Want to know more about Corgis and tails?
Great! In this article you’ll discover:
- The 3 types of tails a Corgi can have.
- Why some Corgis have tails and others don’t.
- Why you should never have two Corgis with natural bobtails breed.
- And much much more…
Table of contents
- Do Corgis have tails?
- The first thing you should know about Corgis and tails
- 3 types of tails:
- History of dog tail docking
- Tail docking procedure in dogs
- Tail docking in the US vs. in the UK, Australia, and Europe
- Tail docking bans around the world (and what vets are saying)
- 3 reasons you shouldn’t dock a Corgi’s tail
- 3 dangers of docking Corgis’ tails
Do Corgis have tails?
Corgis do have tails. In fact, most are born with long tails. Others with bobtails. There are two reasons why you see Corgis without tails. Either because the tail of the puppy had a mutation and the puppy was born with a natural bobtail, or the tail was docked by the breeder or a vet after birth.
This is why so many people are confused about Corgis and their tails.
There’s also the fact that there are two types of Corgi breeds, which makes it even more confusing.
So let’s quickly discuss both breeds down below (before we talk about all the other interesting Corgi tail facts).
The first thing you should know about Corgis and tails
There are two types of Corgi breeds: Cardigans & Pembrokes. They look alike but if you look closer, you’ll spot some evident differences.
The easiest way to differentiate a Cardigan from a Pembroke Corgi
You have probably noticed the differences between some Corgis. You might not be able to name them, or you could remember very little…
Well, here’s one easy trick that will allow you to know instantly whether you have a Cardigan or a Pembroke Corgi standing in front of you!
Just look at the tail. 🙂
Let’s dive into the detailed breed characteristics of the two, so you know for sure which is which.
Cardigans (long tails)
Weigh more than Pembroke Corgis. Have rounded ears. Their tails are long.
This breed is older than the Pembroke one. Cardigans descend from Dachshunds.
The coat colors of Cardigans vary, you can find them in:
Cardigans are bred with the intention to herd large livestock such as cows. The handler would stay behind the livestock.
Cardigans are known to be reserved but still friendly.
A Cardigan Corgi would bond with the entire family. This is not the case with Pembrokes as they’re one-person dogs.
Pembrokes (docked tails)
They resemble foxes. Pointy ears. Their tails are often docked.
Pembrokes are close relatives of Swedish Valhounds and Spitz breeds.
The coats of Pembrokes can have the following colors:
Pembrokes herd sheep. They direct the herd toward the shepherd.
A Pembroke Corgis is bound to attach to one person.
Pembrokes are known to be more outgoing.
Pembroke Corgis became popular thanks to Queen Elizabeth.
I mean, you have probably heard of ‘The Queen’s Corgi’ movie. If not, no judgment but I recommend you check it out.
3 types of tails:
- No tail.
- Natural bobtail.
- Docked tail.
It’s important to note that some Corgis are born with a short tail. Others go through tail docking while they’re between 2 and 5 days old.
When the tail of a dog is missing completely, the dog has no tail.
Tails that are short by nature are called natural bobtails. This happens due to a mutation in the T-box gene. This gene is inherited.
One copy of the mutated gene can lead to a Corgi being born with a natural bobtail.
Many people are surprised to find out that Corgis are usually born with long tails like any other dog.
So, there’s the question ‘Why are Corgis tailless?’
In many cases, this is up to the breeder and the laws of the country they’re in, of course.
Breeders choose to do this to make the dogs more appealing to potential owners. And, it follows the breed standard.
The difference between a docked tail and a bobtail
A naturally short tail will have smooth skin at the end. A docked tail on the contrary will have skin that appears to have been pinched.
What Corgi pet parents think of this
After all this talk about Corgi tails, it’s worth a peek at the opinions of some Corgi parents.
‘If I had a choice’
Some Corgi parents report in forums that the choice of docking or not wasn’t theirs to make in the first place. The pup’s tail has already been docked when they met. But if it were up to them, they would’ve chosen to not have their dog docked.
‘Puppies do feel pain at 3 days old’
While some pet parents find it ok to have Corgis’ tails docked, others find it painful and cruel.
A dog parent shares that after having a litter’s tails docked, the pups wouldn’t stop crying for days on end.
What’s more, she decided to stop the docking procedure and observed a great difference in the way the docked and undocked litter were feeling. The puppies whose tails haven’t been docked were happier.
So, nowadays when she thinks back to those events, she regrets that she ever had puppies’ tails docked. She believes it’s not worth it to do this to a puppy just so they can meet AKC’s official breed standards.
The lady also questions why should Pembrokes be docked if Cardigans aren’t. She also asks what the need to dock Corgis’ tails is, considering this practice is banned in the UK and most European countries.
‘I don’t like the tailed look on Pems and don’t consider docking done cleanly cruel’
A pet owner says that she sees the benefits of tail docking. She says Corgis manage to balance just fine without having a long tail. This also eliminates the possibility of a broken tail or necrotic tissue from injuries.
‘The procedure, when done properly, is pretty painless and heals very quickly’
Another dog lover tunes in the discussion.
They support tail docking as long as it’s done by a professional. For example, a vet instead of at home, with a rubber band.
The same person has an issue with breeding dogs with natural bobtails. From an ethical perspective, that is.
They explain what they mean by elaborating the danger of breeding two dogs with natural bobtails. It’s that if the gene comes from both of them, it can lead to a life-threatening mutation.
History of dog tail docking
Aim of tail docking
Back in the time, tail docking was done to:
- To prevent rabies.
- Strengthen the back.
- Increase the dog’s speed.
- Prevent injuries during hunting and fighting.
Another big reason for tail docking, that has nothing to do with health, is that companion/toy dog breeds in England were taxed. But working dogs weren’t.
And how were pet dogs recognized from working ones?
Working dogs had their tails docked. Such were dogs that worked on farms and were used for herding. Also ratters, and hunting dogs.
Fun fact: Many wealthy landowners would not dock the tails of their dogs. Why? Because hunting was what they did in their leisure time. Not docking the dogs’ tails was a sign of status since they could afford the tax.
In 1796 the dog tax was revoked. In the year 1885, Louis Pasteur discovered a rabies vaccine.
Dogs continued to have their tails docked though. The reason was that dogs were considered property. And as such, it was up to the individual owner how they should look and be taken care of.
It wasn’t until several decades when veterinary communities started questioning tail docking as an act.
Nowadays dog owners turn to tail docking to:
- Prevent injuries.
- Prevent diseases.
- Make a cosmetic change.
Some dog owners would agree to tail docking if it’s in favor of the dog.
This is the case when the dog experiences:
- Fracture (after the tail got shut at the door).
- Tail beating (when the dog constantly hits their tail in certain objects).
- Being born with a crooked tail or ending up with one after an accident.
Tail docking procedure in dogs
Tail docking is the amputation of the whole dog’s tail or part of it. It can be done in several ways.
The rubber band method
This is the most common and disapproved of method.
The person ties a rubber band tightly at the desired future length of the tail and leaves it there. When the blood flow stops, which is after the rubber band has stayed there for a while, the tail falls off on its own.
This practice is used on older puppies as well. The issue there is that older puppies already have thicker tails with more tissue. The bigger the size of the tail, the harder the procedure is.
And although the rubber band constricts the blood flow, the nerves aren’t damaged. Which means it will hurt a lot.
In addition to that, restricting the blood flow is not healthy. As for the tissues, it’s unnatural for them to die in such an amount.
After the process is complete, there will be an open wound. This ncreases the risk of infection.
My view on tail docking, if not absolutely necessary for fixing a medical issue, is that it’s inhumane.
What makes me lean in this direction is a ridiculous, yet very unpleasant and scary experience I had in 2019…
I like to wear rings. My fingers are thinner at the bottom but wider in the middle. So, I’m very careful what size of rings I put.
One day I was in a hurry and put one of my ring finger rings on the middle finger instead. I didn’t realize my mistake until the evening when I was about to take my jewelry off.
No matter how hard I tried or what I used, I just couldn’t take the ring off… At first, I laughed at the situation with a friend who came to visit that day.
I tried soaping my finger, putting dishwashing gel, and so on… Whatnot really. I even found a method to wrap a ribbon or tooth-cleaning strings around the finger and try pulling the ring off. All to no avail…
And it would have been relatively okay if my finger hadn’t started to swell and change color
I tried going to jewelry stores where they could have something to cut it off with. But these were closed at that time.
So, in the end, I went to the hospital. Luckily, there was a doctor who took me in almost immediately after my arrival. He was calm and in a jokey mood.
Although I wasn’t in a jokey mood myself, I didn’t mind his. As long as he helped me to get out of this situation.
To my surprise, he took a string, some liquid handsoap, and started slowly wrapping the string around my finger. Yeah – just like in those Internet videos I was watching with my friend earlier the same day.
Although I was patient, with every wrap around my finger, I felt more and more pain. And my finger was turning redder and redder… It felt like time couldn’t pass slower.
When the doctor started pulling the ring with the string, I felt like screaming (I could barely hold my voice). There wasn’t the need to do that ‘cause my face must have said it all.
After what seemed like a decade, the ring fell down on the floor. I issued a deep side of relief and thanked the doctor. And he advised me to start moving it (much needed after I could barely feel it), and not lift anything heavy in the next few days.
So, now you see why I’m against such practices. And after this experience, even more so.
Docking done by a vet
If you have decided to dock the tail of your puppy, it’s best to consult with a vet.
A vet will first disinfect the tail. Then they will use a sharp scalpel blade which will help them cut through the skin, muscle, and between the bones of the tail.
The whole procedure should take no longer than a few minutes. After which the puppy should act normal.
Tail docking in the US vs. in the UK, Australia, and Europe
In the US
Tail docking, although considered a cruel practice by many, is still happening in the US.
According to the AKC tail docking is performed on puppies when their nervous system is not fully developed. So, they should feel little or even no pain.
As to anesthesia, AKC explains it’s not recommended to put a small puppy under it because it could be life-threatening for them. When the puppies are old enough to be put under anesthesia, the pain could be much worse and lead to trauma.
In the UK
The 2007 ban on tail-docking
Tail docking has been banned in the UK in 2007. Due to this the popularity of the Pembroke Corgi there has decreased.
As a result, a lot of breeders in England gave up on developing the breed. For them, it was impossible to achieve the desired Corgi look without docking the tail.
Some people believe this is because potential dog owners prefer the ‘fluffy trousers’ look over the ‘long tail’ one.
Australia banned tail docking for non-therapeutic reasons in 2004. After that, it was illegal to perform tail docking unless there was a medical reason. Like damaging their tail in an accident for example.
Plus, only qualified professionals (vets) could do it. Previously anyone who fell under the classification as an ‘experienced breeder’ could do it.
According to the Animal Welfare Act 2006, tail docking in Australia is considered a criminal offense towards animals. The only exception applies to registered service dogs.
Tail docking was banned in the European Union in 1998. The ban was initiated and supported by the World Veterinary Association and the World Organisation for Animal Health.
There were theories that animal rights activists (such as PETA) stand behind this. But in fact, it was professionals in the field who voiced out their opinion.
While Sweden was in doubt to ban docking or not, they studied the claim that Corgis’ tails can get stepped on by cattle. What they found out was that a long tail didn’t pose a problem. It didn’t expose the dog to more injuries.
Tail docking bans around the world (and what vets are saying)
National veterinary organizations against tail docking are:
- The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (UK).
- The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association.
- The Australian Veterinary Association.
- The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
After the ban in the European Union in 1998, the AVMA released an official statement in 1999:
‘Ear cropping and tail docking in dogs for cosmetic reasons are not medically indicated nor of benefit to the patient. These procedures cause pain and distress, and, as with all surgical procedures, are accompanied by inherent risks of anesthesia, blood loss, and infection. Therefore, veterinarians should counsel dog owners about these matters before agreeing to perform these surgeries.’
In 2008, the AVMA released a new simplified policy:
‘The AVMA opposes ear cropping and tail docking of dogs when done solely for cosmetic purposes. The AVMA encourages the elimination of ear cropping and tail docking from breed standards.’
A list of countries that have banned tail docking:
- Denmark (with 5 gun dog breeds exceptions).
- Germany (with working dog breeds exceptions).
- New Zealand.
- Spain (in some autonomies).
- The British Virgin Islands.
- The Netherlands.
3 reasons you shouldn’t dock a Corgi’s tail
#1: A tail is worth a thousand words
You know how the saying about the picture goes.
Well, when it comes to dogs, this proves to be true as well.
While Corgis’ faces are very expressive, nothing indicates the mood of a dog better and faster than their tail.
It’s exactly like this lady on Quora says:
‘A tail is so expressive!’
What’s more, a Corgi’s tail serves as a communication tool not only when it comes to other dogs but also to people.
Judging by the position of the tail, you can tailor your approach to an individual dog. This is very important for safe interactions.
Fun fact: Did you know that dogs’ faces tend to be more expressive when the owner is around? That’s due to the fact that some dogs have learned that raising their eyebrows gets them treats, cuddles, play, and attention in general.
#2: It’s considered a cosmetic change for pet Corgis
You know how some corporate employers provide additional healthcare to their employees? Then, certain treatments are covered by the insurance agency.
So far so good. But what are treatments that the insurance doesn’t cover?
Because whether these are carried out or not wouldn’t improve the health of the individual. So, it’s safe to say such cosmetic changes are unnecessary.
Whether they’re carried out or not depends solely on the personal preference of the person.
But back to pet Corgis…
Apart from making them look in a certain way, you won’t benefit their well-being by having their tail docked.
#3: Your Corgi doesn’t take pride in having their tail docked
A Corgi would be just as happy and self-sufficient as any other dog that’s well taken care of.
You might even make your Corgi happier because they’ll be able to communicate in a natural way with other fellow dogs. No room for misunderstanding there.
3 dangers of docking Corgis’ tails
#1: Acute pain
People who support tail docking claim that it isn’t painful or uncomfortable for puppies. They say that the nervous system of pups hasn’t fully developed.
The truth is that puppies are able to experience pain similar in intensity to the one adult dogs feel. In fact, a veterinarian from Australia named Robert K. Wansbrough states in his research that puppies that are one-day old may experience more intense pain than an adult dog would.
One thing to note is that tail docking usually happens without analgesia (medication to relieve pain).
A puppy whose tail has just been cut will whine at the moment of cutting. And also while the wound is stitched.
Dr. Wansbrough elaborates that a procedure with such a level of pain would never be allowed on a human being.
Apart from pain, tail docking could affect the development of the central nervous system. The result could be negative long-term consequences.
One example of such is neuroma. Neuromas are extremely painful.
#2: There are risks
No matter how safe the procedure is considered, there are always potential risks to be aware of.
Some of these are:
- Slow healing.
- Excessive bleeding.
A tale to a dog as a means of communication is what words are to us.
An experiment conducted with a life-sized robot dog with a difference in tail length, proved this to be true. Other dogs understood the robot dog better when the tail was longer.
In short, the tail of a dog provides vital information on their mood and social status to other dogs. So, a longer tail helps to convey the message more effectively.
A dog with a docked tail could be very vulnerable to other dogs and humans alike. Others might not recognize the body language signs correctly. So this could lead to insufficient and even dangerous interactions.
BONUS: Understimulated rear muscles
Did you know that a wagging tail helps stimulate the rear muscles in the legs and bottom?
When a dog has a very short tail or no tail, they could experience trouble performing basic tasks such as walking, sitting, or doing their business.
Note: If your Corgi has a docked tail, exercise them regularly to keep the muscles in shape.