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Poodle Tails: Docked or Natural? (Styles, Length, & More)

If you are the proud fur parent of a Poodle, you may be exploring the many tail styles of their breed.

Ranging from long and plush to docked and styled, the variety of shapes can be overwhelming if you’re just getting started. 

To help you choose the best tail style for your beloved Poodle, let’s dive into our detailed Poodle tail guide below!

poodle tails

3 Common Poodle Tail Styles

When discussing poodle tail styles, there are a few variations that you may see. Most of the differences in style will be seen in the overall coat style, but there are a few tail options to choose from as well. 

➡️ Natural style

The first tail style that you may see is a natural style. This can involve either a long or docked tail, but the fur will flow freely throughout the length. Their tail may still be trimmed in effort to tame the fuzz, but no part of the tail will be shaved. 

➡️ Puff style

The next tail style that you may see involves shaving the tail into some form of puff. Some poodle owners create a small puff at the tip of their tail, while others will make the entire tail into one uniform puff. 

➡️ Shaved style

The last tail style that you may see in the poodle population is the shaved tail. These pups will have their tail shaved from base to tip, freeing them from the burden of maintaining the ever-growing tail fur. 

Standard Poodle Tails

Miniature Poodle Tails

Toy Poodle Tails

What Do Natural Poodle Tails Look Like?

When scrolling the internet for poodle tail inspiration, you will likely see a number of different styles.

With so many different options to choose from, it’s easy to lose sight of what a natural poodle tail looks like. 

A natural poodle tail is long, full of fur, and may even have a slight curl.

Though many of us are used to seeing a trimmed and polished poodle tail, natural poodle tails can be a bit unruly. 

The standard shape of a poodle’s tail will vary from dog to dog, but each tail can be up to 10 inches long.

If you see a tail that is only a few inches in length, this means that they had their tail cropped at some point. 

Do Poodles Have Long Tails?

All poodles are born with naturally long tails. Many people think poodles are born with short tails, but this is likely down to how common tail docking is in this breed.

But no, all poodles are born with tails that will grow fairly long if they are not docked.

Many breeders will dock their poodle’s tails during their first week of life, often in effort to meet breed standards going forward. 

Interesting read: Poodle lifespan: Facts, Figures & FAQs

Do Poodles Have Curly Tails?

Not all poodles have curly tails, but many do. Sometimes the curl is slight and smooth, and other times it can be tightly wound over and held high over the back.

There are many variations that a poodle can have…

This usually comes down to genetics and what kind of tails their parents had. I’ve seen it many times before where in one single litter, all the poodles have drastically different tails!

Poodle Tail Shape 

All natural poodle tails are typically up to 10 inches in length, but they all can vary in shape slightly.

Some tails will be completely straight, some will have a slight curl at the end, and others will curl to the base of the tail. 

While natural poodle tails can vary in appearance, the shape of the tail is typically uniform once it is cropped.

A cropped poodle tail will often be straight from base to end, as the curved portion of the tail is typically removed in the docking process. 

Interesting read: Do Poodles Bark Much? What Owners Want to Know

Psst. A word on Poodle training! Brain Training For Dogs could be the best training approach we’ve seen for all poodles. Results show improvement in obedience and behavior quicker than we thought possible! It’s absolutely worth checking out.

Why Do Poodles Get Their Tails Docked?

Tail docking is a common practice performed throughout the poodle breed. This is often due to the desire to meet breed standards in show, or simply to maintain a style that poodle lovers are used to seeing. 

If a poodle does have their tail docked, the procedure is typically performed between 3 to 5 days of age.

It is performed during this timeframe due to some believing the nervous system is not developed enough to feel pain, though this has been debunked by many experts. 

The tail docking procedure is performed without general anesthesia and is achieved by occluding a portion of the tail with surgical scissors.

As a result of this area not receiving adequate blood flow, the tip of the tail will typically fall off within a few days. 

As we mentioned above, tail docking in poodles is generally performed for cosmetic purposes.

Though some insist that tail docking can prevent tail injuries and complications down the line, the AVMA insists that this is not the case. 

Do All Poodle Breeders Dock Tails?

With many pet owners becoming educated on the cons of tail docking in our furry friends, it is becoming easier and easier to find a poodle breeder that does not dock tails.

Simple research can lead you in the right direction for the furry friend you are looking for, and into contact with a breeder that fits your needs. 

Should You Dock Your Poodle’s Tail?

The decision to dock your poodle’s tail is entirely up to you and the veterinary professional that works with your pup.

We always suggest doing research on the topic and what the process entails, and further determining if tail docking fits your needs going forward.

When in doubt, your veterinarian can answer any questions you may have. 

Poodle Tail Lengths For Show

If you would like your future poodle to participate in shows, you will likely need to make sure your pup meets AKC guidelines. Not only do these dogs require a certain style of coat, but they must also have a certain length of tail. 

The AKC tail guidelines based on the type of poodle include:

Toy Poodle: Leave ½ to ⅔ of length

Miniature Poodle: Leave ½ to ⅔  of length

Standard Poodle: Leave ½ to ⅔ of length

Grooming Your Poodle’s Tail

If you do not choose to shave your poodle’s tail, you will need to implement some regular grooming to prevent painful knots and mats. Some of the best tail grooming tips for our poodle friends include:

  • Brushing their tail every other day to prevent any tangles
  • Keeping their tail trimmed for sanitary reasons if needed
  • Removing any debris from the tail such as plant material or sticks
  • Including their tail in the washing and conditioning process during bathing

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the poodle tail can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. By understanding the different tail style options available to your pup, you can choose the look that best fits your needs going forward. 


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.