You must be wondering, why does your Yorkie not have a full-length tail? All Yorkies are actually born with a tail. But at some point in their lives, their tails are partially removed (docked). And the reasons for that might surprise you.
Just why is your Yorkie’s tail docked? The #1 reason, according to breeders and veterinarians alike, is for aesthetic purposes.
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The American Kennel Club (AKC), Continental Kennel Club (CKC), New Zealand Kennel Club (NZKC), United Kennel Club (UKC), and the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) require that all Yorkies’ tails are docked, in order for a Yorkie to be considered as a breed standard.
Let’s dive deeper into this controversial topic.
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Why Do Yorkies Have Their Tails Docked?
Docking refers to the process of removing part of the tail of a dog. It is common with small dog breeds like the Yorkshire terriers. With Yorkies, the procedure is performed when they are newborn pups. At this age, they have less of a developed sensation of pain and heal quickly which makes it the safest time for the procedure.
It is a very controversial procedure with strong points for and against it. In America, it is common practice to dock Yorkie puppies.
Here are some of the main reasons why:
To Meet American Kennel Club Standards
The American Kennel Club requires that Yorkie terriers have their tails docked to medium tail length. This leaves a short tail stub that raises slightly above the level of the back. It is considered a marker for the breed and is particularly important for Yorkies in the show dog scene.
This applies to Parti and teacup Yorkies too, but not the Biewer Yorkie, which is considered a different breed to the traditional Yorkie.
This is one of the main underlying reasons behind the popularity of tail docking in Yorkies both in and out of the competition world. The long and high-riding tail of an undocked Yorkie is considered undesirable in terms of visual appeal. This is mainly the case with long-haired doggies. Shortening the tail gives the dog a more compact and appealing look.
This is especially the case for teacup Yorkies, where dog owners often pursue a teddy bear hair cut to amplify the cuteness of their pooch, and the tail is thought to affect the cuteness factor.
To Protect From Hunting Injuries
Yorkies were initially bred and are still occasionally used as hunting dogs. Those with undocked tails tend to suffer more tail injuries, especially when retrieving in shrubbery or holes. As a result, owners prefer to spare their dogs the pain and just shorten it to a manageable and less accident-prone length.
Docking a Yorkie tail is not a very difficult procedure and with the right tools, this procedure can even be done at home. You just have to get the timing right and select the best procedure for your situation. These decisions determine the outcome directly as despite being simple, things can go very wrong for your beloved Yorkie pup.
When it comes to timing for docking your Yorkie’s tail, the newborn period is the safest and has the highest success rate. It is advised that the procedure is done between 2 and 5 days since birth.
At this age, they are strong enough to handle the procedure as opposed to doing it on the first day of life. This is also when it is least painful as their nervous systems are still immature and not very sensitive. If you miss this window, you can still have your Yorkie’s tail docked but your choice of procedures is different.
When it comes to the procedure itself, you have two main methods to choose from:
The first is the simple banding method. This is where you tie a piece of sanitized rope or a band tightly around the tail at the point where you want to cut it. This cuts off the blood supply to the lower segment. In time, this dies and falls off. This is so straightforward that it is often done at home and is best for newborns who heal faster.
The second option is to get the tail docking done professionally by a vet. This is usually done under anesthesia and involves surgically removing a portion of the tail. While it can be performed on newborns, it is more often than not reserved for older Yorkies.