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Do you know that every cosmetic tail-docking procedure is done without anesthesia? Not only that, but it is done by a “bonding procedure” in which you tightly wrap a ligature of some sort around a newborn puppy’s tail, and let nature do its course.

Goldendoodle tail docking is done purely for cosmetic purposes, or in other words – fashion. What’s fashion? Do Goldendoodles realize they look pretty without their long (natural) tail? Why do people think Goldendoodles don’t look pretty without their tail docked?

Who makes up these rules when it comes to non-working dogs or new dog breeds, the so-called hybrid dogs? And, why does the American Kennel Club (AKC) ban undocked Poodles from conformation dog shows? 

To see the whole picture, and decide where you stand on this matter, you have to see the other side as well. Breeders and a lot of AKC members will tell you that docking is painless, and that it  serves a purpose, but let’s talk about the other side of the coin.

Goldendoodle Tail Docking

white Goldendoodle sitting on sofawhite Goldendoodle sitting on sofa

The Goldendoodle is a designer dog (hybrid dog), meaning it was bred by crossbreeding two purebred dogs – a Golden Retriever, and a Poodle. People made this brilliant breeding program in order to make a dog that has the best from both dog breeds.

And, guess what? Both purebred Poodles and Golden Retrievers have a naturally long tail. Imagine a happy Golden Retriever without his overly-excited tail wagging. Seems odd…

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We know by his tail position that he is happy, sad, alert, anxious, etc. It is a normal form of dog body language that we learned to understand over time. 

So, why do they dock the tail of purebred Poodles and their adorable Poodle mix – Goldendoodles? Here’s what the pro-docking group of people have to say about it…

Why They Dock The Tail

dog with tucked tail standing by pooldog with tucked tail standing by pool
Photo from: @mightymilomoments

If you ask AKC conformation show judges, most breeders, and Goldendoodle tail docking enthusiasts, they will tell you a couple of reasons why they think docking is a good thing. This opinion is still prevalent in the world, especially in the States.

Some countries already ban such procedures unless they are required for medical/health reasons. 

But, first – why do they think Goldendoodle tail docking is OK?

1. Injury Prevention

People used (and still do) to dock the tail of their working dogs to prevent injuries. This is commonly done on herding dogs and hunting dogs, such as Australian Shepherd dogs and  Pointers.

The Poodle and the Golden Retriever are also working dogs (or they used to be), and their mixed puppy is treated the same.

This procedure is also done on some guard dogs, and the reason behind this is the fact that other animals (or people, I guess…) can easily hurt their tail because it is the most prominent part of the dog’s body.

2. A Matter Of Hygiene

Goldendoodle sitting in parkGoldendoodle sitting in park

The second reason is hygiene. People state that it is important to do the Goldendoodle tail docking to prevent the hair around the base of the tail from getting dirty after they defecate. Goldendoodles do have a double coat, and it can either be wavy, curly, or straight.

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Such fur is harder to keep clean, and dogs can’t do it on their own. Also, feces matted with hair can lead to infections if not properly and regularly cleaned. 

3. Happy Tail Syndrome Prevention

The tail-docking procedure can be done (and should be done) on all dog breeds, no matter if they are working dogs or not, if they have a “too active tail” or happy tail syndrome.

The name doesn’t sound too serious. It simply means that a dog wags its tail too much, and ends up hurting it by hitting the tail on objects around him.

4. Breed Standards

And, the last one is to stick to the breed standards. We already mentioned the AKC’s rule for Poodles. However, there are other dog breeds that have to meet these standards in order to compete in the shows, such as the Doberman Pinscher, and the Miniature Schnauzer.

To sum up the point of standardization: the tail and its length and carriage are not important for the breed, so we dock it. It has been done for decades, and we take pride in keeping the breed standards the same for all these years.

Why Tail Docking Is Wrong

Goldendoodle looking backGoldendoodle looking back

Now, we are going to see the other side of the Goldendoodle tail docking procedure. For every reason they say tail-docking is alright, we have a perfectly reasonable answer why it is not okay.

1. Injury Prevention – Not Proven

At first, it does make sense that a working dog would need its tail docked in order to prevent injuries. However, what is a Goldendoodle? It is not a working dog. 

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And, even if you do train it to be – after all… it has Poodle and Golden Retriever genes, it still doesn’t need its tail docked.

According to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), “In the largest study to date on tail injuries in dogs, the incidence was 0.23%, and it was calculated that approximately 500 dogs need to be docked to prevent one tail injury.”

They oppose the tail-docking procedure.

Also, if you think Goldendoodle tail docking is alright if you train it to be a working dog, then why not dock the tail of a German Shepherd, Irish Wolfhound, Otterhound, and many other working dog breeds?

2. Hygiene

Golden Retriever sitting outsideGolden Retriever sitting outside

Let’s mention some of the most famous big fluffy dog breeds that have equally as dense of fur as the Goldendoodle:

  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Tibetan Mastiff
  • Newfoundland
  • Golden Retriever

Yes, a Golden Retriever is also a fluffy, double-coated dog breed that doesn’t need its tail docked in order to maintain its hygiene. 

This reason seems to be made by lazy dog owners who want a beautiful dog with fluffy fur, but without the grooming hassle.

3. Happy Tail Syndrome

This is a valid condition that can happen in any dog breed if they are, by nature, more excitable. However, is it necessary to cut a part of your dog’s body just to prevent it?

My friend has a Golden Retriever, and he swipes everything off the table when he is excited with his tail. 

Did they dock his tail? No. 

So, Goldendoodle tail docking as happy tail syndrome prevention is like not allowing your dog to walk outside because it might step on something sharp and hurt itself.

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4. Pain To Fit The Breed Standards

Goldendoodle sitting and looking at cameraGoldendoodle sitting and looking at camera

It is important to maintain a certain standard for a breed. That’s how and why we enjoy so many different types of dog breeds from small Chihuahuas to giant Great Danes. It is alright to fit under the AKC, UKC, CKC, or any other official breed standards.

However, following rules just because they were made 30 or 100 years ago seems ludicrous. It is alright to evaluate the rules and correct them if they seem unfitting.

Goldendoodle tail docking is painful, and it is considered a form of mutilation.

It goes hand in hand with ear cropping.

It is alright to say no to tail cropping and help change this ridiculous breed standard rule.

The Conclusion

Goldendoodle standing on grassGoldendoodle standing on grass

To sum it up, Goldendoodle tail docking is:

  • Painful
  • Unnecessary
  • Done for fashion

A dog has no benefits with a docked tail. The Goldendoodle is not a working dog, but a designer dog bred and a family pet. Their tail is perfectly fine just as it is – long and furry. They won’t make a mess any more than a Golden Retriever’s tail would.

If you are worried about your Goldendoodle’s hygiene, just shave the entire fur off and save yourself from having to bathe your dog… just kidding, don’t do that. Bathe your dog or don’t have a dog if you can’t keep him clean.

Don’t worry about the breed standards. Worry about your dog’s health, and whether you are giving him enough attention and love. 

A Goldendoodle loves you no matter what you wear or look like. Why should you worry about the Goldendoodle’s tail length?

By Andy Marcus

Hello, my name is Andy Marcus, and I am a passionate dog lover and enthusiast. For me, there is nothing quite like the joy and love that a furry friend can bring into our lives. I have spent years studying and learning about dogs, and have made it my mission to share my knowledge and expertise with others through my website. Through my website, I aim to provide comprehensive information and resources for dog owners and enthusiasts. Whether it's training tips, health and nutrition advice, or insights into dog behavior, I strive to create a platform that is accessible and useful to everyone who loves dogs.

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