leave it undocked, it sounds like I should let the breeder know well in advance since the docking is done so early. I still haven't decided, it might be easier to just have it docked since this breeder customarily has it done to all of her puppies.

I really enjoy this blog... I think I'll be reading the posts over later today. Check out my and Lola's blog as we prepare for our new poodle addition...



Have been reading over the questions and answers and now seem more confused than ever..I just got a 8week old toy poodle..the previous owner said that I wasn't to have her tail docked til 9-10weeks..that didn't sound right to me, I thought it had to be done within so many days from birth..we love her so and she is so cute now with her tail but I don't want it to be a problem for her later..nor do I want to inflict needless pain on her now that is unneccessary..Could somebody help me decide??


you are an idiot


You say tail-docking is "part of their Poodleness"...I think that is ridiculous. There is no reason to dock a Poodle's tail other than for looks. Why mutilate the animal for your own selfish vanity? I think the long tails are beautiful. They are natural. They are MEANT to be long, or they wouldn't be born with long tails! I only agree with docking in the case of dogs with whiplike, fragile tails that are easily broken (ex: Dobermans), or for hunting dogs (such as Field Spaniels) who are likely to be injured if the tail is kept long. Otherwise it's simply unnecessary. Whether it causes the dog pain or not, I do not care -- I would no sooner dock a Poodle's tail than I would chop off a human's pinky finger.

However, all that being said...I am interested in hearing arguments for docking that are actually substantial, rather than consisting of, "Oh, well, it looks nicer."


Thanks for your interest. Obviously no argument will ever convince you or me. So we should agree to disagree.


I am guessing all of the people who are concerned and do not want to dock their poodles tails....also do not agree with circumcision in a baby boy?
Better check their boys to make sure they didn't do that...


I have a 5 month toy maltipoo and was wondering whether his long tail is poodle or maltese. I assumed it was maltese, but after seeing the pictures on this site, I am convinced that my 3/4 poodle has a perfectly normal long tail. It is feathered and the hair wants to grow long on the tip but I keep trimming it off. I thought he looked goofy at first because I had only seen poodles with puffs for tails. The only reason I can see for cutting the poor boy's tail would be vanity. He loves to play with his tail and it is God-given! Thanks for the thread. I enjoyed hearing all the opinions.


I just adopted a mini poodle, who is about a year old, and who ever had him before, didn't have his tail docked. I will say at first it was kind of weird looking, but now, I've grown to love his tail, and I think it makes him look unique.

elizabeth Campbell

I have a pet rescue toy poodle and she has all of her tail just like God made her and i love her heaps and her tail is so cute and expressive. Who could think of chopping it off just so she can be a fashion statement. It's one thing when us silly humans get bits chopped off or added because we think God should have done a better job, but these poor animals are at our mercy and don't get to say NO!


Hi everyone!! I've a toy poodle (9 weeks old) his name is Coco. First I wanted to dock his tail(3 weeks ago) but now I love him so so much like he is plus I don't want to miss that crazy shaking tail when I get home..Love ya Coco Latte...xoxo


I adopted my poodle when she was 1 so its not like I had the option to get it docked, the shelter didn't dock it for some reason. I think she looks cute. And as long as I love her I don't care who doesn't.


I just started investigating bringing a poodle pup into my family. I had no idea this tail removal was such a big deal. I wouldn't think of condoning this. It is very hard to find a breeder in the US who does not cut off the tail. I think it's ridiculous to do this to a dog for aethetic reasons. I find it barbaric and cruel. To me the docked poodle tail looks deformed. It's even been difficult finding a picture of a poodle with an intact tail. I finally saw a beautiful white standard with an entact tail, and the dog was stunning.


Our family recently lost our mini. When we first took her to the vet a shot 8 years ago, my wife, the vet and I were discussing having her tail docked in the vet's office. Our yougest son chimed in saying, "But mom, her tail shows her emotions!" No dock.

We just added another mini to our home. No dock and she looks just fine, thank you.


Some poodles do get too long thin whip like tails that can be damaged. You wouldn't know which ones unless you saw the parents tails but most of those are docked as well so you'll never know. The breed has evolved by breeders with everything BUT the tail into consideration because it has traditionally been chopped off and it didn't matter. It is mostly done for tradtion but it started for a reason and a good one. Poodles were hunting dogs and a long thin whiplike tail was a hinderance. To start considering breeding poodles with tails in tact the breeder should start with parents with better tails and go from there. To just start saying docking should stop is not really a practical decision at this point but that's just my opinion. Having said this though, I do like the featherly look of the tail that is curled over the back even if it is not very practical. It's cute but I still dock my poodles.

Tammy E.

Ok, lemme get this straight. Docking a tail at 1,2 or 3 DAYS old (I work at an animal hospital and they cannot be older than 3 days) is "mean," but CUTTING OFF A DOG'S TESTICLES at 6 months old is NOT?

God help us. Circumcision too, jeez, the baby boys really scream. Yet we do it. And it's all cosmetic, there is not a grain of truth in the "cleanliness" theory.


Neutering a dog is done under anaesthesia. Neutering also has a regretful but important purpose - reducing the hordes of suffering, homeless animals. Chopping off a dog's other body parts serves no purpose. Yes, my dog is intact. And so is my son.


I just rescued a 9 month old Standard with tail intact. All this information was very helpful. We are fine with his tail, I just felt it it seems pretty thick and sturdy. He doesn't wag it furiously, in fact it curls and it looks like a flag and sometimes he holds it straight down on walks, when he is tracking something. I just discovered unfortunately that he has his front dewclaws, so I will have to be mindful of that. I think at 9 months and after being turned in to a high kill shelter by his owners, at his age docking would be really be putting him through something unnecessary, or perhaps painful. The groomer put him in a utility cut, he looks like black velvet, she shaved the base of his tail about 2" of it and brushed out the rest, he looks great and nobody mistakes him for anything but a poodle so far.
When people say, interesting tail, I just laugh and say, yeah he was a rescue, we love him.


Recently I got a labradoodle and have been wondering what part came from what parent.She has big webbed paws from her lab momma but the tail is very different. It is hard to find pictures of poodles with a tail to know. I understand some of the reasons to dock a tail (brambles and burrs for hunting dogs) but I would have no desire to do it. After having seen a lamb with a tail, I think it give the animal more charm. As for spay and neutering, that is a different story.


I suspect my dog a pitbull/shar pei mix, my wife (CNA) stabilized it with a good split and coban wrapping, my question is how long should I leave they splint on?


Hey I just had a question about poodles, I got my 6 week old poodle tail docked and it looks like shes in pain. She tends to freak out when she notices her tail, and begins to cry. I’ve seen her chase her “tail” is all this normal?


After much research I have realized that many dog breeds, my favorite is the Standard (Parti) Poodle, are made to suffer for peoples own vanity and fashion...!!! Why do we inflict pain and suffering on the animals that we say we love...? Would you do any of this to your own child...? Maybe, if you thought it would look better...!??? Hmmm...

Check out the web sites listed below and think on it after you FULLY INFORM YOURSELF on what these procedures do and how they can truly affect the health and lifestyle of your dog...!





To Jan...(Posted by Jan on October 06, 2005) who wrote the original thread here... I agree with another person on this site who said,

"you are an idiot"

Posted by: Heather | February 10, 2009 at 09:24 AM


I have had poodles my whole life and HATED the fruity pom pom cut ugh. I now have a rescue miniature with a uncut tail and he is GORGEOUS. Every time i go to the park people stop me to tell me how cute he is. he loves his tail holds it up proudly. They are supposed to have tails. http://i910.photobucket.com/albums/ac305/dmdeangelis/DMD/DMD-15.jpg


I can't believe I'm reading this...

"Neither look was attractive. It was sad. Somehow I think the dog knew."

You seriously think your dog was embarrassed because it has a tail... hello... it's a dog. dogs have tails.

Tail docking is mutilation and should not be done for cosmetic reasons.


Tail (and ear) docking on dogs is actually ILLEGAL in many countries...for a reason! It is cruel and unnecessary, and it's just ridiculous that humans inflict their views of what looks good or doesn't on dogs. Sure, maybe there was a reason for it in the past (i.e. not getting burs caught in the tail), but most people aren't taking their poodles out hunting with them today! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docking_%28dog%29#Legal_status_of_dog_tail_docking_by_country


We received our first poodle to our family 18 years ago as a gift to my 5 year old daughter. At that time I did not realize how beautiful a poodle's tail was undocked! I recently had to have my poodle of 18 years put to sleep after being blind, deaf, and having 2 strokes. My mother has a kennel and just happened to have a poodle exactly like my "Binky", he is now 6.5 weeks old and a beautiful addition to my family. His undocked tail curves over his lower back with the most grace and pride. I am just astonished at the difference in docking and not docked tail. They are beautiful!


Docking and cropping are both rather cruel. It is, when it comes down to it, mutilation. In older times, when poodles were working dogs, it was normal to dock the tail to prevent injury. It was not done just to make the dog "poodley". I'm a shelter girl, my two and three of my mom's four have all come from shelters (one dachshund mix, one chocolate toy poodle, one poodle/bichon mix, two poodle/??? mixes, and one apricot miniature poodle-the one from a breeder), and the poodles and poodle mixes all have their tails docked. But as they get older, it shows in their hips. They don't run as fast or as lithely as those who do have tails. Their hips give out earlier. My dox mix has a veeerrry long tail, and you can see him using it to counter his weight while he runs.

Also, have we thought about the affect on their circulation, cutting off all of the blood vessels and nerves? Have we thought about the psychological damage of doing it too late in their lives? Have we considered that there is a reason they have a long tail in the first place? Have we considered that there is a reason that so many other countries have banned animal mutilation? Nope. We'd rather have a dog that looks "poodley". It's sad to see so many people who project their own vanity and self-image onto their dogs. If I had a say, my little girl would still have a tail (sadly, she's a puppy mill rescue, so we had absolutely no say until a kind soul rescued her two years ago).

Dogs don't speak human, as much as they might try. They rely on their ears and tails to talk to each other, and when we take that away, we take away their ability to talk to other dogs. Simply put, there is absolutely no reason other than vanity to remove any part of a dog, dewclaws excluded as they can catch on things and get yanked out; incredibly painful!

It seems to me that the author is being very judgemental in saying that poodles with natural tails look stupid. A friend of mine was in the same train of thought until a holistic vet told her the effects of docking, and she felt awful. It's just outdated and cruel. Stop docking tails, and for God's sake, don't crop ears!


And by the way, Jan? YES, I have dogs, and this is one of the injustices I am fighting against. Puppy mills are my main fight, and I won't stop trashing them until the last mill is shut down forever. But docking and cropping is cruel, and so when I have a chance to educate my clients about it, I do. When it comes to animal welfare, NO, I don't have anything "better to do", and if you loved dogs, you wouldn't either.


This thread has been really interesting for me. I am generally against docking for cosmetic reasons, but I came across this b/c I own a mini poodle-mix rescued from a shelter. I had always assumed that his short tail came from whatever he was mixed with (probably schnauzer or terrier of some sort), because I had never noticed a short tail on a poodle due to the pom usually on the end. I honestly had no idea that poodle tails were docked!


I think chopping off a dogs tail simply for looks is cruel no matter what age they are and I'm disgusted that anyone in this day and age would condone such a practice ... we just adopted a miniature poodle from our local shelter and his long tail is a beautiful indication of his emotions and part of his unique personality!

Mrs Maria

Unfortunately, the AKC Poodle breed standard calls a tail "set low, carried over the back, or curled" a major fault in conformation. Conformation dogs are supposed to be "breeding stock," but many are loved pets as well. Over the past several years, it has become increasingly acceptable to show a Poodle with a tail that would otherwise be considered a major fault, especially due to recent legislation banning tail docking in certain places. The Poodle is one of my favorite breeds. As a groomer, it is pitiful to see unkmept dew claws in place. Most owners are fearful to cut toenails, and the dewclaws present an added challenge due to their odd shape. The Poodle is beautiful with or without tail, and he knows it, but if you want to show in conformation with a natural tail, you had better have deep pockets. It's simply too expensive and political to show a Poodle with a curly, low set, or "gay" tail. Often, these are "fixed" by hitting tendons to make the tail stick up - the preferred carriage. The dog should appear balanced, according to the breed standard. A long, straight up tail, does not give the balanced look. Tip of the tail should be about even with the top of the skull. If you feel guilty about docking, spend some extra time with the dog doing fun activities and making canine and human friends. Dogs do not rationalize human emotions whatsoever, but we pierce babies' ears and remove their penis foreskins, and yes, they scream bloody murder and can hold it against you in their teenage years (unlike dogs). :)


Every single one of you who compared docking tails to circumcision are disgusting. Circumcision was not in my sons case for 'vanity'. It was for health reasons. And before you start in with your ignorance about hygiene, don't start with me. Tail docking, in which you say in your article, is about vanity. Your own human vanity. A dog doesn't know it's tail is different.. its ridiculous that you said that btw. I have a cocker whose tail is docked and I don't really know why since they aren't really used for hunting any more. But it's cruel to do this to your animals for YOUR satisfaction. What I did for my son was for HIS own health and the good of his body. I can see by your article that isn't the case in tail docking.


personally I don't care if people want to doc the tail on their poodle. It's all personal preference and politics. My boy friends parents own two poodles. one is a male toy poodle named chico. He has his tail doced, it looks pretty nice. Then there is chica, the female teacup poodle mix. The breeder gave them false papers so we don't know what she is mixed with. anywho she doesnt have her tail doced and it is hideous. but so is everything about her. last week i was grooming her and i got to the tale and thought to myself "wtf".
she is and ugly dog anyways so i just shaved most of her tale and left 2 inches of hair.
anywho. personally I'm not into docing or snipping of any part of the animal except the sex organs.
I also hate poodles. not my thing.
I would rather own a dog that doesnt aspire to having things cut off.
but i do believe it looks nicer.


' Tail docking is something that should be done with Poodles so that they can live their lives looking like Poodles. '

Do you know how stupid you sound? How would u like it if your mum docked off the penis on your head?

Its right to dock their tail off just to make them look like the breed standard, invented by humans?

Pool Tables

Wait, so they're not poodles until they've been surgically altered? What are they before they get the tail clipped? Or do they just have to fit into the poodle glamorized by hollywood?

giulianna matlock

i have a 8 months old mini poodle and he is getting his tail docked in a week the vet told me it calls an amputation, i didn't like the meaning of the word but people docked tails even when dogs are 1 or more years old for different reasons,i bet some of the people that posted some negative comments have plastic surgery or boob jobs or something like that.

Poodle lover

We have a miniture poodle and love him just the way he is. He is our pet and we wouldn't dream of chopping him up in anyway. I am sure many of you could have done with some changes at birth but your parents loved you for who you are and would never have dream't of changing you either.

These are supposed to be animals you love but sometimes I wonder if they are just for show and how many of these pets / show dogs are loved as they should be. For who they are not what you want them to be!!!

Some of you people shouldn't be allowed dogs and really do need help if the only reason to start cutting parts of your dog off is to make them look good just for yourself or stupid rules they set at shows.

Jack Anderson

I have 4 poodles(mother,father and 2 sons)It is certainly a personal choice as to wheather you doc,neuter,or remove dew claws.
I,personally, practice the "golden dog rule"
which is "do unto your dog as if the situation were reversed" meaning if you were the dog and the dog were you.
I use my poodles to pull or cart.If you ever saw a dog really pulling hard in an outdoor terrain,their dew claws act as improved traction. It is not an incidental feature. Poodles were used purposely long before they were used as show. Nothing makes mine more happy than to work.When they are happy,I am happy.Because of its "work" history,nothing about a poodles
mind or body is incidental.Because of their varied uses,some favor or are better suited for things that others are not.My male could live in the water,but my female doesnt favor the water.their teeth are evolved differently obviously from different diets.
The working background of poodles cause them to enjoy being groomed because grooming is functional.People enjoy this grooming process and sometimes take it to extensive limits. This is fine as long as it doesnt negatively affect the dog and it gives the owners immence enjoyment.
Poodles are so versital and can enrich a persons life and I dont judge how the best way to accomplish this is,however, we ought to understand the full debth and potential of the breed.
I hope everyone enjoys their poodles as much as we do. Jack Anderson


You know this is something that I seem to be having trouble with. My first response is that docking the tail is rediculas, and cruel. However, I don't think it is bad to declaw a cat. This has really made me think.

brenda perez

I have a poodle that's 9 months can I still dock her tail? I like it better short my other little poodle has his short and I just love how he looks with his little puff ball when his groomed plz can somebody tell me!


Docking a tail when the dog is older than a few days is surgery requiring anesthetic instead of a simple snip, I would advise against having it done at that age.

brenda perez

Hello I know this is out of the conversation but can a miniature male poodle and a toy female poodle breed?

Elyse McMeechan

After my 15 year old dalmatian passed away earlier this year I purchased an adorable miniature poodle. He was 4 months old when I got him (complete with tail) and although he is a purebred, he is not registered and I have no intention of using him for breeding purposes. He is merely my very sweet and intelligent companion. Although I can see the purpose of tail docking and removing dewclaws for breeders and show-dog owners, I think it causes unneeded harm to the animal, not to mention a slightly cowed stance of the hind legs which looks altogether unattractive. Maybe I'm slightly biased since my dog has a tail but I have to admit my dog's ridiculous alaskan malamute-esque curled tail just adds to his cute, silly, puppy dog charm.


lets snip off you pinky and hear you primal scream and see how you like it. Those poor babies only 3 days old and already see how cruel the world is for the sake of beauty :(

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