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Is tail-docking right for my Pit Bull?

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Tail-docking is an old (very old) tradition when it comes to dogs. As far back as Ancient Rome, people docked dogs’ tails because they believed it prevented rabies. This hasn’t been the case for a long time, though, and yet tail-docking is still very popular in Canada and the US. In the rest of the world, it’s instead very common for this practice to be entirely illegal.

Why tail-docking?

Back in the day, it was mostly a case of hunting dogs having their tails docked to prevent injury. This is still the logic many proponents of tail-docking go by. As with guard dogs and working dogs, hunting dogs could have their tails grabbed or injured, which is why it’s simply safer and more convenient to cut them off. Tail-docking in general first came about in the 18th century. There was a taxation on all dogs unless they were working dogs, and working dogs were distinguished from the rest by tail-docking. This, in turn, led to dog-owners docking their dogs’ tails simply to avoid said taxation, which normalized the practice.

In 1891, a book titled The American Book of the Dog stated that tail-docking and ear-cropping were both necessary for a “proper look”. This is probably a huge reason why tail-docking is still so common today. Certain breeds have had docked tails for so long that it’s just seen as normal. There is no medical reason to cut a dog’s tail, and it’s mostly done to conform to a breed’s “look”. In most countries, the procedure must be done by a veterinarian, and should be performed when the dog is only a few days old. This varies from country to country, but in the US, there are no such regulations. Some even take it upon themselves to do it, usually when the puppy is 2-9 weeks old. Both factors can lead to unpleasant complications, especially since the older the dog is, the more painful and difficult the procedure will be.

While ear-cropping is common among Pit Bull breeds, docking tails is less so.

About the Pit Bulls

Pit Bull breeds aren’t traditionally ones that get their tails docked, compared to other breeds. Tail-docking is much more common among breeds like Rottweiler, Doberman, Boxer, and even some hounds. If you’re thinking about tail-docking, there are some things you should be aware of before you do. Tail-docking on a Pit Bull isn’t usually done, but if you have seen it before it’s usually for looks. Pit Bulls are commonly seen with cropped ears, however, and occasionally you see the tail has been docked. Many people believe that it prevents the tail from hitting it into things and causing potential injuries. Others feel that ear-cropping and tail-docking are cruel practices, especially since there are no medical reasons for it.

Keep in mind

If you choose to dock your Pit Bull’s tail, keep in mind their age and the reason behind cutting it. Docking your Pit Bull’s tail isn’t going to give them any more advantages than keeping their tail, after all. So leaving your Pit Bull’s tail alone is just fine, and you don’t have to worry about infection or recovery. But in the end, always do what’s best for your pup. And as with most health-related things, always get professional help when it comes to tail-docking.

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