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Doberman Tail Docking: Pros & Cons (All You Need to Know)

If you are a lover of the Doberman breed, you are likely aware that many of them have docked tails.

You may even be wondering if you should dock your Doberman’s tail if you plan to welcome one into your home, leading you to research all the details behind this cosmetic procedure. 

We want you to be as informed as possible when making this decision about your Doberman, so let’s dive into our detailed Doberman tail docking guide below!

Are Dobermans Born With A Short Tail?

While we may see many Dobermans with short tails, this breed is actually born with a naturally long tail.

The Doberman is born with a tail typically anywhere from 15 to 19 inches in length, so any Doberman with a short tail has had their tail docked when they were a puppy. 

doberman docked tail

What Is Tail Docking For Dobermans?

Before we discuss the details of tail docking for Dobermans, we should first introduce you to the details of the tail docking procedure itself.

In most situations, your breeder will already have docked your Doberman’s tail soon after they were born, but some pet parents choose to do the procedure when they are an adult.

Tail docking involves cutting the tail to achieve a short look, aiming to fit a breed standard that has been established. 

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What age do Dobermans have their tails docked?

Most Dobermans that have their tails docked will have the procedure when they are between 3 to 5 days of age.

This is done due to the fact that puppies are believed to have a less developed nervous system and therefore cannot feel the pain, though this is widely debated by veterinary experts. 

Are puppy Dobermans awake for the procedure?

The puppies are often awake when the tail docking occurs, and the veterinarian will quickly cut off the portion of the tail that the owners want removed.

This cut will be performed with surgical scissors that can cut the area safely, or they may even occlude the end of the tail to clock off blood supply.

Scissors will result in immediate removal of the tail, while the tying off will cause the tail to fall off in the following weeks. 

Is anesthesia ever used for the procedure?

If the procedure is performed in older dogs, they will need to be put under anesthesia as if they were receiving any other surgical procedure.

This procedure will involve putting them under anesthesia, as well as sending them home with prescribed pain control and antibiotics. 

Not all clinics will perform the tail docking procedure due to how widely debated the procedure is, but you can typically find a clinic in your area if you are in the United States. 

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What Is The Tail Docking Standard For Dobermans?

If you plan to follow the standard guidelines for tail docking in Dobermans, their tail will typically need to be docked to about 2-3 inches when they reach adulthood.

As long as you have this procedure performed by a licensed veterinarian, they will know the exact location to target to give you your preferred look. 

Why Do So Many Dobermans Have Their Tails Docked?

Now that we’ve introduced you to the process of tail docking, it’s time to discuss why so many Dobermans have their tails docked in the first place.

  • Though you will hear differing answers all around, tail docking is mostly done for cosmetic purposes. 

When did tail docking in Dobermans first begin?

Tail docking began in Roman times when it was believed that docking a dog’s tail made them immune to catching rabies.

While we’re not sure why this was a common belief in Roman times, this belief led to the common practice of docking tails for years to come. 

While we know now that docking your dog’s tail will not protect them from rabies, many pet owners around the world still participate in the practice.

There is still a circulating misconception that tail docking will improve your dog’s speed and help them be more efficient hunters, but this has also been disproven by veterinary experts. 

The real reason why Dobermans have docked tails

Now that we can set aside any myths associated with the benefits of tail docking, we can state that most pet owners dock their Doberman’s tail to adhere to the breed standard & appearance.

Some also say that they dock their tails in effort to prevent tail injuries in the future, but this will of course vary based on your Doberman’s lifestyle. 

At the end of the day, most Dobermans you meet will have their tails docked since it is what is expected of the breed.

While there are many people that have begun to break away from the tail docking tradition, it is still considered the breed standard. 

Are There Any Benefits To Docked Tails In Dobermans?

If you are trying to determine whether or not you want to dock your Doberman’s tail, you may be searching for any potential benefits to support your decision.

While this will vary based on every Doberman’s lifestyle, the main benefit is the potential to prevent tail injuries in the future. 

Working dogs will always be the most at risk of receiving tail injuries, but it is something that all Dobermans could fall victim to.

Tail injuries can occur when a dog has a powerful tail wag that smacks into hard surfaces, as well as if their tail collects any harmful plant materials like fox tails. When either of these injuries occur, most Dobermans will require vet care. 

What Are The Dangers Of Docked Tails In Dobermans?

While there is one main benefit to tail docking in Dobermans, there are many more potential dangers. We want to make sure you are as informed as possible when making this decision for your Doberman pup, so let’s break down each con below. 

  • The AVMA vocally opposes it: The AVMA, or the American Veterinary Medical Association, is vocally against the practice of both tail docking and ear cropping. This organization encourages the elimination of tail docking to fit breed standards, and the AVMA’s opinion should be taken seriously when it comes to our pet’s care. 

It can impact socialization:

All dogs rely on their tails to help them communicate with other canine friends. Different tail stances can communicate an array of messages in the canine language, so docking their tail stips them of their ability to communicate properly. Having a docked tail can make it more challenging to meet new dogs. 

It is a painful procedure:

Many breeders will state that tail docking is not painful due to the Doberman puppy not having a fully developed nervous system, but this is proven to be untrue. A puppy’s nervous system will be developed enough for them to feel pain at 3 to 5 days of age, so they will experience a level of discomfort during the procedure. Not only will the procedure be painful, but so will the recovery period. 

It can lead to chronic pain:

Some Dobermans that have their tails docked will experience chronic pain due to their procedure. Dogs can develop secondary spinal tumors and nerve sensitivity when their tails are docked, and this can deeply impact their quality of life moving forward.

Should I Dock My Doberman’s Tail?

At the end of the day, docking your Doberman’s tail is an individual choice that only you can make. Every pet parent will have their own individual preferences, so it’s up to you to determine what you think is best for your pup moving forward. 

Personally, I would not dock my dog’s tail, as I do not feel the benefits outweigh the long list of cons.

I also think that we should always hold the AVMA’s opinion highly when it comes to their opinions on animal welfare, as they are the ones that oversee all aspects of our pet’s veterinary care. 

If you are still on the fence about whether tail docking is right for your pup, you can always reach out to your veterinary team for advice.

They can answer any questions you may have about the procedure in itself, as well as whether or not the procedure will benefit your Doberman in the long run. 

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Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.