One of the more recognizable parts of the Border Collie is without a doubt its tail. And in the case of purebred Collies the very iconic white tip that characterizes them so well is unquestionably easy to spot.
This “white tip” trait, has been bred into the species by shepherds throughout the generations, and is often called the “shepherds lantern” which guided them back home after a long day of herding.
If you kept your eyes open though, you might have noticed that not every single border Collie you’ve ever seen, has had a tail.
In this article will be answering the question “do Border Collies get their tails docked”, we’ll be going over what tail docking is, under which circumstances it should be considered, and why it’s probably not the best option for Border Collies in general.
What Is Tail Docking
Tail docking, is the process by which one severs and removes the dog’s tail or parts of the tail, either surgically or by constraining blood flow (which leads to a natural loss of the tail). It’s a procedure that is generally done in the very early days of the dogs life (first 2-10 days), depending on the size and breed.
Even though tail docking is restricted (and even illegal) in many countries, it’s still used as standard procedure amongst many breeds for aesthetic purposes.
Some dog breeds have naturally occurring bobbed tails (called “bobtails”) thanks to a gene mutation that is dominant for that specific breed. In today’s day and age, tail docking on dogs that don’t have that dominant gene, is for the most part, cosmetic and to follow classic breeding standards.
Historically, it was thought that docking prevented Rabies in dogs, strengthened its back and made it more agile when fighting (we’re talking roman era here). But now of course, we know that there is no such correlation.
The American Kennels club, still maintains tail docking as a standard for over 60 different breeds (one third of the registered breeds) while other handlers won’t allow dogs into dog shows if their tail has been docked at all, so it’s definitely a sensitive subject.
Notice that docking is not the same as a tail amputation. Amputation is usually performed because of an underlying health condition and docking is an elective procedure.
Do Border Collies Get Their Tails Docked
In the case of Border Collies, they don’t typically get their tails docked by their owners. It’s a fairly uncommon practice.
Tails are reasonably useful for Border Collies since they can be used for herding, hunting or competing. If there’s a chance that you think the dog will be very physically active throughout its adult life, then it’s likely your dog will be glad to put its tail to good use.
Border Collies don’t naturally have a bobbed tail either (like is common in the case of their close cousin the Australian Shepherd) so the chances that your Border Collie is born without a tail, is unlikely.
To sum it all up, docking is not really necessary in Border Collies, but at the end of the day, it’s up to the owner to decide whether to dock the dog’s tail or not.
Why Should I Dock My Border Collies Tail
Even though it’s not very typical to see Border Collies with their tails docked, since they’re useful for the reasons mentioned before, some of the reasons you’d want to look into possibly docking your Border Collies tail include:
- Initial injury or infection to your dog’s tail, in the early stages of life (accidental bite from the mother, for example).
- Preventing possible injuries leading to amputations later in life (“happy tail syndrome”).
- Preventing your dog from chasing or biting its own tail.
- Decreasing the possibility of matting on the backside.
- Making cleaning the backside of your dog, easier.
- To conform to specific breed standards (competitions, requirements, etc.)
Can Border Collies Be Born Without Tails
It’s very uncommon to find Border Collies that are born without tails or with bobbed tails.
This is in part because the genes that might be present in other breeds, that produce the phenotype of a “short tail”, are not dominant in Border Collies.
In other words, the “long tail” is the standard for Border Collies, and has been specifically chosen to be a strong trait that maintained itself in the breed throughout the generations.
If your Border Collie is healthy, it’ll most likely be born with a tail, and with a beautiful one at that!
Is It Cruel To Dock My Border Collies Tail
Docking your pup’s tail off is your own decision and is generally of not much harm to the dog, as its nervous system hasn’t yet been fully developed. This is not to say that the procedure is painless. There is some pain involved, but it’s short-lived.
The pain that the docking procedure may or may not cause to the dog, might not even be the biggest issue! There are arguably other things to keep in mind before docking your dog.
Other things to take into consideration when tail docking, include:
- Potential complications of the procedure like infections, leaking of cerebrospinal fluids or even death.
- Stripping your dog of a tool to communicate with other dogs (tails are used in communication too).
- Increased possibility of developing hernias
Do Border Collies Get Their Tails Docked? Final Thoughts
Border Collies generally don’t get their tails docked, since this specific breed has been happy to use their tail as counterbalance, when herding, jumping, running, and competing in sports.
Purebred Collies will by default always be born with tail, and thus the final decision of whether or not to dock your dog, comes down to what you the owner wants.
You must outweigh the potential benefits versus the potential risks, and come to your own conclusions, but generally speaking, it’s not necessary to dock your Border Collie, especially if you intend on having it be physically active, as most Border Collies already are.
While we make every effort to offer exact and handy information concerning your animal’s wellness and health, this post is meant to be informative and not clinical recommendation. Don’t substitute getting medical advice from your licensed veterinarian regardless of what you have read on thebordercollie.net, or other sites.