By Steve Peacocke
"...The SPCA have launched a media campaign with such emotive headlines as: "Every day helpless puppies lose their tails in the name of fashion."-"Some puppies tails are hacked off with a kitchen knife."-"Others are painfully docked with a tightly wound rubber band". The SPCA have certainly gained public support to outlaw this practice and even the veterinary profession has been vocal on banning tail docking except where a vet may decide that it is in the dog's interest to dock. So why don't we ban tail docking if it's such a barbaric practice? The answer is plain and simple, it is detrimental to the health and welfare of some breeds of dogs not to dock their tails - i.e. it is cruel not to dock. Let's examine the reasons behind why docking is done today. Let's examine each argument that I have heard to date…
Reason #1 Docking puppies is cruel and painful.
The tail bone of a pup at less than 3 days old is still soft and the nervous system undeveloped. Consider that a young lamb or calf is so developed at birth that they can stand and walk besides their mothers within minutes of being born; a human, although not able to stand for many months, is still fully formed at birth; a pup though is essentially still developing after birth, the eyes, for example, do not open for many days. The pup is still developing hearing, sight, and the nervous system for many days after birth. As a hunter and scavenger, the dog has developed the ability to carry pups for only 63 days before giving birth to allow to mother to venture from the den to obtain food. The pups are still forming after birth, docking at this age causes only a momentary discomfort that is almost instantly forgotten.
Reason #2: There is no reason to dock dogs’ tails.
The Hungarian Vizsla is a hunter, pointer and retriever with 1 third docked from the tail. Although the remainder of the tail is strong, the third docked is thin and whip-like and is open to damage in the field. The Vizsla holds it's tail horizontal to the ground and wags it forcefully while charging through rough scrub and undergrowth. The unprotected tip is docked to keep it from splitting and bleeding. Once damaged, the tail is extremely difficult to heal, sometimes requiring amputation later in life when the dog must be placed under general anaesthetic causing undue stress and pain.
Rest of article and arguments for tail docking at:
Posts from Vizsla Forum:
"I was told by the breeder and then confirmed by my vet, the reason that they are docked is because their tails are brittle at the end. The breeder said once it takes a good hit on the tail it will crack and split. This being said while hunting if the tail hits a tree or any hard object the tail splits. Docking the tail of a Vizsla will prevent the dog going through any excruciating pain. Hope this is helpful. " -willbill59
"I read up a lot on this, and what I found is that the docking for Viszlas and Weimarinars are due to the tails being injured while hunting or just playing around. My WH-Viszla's tail is broken right at the spot where it should have been docked. The tail is so thin that a good whack against a corner of a door jam can cause dislocation and breakage. It doesn't bother him, but he has a very distinctive Check-mark shaped tail. Also, one day I left for a few minutes to run to the store and when I returned there was blood from one end of the house to the other where he clipped the end of his tail and started bleeding profusely. Anyway, there where dark brown spots on every wall at about the 26-30 inch mark which required every room to be repainted. This wound would regularly open up and bleed a lot, for about 3 weeks. I recommend docking if possible." - East0532
"My Vizsla also has a full tail. I got her in Canada, but the breeder used to live in the UK and still abides by their standard of not docking the tails.
The end of her tail unfortunately got jammed in a door 4 weeks ago and we are still trying to get it to heal. The accident caused a u-shaped cut that had to be stitched. The vet had to tape a hard plastic tube over the end of her tail to prevent her from whacking it on stuff and re-opening the wound. Tail wounds are particularly hard to heal as it is impossible to get a dog to stop wagging their tail. East0352...I can sympathize....an injured wagging dog tail does indeed send blood flying everywhere. What a mess!
The vet suggested they may have to remove the last 1.5 inches of her tail if this wound will not heal. I'm hoping that it will not come to that as the healing process for that would also be lengthy. I guess I am still on the fence about tail docking...but at this point if she had just come with a docked tail it would have saved me about $600 in vet bills due to this injury." - ms1234
"Interesting. Keep your sources as the fight here in the USA is well underway. I have spoken to a breeder, Westminster entry last year, who said in 10yrs it will be widely accepted (if not law) for dogs to show with no tail docking. One of the reasons the practice started with Vs is for benefits in the field, certainly injury. We can all debate the benefits of tail docking in non working/sporting dogs, but the good intentions of animal rights (just like "free" insurance for all) can have serious unintended consequences."- kellygr