Tail Docking - Yes or No?

Should I Have My Cocker Spaniel's Tail Docked?

Should I Have My Cocker Spaniel's Tail Docked?

On the 2nd of February 2014, I was given a 5 week old golden brown cocker spaniel whose tail wasn't clipped yet. Is there a health risk if kept long? I will be speaking with my vet in a few days when he goes for his first wellness comprehensive visit, but I would like to be well versed on this topic.

So in essence, is it best short or long?

Reply from Pauline (Web Owner)

Hi there!

There is certainly no health risk to your dog by leaving his tail as it is - so please don't worry about that.

I'm not sure where you live, but in many places this is now illegal.

Tail docking used to be very popular and it was fairly normal for the breeder to have their puppy's little tails removed within the first week of birth.

The reason for this was mainly tradition and it created the standard cocker 'look'.

However, where the cocker spaniel was used in the field (hunting, shooting, etc) and rummaging amongst the undergrowth, the tail would often get snagged and badly damaged and it was very necessary to have it removed.

It is for this reason that working cocker spaniels often have their tails docked and it's my understanding that vets still have the discretion to remove tails where the dogs are working.

There are many cocker spaniels with full tails and personally, I love the look, although I wasn't sure at first!

My dog has a docked tail but that's because the breeder automatically had it removed when he was one week old - as I said it used to be tradition up until 2007 - but I love him as he is!

Hope this helps.

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by: Pauline

You can read more about tail docking here:
https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/our-resources/media-centre/issue-statements/tail-docking/

and here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docking_(dog)

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These are not show Dogs
by: Rob

I understand how everyone feels about this. However I actually hunt with my field bred english cocker spaniels. These dogs hunt in dense brush and fields for upland game birds for food.

I have been hunting with these dogs for over 40 years and their tails need to be docked to accomplish what they've been bred for. I have seen dogs that have not had their tails docked and it isn't pretty. The great outdoors beat the living crap out of these dogs...especially their tails.

I believe that showing Sporting dogs that have been engineered for better coats and away from their original purpose as a working dog is wrong.

If you want a companion dog than please don't acquire a sporting dog...there many other breeds to choose from...

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Their tails are crazy
by: Dan

We've just been forced to have our 2 year old cocker's tail docked because of repeated injuries and the consequential risk of infection and necrosis. His tail was beautiful, but absolutely crazy. He'd wag it so hard that it would hit walls, table legs and other objects with incredible force. He had a bald spot on the tip from about 6 months old as a result, but it never seemed to worry him, and the bet was happy to leave it. However, in the past couple of months we started to notice trails of blood appear around the house, which we quickly noticed was coming from a small split right on the bald part of his tail.

The vet cleaned and dressed it, and eventually after repeated checking and redressing, it seemed to have healed. Within 2 days of taking the dressing off, it had split again. We repeated this process four times before our vet said we had to consider docking, as she was worried about infection and necrosis setting in. We had him docked last week.

Their tails are beautiful, and we hadn't even considered docking until this situation arose, but ended up having to go down that route for medical reasons. The tip of the tail, when they are excited, is like a whip, and the crack it makes when it clumps a wall or an piece of furniture is sickening.

I'm pleased to say the op went well, and he's recovering well. His balance is a bit off, but we are told it will come back as he readjusts. I just wanted to make the point though that docking can sometimes be necessary with this breed due to the tremendous energy in their tails, and the resulting injuries that can occur.

In this case, as with all decisions regarding our dogs, we were guided by an experienced and trusted vet. Aesthetically, we loved the tail, but the dog's health and wellbeing had to come first.

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Tail docking-Yes or No?
by: Bobbie

I have owned two beautiful cocker spaniels; the first one was ten years old when I adopted him with a full beautiful tail. The second was sixteen months old when I adopted her with tail already docked. I think that it is barbaric to dock a cocker spaniel's tail. I loved both my dogs equally. I have read the argument for the working cocker spaniels injuring their tail while hunting but it still seems cruel to intervene with nature. If I ever "buy" a cocker spaniel as opposed to adopt I will request that their tails not be docked.

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Cavaliers don't have docked tails
by: Sandy

Why dock a Cocker when the Cavalier King Charles does not have a docked tail? After all, they're both spaniels.

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Don't cut cocker tails
by: Anonymous

The tails are beautiful. They communicate with their tails - it's like removing their tongues.

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undocked
by: Kathryn

I too am looking for a breeder that doesn't dock tails. Anyone know of any?

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In Europe didn't see docked Cockers
by: Romona

I have a cocker spaniel she was docked by breeder, I will not dock her puppies should she have any, I saw no cocker spaniels docked when I was in Europe and they have a lovely tail, I was stunned and then wondered, why in USA do we do it?
I am considering puppies, I will not do it to them. I see no reason to do it, they are home, family dogs in modern world not hunting dogs of old. I heard in some places in Europe it is not legal to do it and not necessary.

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Looking For An English Cocker Spaniel With Natural Tail
by: Anonymous

We have been searching for a show type English Cocker spaniel with a natural tail, anywhere in USA!? Anyone know of a breeder? Thanks

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Leave Their Tails Long
by: Jenny

We adopted our undocked English Cocker Spaniel when he was 2-3 years old. He'd been abandoned, so we had no history on him. We love his long tail and think every non-working cocker should have its tail left intact. I can't imagine Ritz Carlton without his beautiful tail.

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Breeders wanted
by: Anonymous

I'm specifically looking for a working cocker spaniel, brown, WITH tail undocked. I've yet to find a breeder which won't dock the tail but surprised as so many on this forum are against it.

If anybody knows of any breeders who may be able to help please could you reply and we can swap details

Many thanks

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Tail docking
by: Anonymous

When I bought my lovely blue roan English cocker girl, I was so pleased with her beautiful un-docked tail.

Rosie has been my companion for 5 years now and to my horror fractured her tail twice!

My older girl is docked, no problems.

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Tail Docking
by: Pauline

Tail docking is now illegal in the UK, however vets are allowed to use their discretion.

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HRH Prince George's English Cocker Spaniel
by: Anonymous

Today looking at the July '16 photos of the little prince's black dog Lupo, I wondered if the dog's tail had been docked and if this custom is still practiced in England. I couldn't find out. A darling dog and an adorable 3 year Prince, they make a charming ccuple and no doubt the breed will once again become very fashionable here and abroad. The prince loves his spaniel!

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Don't Dock Cocker Tails
by: Anonymous

We chose not to have his tail docked ...and now it's a beautiful plume. He uses his tail very impressively and we are thankful we did not take it from him.

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Docking tails
by: Anonymous

Why on earth do we still tolerate this abhorrent act? Superficial, ignorant people is I guess the answer. I would like to send these idiots to jail.

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Tail
by: Sam's Mom

We adopted our Cocker Spaniel Sam from a rescue organization when he was 2 years old. I love that he has his tail. It makes him unique.

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Tail docking
by: Anonymous

All dogs use their tails to communicate - with us & with other dogs. Why would anyone want to cut a pet cocker's tail off?

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Is Tail Docking Necessary?
by: Pauline (Web Owner)

Hello Jenny,

I agree, there's no justification nowadays for having your Cocker Spaniel's tail docked, and I believe lots of people are coming round to that view now, thankfully.

And yes, we'd love to see some pictures of your spaniels!

Thank you for posting.

Kind regards,
Pauline

PS: I guess the only justification for tail docking is following serious accidental damage, or where the working dog's tail is frequently damaged whilst working.

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Re: Docking
by: Anonymous

Hi, please don't dock your spaniel's tail, they look beautiful with their tails, and it's cruel.

In South Africa it is against the law to dock dogs' tails.

Regards, Jenny

NB I could email you a picture of my spaniels with their tails.

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