A Dogs life...

I would REALLY like to know if a tail on a dog…or cat for that matter, serves a purpose. And if so why is it we can “crop” the tails on some breeds (such as Rottweilers etc.) and not on others? AND…what purpose does “cropping” serve??

Can’t speak for dogs, but on a cat it helps mantain balance while it’s walking on the railing or perched in your bedroom window. I’m sure it can get by without it, but it does help out. Also, in many animals the tail is used as a visual clue to its emotional status. In social animals such as dogs, this would be very helpful. Both canines and felines have a pretty standard ‘tail language’ where you can get a good idea if the animals is happy, nervous, hostile, etc. Cropping a dog’s tail probably doesn’t do much one way or the other, but speaking in natural terms it does serve a purpose.


“I guess it is possible for one person to make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn’t.”

So what I’m getting from that Jophiel, is that we “crop” for the looks??? Kinda sick really…
Tigs

Hey… I just wrote the above… don’t rush me :wink:

Short answer, yes… long answer, no. Today it’s mainly done because that’s how we always do it for those breeds. Way back in the day, it served some slightly better purpose, such as cropping the tail of a fighting dog so there was less for another animal to grab on to. I think the same would apply with smaller breeds that have their tails cropped and ears bent. Many of them were originally used for catching rats and rabbits and other hole dwelling mammals and so the best ears helped protect them and the lack of a tail kept a large rat from chewing on it from behind.


“I guess it is possible for one person to make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn’t.”

>>Can’t speak for dogs, but on a cat it helps mantain balance while it’s walking on the railing or perched in your bedroom window.<<

Here’s how my vet explained it:
Dogs’ tails are for balance-- or more properly, wolves’ tails are.

Some breeds of dogs that have been bred for fighting, or anything that requires strength (Pit Bulls, Boxers, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers [miniature Pit Bulls], Rottweilers) have been bred to have butts that are lower than their shoulders–low center of gravity-- and very muscular. They also have wider shoulders than other breeds, and because of these features, don’t need their tails for balance as much as more wolf-like breeds, such as German Shepherds.

Naturally tailless cats also have skeletons that are very different from “regular” domestic cats-- they have very long rear legs (longer than the front legs), and shorter backs. Bigger leg muscles, too.

That’s how my vet explained it.

My dog is half German SHepherd and half Pit Bull. Her tail is curly. It’s cute, but kind of silly. It doesn’t look “sharp.” Also, her ears are usually at half mast. Strangers keep suggesting that I get her cropped and docked. I just walk away.



–Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

Well that makes sense…HOWEVER still doing it to domesticated animals?? I’m not to keen on that I guess. I thought that cropping had a medical or physical advantage to the animal and didn’t realize that…well that it’s kind of barbaric for a domesticated pet…

It IS barbaric. Ages ago, when I worked for a vet, I used to have to help do this. Even newborn puppies scream and cry when you cut off their tails. They bleed, too. It was horrible! Torturing baby animals for vanity- pretty sick.

I understand that England has outlawed the practice. Even show dogs are forbidden to have docked tails/ears. Is this true?

Wouldn’t know about England’s laws but there’s no way I’d crop my BT’s ears. She’s much more expressive with 'em au naturel.
The store where I bought her (and where I worked at the time) had another male BT puppy come in a little later, and his tail hadn’t been docked. For the unenlightened, BTs have a corkscrew-shaped tail - so this little fella had a four- or six-inch corkscrew sticking out of his butt.
He may have looked weird as hell, but if I’d bought him I wouldn’t have touched it at all. I don’t think docking tails, or even ears, serves much of a purpose nowadays since most dogs aren’t bred to fight or hunt vermin.


Cave Diem! Carpe Canem!

Out of all the vets I have worked for, only one would do ear croppings. Most will still do tail docks, and this is the same time that dewclaws get cut off too. Tails and nails are done when the puppy is only a few days old, and done without anesthesia. The puppies scream for about 2 minutes. It is heartbreaking to listen to but they get over it pretty fast. Ears are done when the puppy is much older and able to be put under anesthesia. It can be painful to them for a long time afterwards. Also, if one is interested in getting their dog’s ears cropped, I would be very careful about choosing a vet. I have seen some really bad ear croppings in my time. (I have even seen some do it yourself jobs, but I won’t get into that). Dewclaw removal is a good idea, because they have a tendancy to get ripped off later on in the dog’s life anyway. There is no real reason for tails and ears. Just the other day we had someone call my clinic to see if we would remove her cat’s tail. The cat only had half a tail for some reason, and she didn’t like the way it looked, so she wanted the rest taken off. My doctor said the lady would have to bring the cat in for a physical. If there was a good medical reason (like tail paralysis or infection), he would take off the rest of the tail. If not, he wouldn’t do it. I am sure thre are a lot less ethical vets out there who would do it just for the money.

In doing some research before I got a Boxer (don’t have him now :frowning: ), I found out that after a Boxer’s ears are cropped, if they don’t ‘stand’ right, they won’t be shown because the judges will discount them for it. But, the ears are only cropped so they can be shown. Really taking a chance, if you ask me. I prefer uncropped, undocked. Also for cats, no declawing. Just me, though.

I have two boxers, both with uncropped ears. I really prefer that look, and I think cropping for vanity purposes is cruel.

I’ve never seen a boxer with an uncut tail. Mine were done before I got them, as were their dew claws (I thought there was a health reason for the dew claws.)

I have heard one other explanation for tail docking of big dogs (like boxers), especially ones that live inside. Big dogs have big tails, which they wag. This is sort of like wagging a two foot long club around, with the resultant damage to your home, furniture, children, etc. Just a theory.

Of course, some big dogs retain full tails (e.g. golden retrievers), so that’s a flaw in my theory. I will say that my two dogs are big enough lummoxes without having dangerous flailing instruments attached to them.

Also, I would like to go on record here – BOXERS ARE THE GREATEST DOGS IN THE UNIVERSE! That being said, thank your you attention.


President of the Vernon Dent fan club.

I have two boxers, both with uncropped ears. I really prefer that look, and I think cropping for vanity purposes is cruel.

I’ve never seen a boxer with an uncut tail. Mine were done before I got them, as were their dew claws (I thought there was a health reason for the dew claws.)

I have heard one other explanation for tail docking of big dogs (like boxers), especially ones that live inside. Big dogs have big tails, which they wag. This is sort of like wagging a two foot long club around, with the resultant damage to your home, furniture, children, etc. Just a theory.

Of course, some big dogs retain full tails (e.g. golden retrievers), so that’s a flaw in my theory. I will say that my two dogs are big enough lummoxes without having dangerous flailing instruments attached to them.

Also, I would like to go on record here – BOXERS ARE THE GREATEST DOGS IN THE UNIVERSE! That being said, thank you for your attention. Have a nice life.


President of the Vernon Dent fan club.

Old english sheep dogs are supposedly cropped for the same reason that sheep are; to keep their tails from getting hung up in thickets and barbed wire. This is what my present wife told me when I asked about her old english. I still can’t get her to explain to me why this has to be done to house pets, and after attending a herding demonstation using border collies (with tails) her original explaination doesn’t carry much weight with me.

I think the reasons for docking are pretty much aestitic; people just want their pets to look like the classic representations of the breed. The arguements for and against are quite similar to those used in the debate about human male circumcision.

Well I would like to thank all of you…I just adopted a pup he is half rottweiler…I wasnt real sure about the cropping because this is the first breed I’ve had that it’s ever been an issue. I now know that his screwy little “L” shaped tail…LOL WILL STAY on him in it’s FULL wagging glory!
Tigs

Frank made a good point about tail docking to prevent the dog from tearing up your house. At the animal hospital where I worked, a guy brought in a full grown dog to have its tail removed specifically because the dog kept knocking things off the coffee table with it. The surgery required general anethesia, and it was absolutely the most bloody and gruesome thing I had witnessed up to that point. If docking puppies’ tails is cruel, this was an abomination. I’m sure that poor animal realized his tail was gone and suffered for it, whereas a puppy wouldn’t know any better. I think if you don’t want your ceramic figurines to get knocked off the table, either put them on shelf or get a dog that doesn’t come with such a big tail.

Holly, I can’t believe you vet would do such a procedure! Did he give a reason? If that guy came into any of the hospitals I worked for, and wanted his dog’s tail cut off for such a ridiculous reason, we would have sent him packing.

I wasn’t really in a position to question it, and nobody bothered to explain it to me.

When I wrote my above re: whether it would affect a dog’s balance to lose its tail, I never meant to imply that I supported the practice. I don’t. The American Veterinary Association doesn’t either, but individual vets still do these procedures-- I read in a Dog Magazine article-- because they prefer this to having people doing it themselves, which is what happens when vets all refuse.

The guy who had his dogs tail amputated is sick-- the vet however, probably agreed to do it, because the dog might end up at the shelter euthanized otherwise. My vet has declwed full-grown cats for this reason.

When I got my dog, she was a five week old puppy, and I knew little about dogs, so I bought several books. All of them were against cropping and docking. One reprinted a passage from no less than Socrates, claiming that removing a dog’s tail prevents worms. So this may be the origin of the practice. However, it’s still done today for lots of reasons, looks among them. I do know one woman who had her Doberman’s ears done, and was convinced that the dog would suffer from repeated ear infections if she didn’t.

This is becoming eerily reminiscent of the Circumcision thread.


–Rowan
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

I don’t think that anyone thought you supported docking, Rowan. As for a vet doing docking and cropping because they are afraid people will do it themselves, well, home jobs still happen all the time no matter what. I have seen home NEUTERINGS, for cryin’ out loud. Most people who do things like this themselves do it because they have a screw loose, and probably aren’t interested in seeking out a vet in the first place.