We all know dogs with their floppy ears and beautiful tails similar to the appearance of a wolf. But over the many years of domestication, certain dog breeds are born without a tail.
What may look weird to some people, is actually very cute and wanted by others. Dogs that are born without tails or only small ones fall under the category of bobtailed breeds. Responsible for the most known bobtail breeds is an ancestral T-box gene mutation (C189G).
Dogs with a bobtail are naturally born with this trait and should not be confused with docking. Modern tail docking is done for aesthetic reasons and often practiced without anesthesia which makes it extremely painful for the dog.
Docking and cropping are banned in many countries like Germany, Australia, Italy, Norway, and the list
You may also find bobtailed dogs within normally tailed breeds. Short tails are being achieved through selective breeding and are also natural. Below you will find a list of 10 dog breeds that are naturally born without a tail. In total, there are actually over 170 bobtail breeds.
The French Bulldog is probably the first breed that came to your mind when thinking about dogs without or with short tails. They are born with a very short and stumpy tail that covers the anus (according to UK breed standard). French Bulldogs were originally used for ratting and selective breeding gave them this short and cute tail.
Brittany Spaniels were historically being bred as gun dogs and are still being used for various sports. While most dogs in this breed have short tails, some are actually born tailless. It is not known whether the short tails occur through natural mutation or breeding with other Spaniels.
The little tail on a Boston Terrier is called a “nub” and is mentioned as a standard characteristic. A long or docked tail disqualifies a Boston Terrier from registration which makes it hard for long-tailed dogs to be recognized as purebred.
Bulldogs are naturally born with a short straight or screwed tail while the straight one is more desirable according to the breed standard. Like in any other breed there are abnormalities and bulldogs can be born with a long tail. But they are just as great as companions.
Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
Opposite to the Australian Cattle Dog, this breed is naturally born with a stumpy tail (as the name suggests) that is no longer than 10 cm. The Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog was specifically bred to withstand the harsh environment of the Australian outback while herding livestock. This rare breed is officially only being bred in Australia and Canada.
Braque du Bourbonnais
The mutation of the Braque du Bourbonnais’s tail has been discovered as being identical to the Brittany Spaniel. This breed was also called “short-tail pointer” and originated in France although it’s mostly being bred in the USA today.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
A short or missing tail is a very desirable trait in the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and largely separates it from the long
The tail length of the Brazilian Terrier can vary from long to completely missing but the docked tail is seen as the breed standard. The origin of this small tri-colored dog is not completely discovered and different theories mention the Jack Russel Terrier and Fox Terrier as ancestors.
The Croatian Sheepdog used to be naturally born with a long and curly tail which was usually being docked. After docking became illegal in Croatia, selective breeding was the only way to keep passing on this trait. Today, most dogs are born with a very small or no tail at all.
Just like the Croatian Sheepdog, Schnauzers are naturally born with a long tail. The natural mutation of the T-gene allows breeders to keep the desirable bobtail. Traditionally, Schnauzers were always docked like many other small farm dogs as a part of the AKC terrier group.
Docking is a very old practice to remove parts of or the whole tail of a dog. Like I said, naturally occurring bobtail breeds should not be confused with docked breeds. Tail docking occurs in two different ways:
- The first way involves surgical removal of the tail with scissors and is often practiced with dogs older than 6 months which makes it an amputation.
- The second involves a tight band that is being wrapped around the tail when the puppies are 3-5 days old until the tail falls off.
Looking back into history, tail docking had the purpose of adjusting the agility and health of dogs so they could perform baiting, fighting, and ratting. Today, tails are docked for
A lot of criticism was laid against the AKC for promoting tail docking as some of their breed standards, making it impossible to register an undocked dog. Organizations like the American Veterinary Medical Association are fighting for the removal of these unnatural breed standards.
Are Rottweilers Born without Tails?
Rottweilers are naturally born with a long curled tail. It is extremely rare that you will encounter a Rottweiler that has been born with a bobtail, it will most likely be docked. I own a Rottweiler myself and love her long tail swinging around.
You will more often see a docked Rottweiler in the USA than a German Rottweiler because docking and cropping have been banned here. A docked tail also not aligns with the breed standard and is totally unnecessary.
Are Boxers Born without Tails?
Boxers are not being born without tails but they are traditionally being docked at a young age to meet the AKC breed standards. An undocked Boxer is even being penalized for not having a short tail. This docking is purely for appearance and serves no other purpose.
Some bobtail boxers were being bred over time and exported to other countries but they are extremely rare. You will find them most often in countries like Australia that have to legally breed them this way.
Are All Dogs Born with Tails?
Although most dogs are being born with long or small tails, some breeds may come into this world completely tailless like the Brittany Spaniel. In the beginning, all of the old and original dog breeds had tails but selective breeding and gene mutation altered this appearance.
Share with me your thoughts on tail docking in the comments and let me know if you have encountered one of those bobtail breeds.