Home / Health and Care / Yorkie Tails – Docking – All About Yorkshire terrier Tails

Yorkie Tails – Docking – All About Yorkshire terrier Tails

Yorkie tails - picture

The subject of the Yorkie tail and especially the docking of the Yorkshire Terrier is pretty much controversial.

According to the AKC standard in the United States, the tail of the Yorkie should be docked to medium length.

But the procedure of docking the tail of a dog is banned in many countries all around the world.

Yorkie Tail Docking

Yorkie tail docking - pictureThis particular practice – of docking the dogs’ tails – dates from the Roman Empire, at least. The main reason for docking the tails of the working dogs was preventing injuries.

The Yorkshire Terrier as a breed developed in the UK in the middle of the 19th century and then this breed was a working one.

It was used for hunting rats in the mines or foxes, badgers and other animals which live in burrows or dens in the woodlands.

The tail of every working dog was docked and this was done not only to prevent any injuries to it, but also to simplify the lives – if the tail is shorter and stouter, then the dog can be easily grabbed and pulled out of the burrow.

At first, the Yorkies were working dogs but soon their small frames and beautiful coats were noticed and they became desired pets and awesome household dogs.

Even though it is not necessary to dock the tail of a Yorkie that is not a working dog, this practice continued in order for the appearance of this breed to be kept.

Where the Yorkie tails are docked and where they are not?

The most respected club of dog breeders in America is AKC (American Kennel Club) and it is also the largest one.

The conformation of the Yorkies as a breed to have a tail that is docked to medium length is listed there. So, you should do the docking if you want to show your dog.

The docking of the tail of a Yorkie is called for by the UKC, CKC, ANKC and NZKC as well.

The major part of the breeders will dock the Yorkie’s tail when it is quite young puppy – at an age of a few days – for this is of its best interest.

But some of the breeders which do not sell Yorkies as show prospects may not dock the pet’s tails. Nonetheless, most of the America’s breeders will have their dog’s tails docked.

The WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) is an opponent of the tail docking together with the ECPPA (European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals) and they’ve done their best to pass laws that ban the docking.

Many countries around the globe have banned the practice since 2007.

Some of the countries where the docking of a Yorkshire Terrier’s tail is legal are:

Parts of Canada (but the practice is banned in some provinces: Newfoundland, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Labrador, Nova Scotia, while Québec will ban the practice in 2017)
Czech Republic (but there is a ban on the ear cropping)
Costa Rica
England (while the Yorkshire Terrier’s tail can be docked, many other breeds cannot)
France (with the ear cropping being banned)
South Africa
United States (With Pennsylvania and Maryland having banned the docking of tails)

The countries in which the docking of Yorkshire Terrier is illegal include:

Denmark (but 5 specific gun breeds can)
Germany (but the ban has exception for guns dogs which are working)
South Africa
New Zealand

Why to keep the Yorkshire terrier tail natural or why to dock it?

The tail docking of Yorkies in not based on any health or happiness reasons. If the dog has a docked tail this does not add any benefit to the dog’s motor skills, movement or health state.

Why the Yorkies’ tails are being docked?

Yorkie tail docked - photoThere is just one reason – to fit the AKC’s breed standard and that of other dog clubs which want the dogs to have docked tails. The docking is applied only for the purposes of aesthetics and nothing more.

You have no reason to dock the tail of your Yorkie if you are not planning to show the pet on dog shows, unless you prefer the dog to match as close as possible the breed standard conformation.

The pet’s tail must be docked if you want the dog to compete of shows of ANKC, NZKC, AKC, CKC or UKC Conformation Event.

You do not have any reason to do the docking if you do not want the pet to compete in the ANCK, NZKC, AKC, CKC or UKC Conformation Event, unless you want that for the purpose of aesthetics.

But many of the Yorkie owners have obtained their puppy after the docking had been done to it.

Many potential Yorkie owners have had no chance to decide this for themselves, since many puppies for sale have already gone through the procedure.

You’d better make deposit on a puppy of expected litter and leave explicit instructions not to dock the pet’s tail, if you do not want to have a pet with erect and shorter tail.

This is not something unusual. Many Yorkies have natural tails with a ratio of 60/40. This poll shows that almost half of the purebred Yorkshire Terrier owners have chosen to have a dog which tail is natural.

If you have a Yorkie but you live in a country where the docking is banned, our advice is to not have the pet’s tail docked since it will have to be done in a non-sterile and less than perfect environment.

The Procedure of Tail Docking

Docking – this is a procedure for making the newborn Yorkie’s tail shorter (for it usually have a long tail) via amputation, done in some countries.

This isn’t a choice that should be made lightly. Discomfort is caused by any procedure that is like this one. The docking makes the tail of the dog to be erect and straight.

The Yorkie’s tail is being cut half the normal length. This leads to a tail with medium size which will be permanently vertical.

There are two ways to do that.

The first way is to constrict the blood supply to the tail of the Yorkie. This is done for several days via a rubber ligature. If the procedure is done as it should be, the top of the pet’s tail shall fall off.

That first method is used on puppies which are 24 to 96 hours old with the tail falling off in 3 days.

The second way is the dog to be cut by the veterinarian with scalpel or surgical scissors. Usually, this procedure, if this method is used, is done on pets at age of 2-5 days without any anesthesia for it is quite risky at this age.

If the procedure is done as it should, then the discomfort will last briefly for the puppies haven’t developed a regular nervous system.

That is why the docking is done so early for if the breeder, or owner, waits longer, then a major surgery will be needed and this will cause the Yorkie quite a pain.

What to do if your pet hasn’t been docked at early age?

Well, you should wait for the puppy to grow up more than 10 weeks. That is because, since the older dogs will feel much more pain than the newborns, so they should be under anesthesia.

And, provided that the danger of putting a young puppy under anesthesia is very high, the docking will be performed when the dog is older.

There are some adult dogs which are un-docked but might need, in some occasions, to have this procedure done. This is only if a severe tail trauma occurs.

That might happen due to some king of injury (an accidentally closed on the pet’s tail door and other cases).

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