Looking for an Australian Shepherd with an intact (undocked) tail? You are not alone! There are many folks searching high and low for a breeder who offers Aussie pups with full tails. We know this because we are contacted regularly by them. The quest is on for Aussies with tails!
Apparently, an Aussie Tail is a rare feature. We feel it is worth searching for. Below we explain why most Australian Shepherd pups have their tails docked within a few days of birth, why this is an unnecessary procedure that we never do, and we end the page with a picture gallery of our own GLORIOUS AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD TAILS!
So why do most Aussie breeders dock (cut off) the tails of their newborn pups? The answer, in a word, is CUSTOM. They dock the tails because breeders before them did, and it is customary to do so. It is the TRADITION.
Australian Shepherds evolved years ago in the American West, and inhabited rather harsh territory. They were rugged work animals, mainly used for the job their breed name suggests: they were excellent shepherds, rounding up and protecting sheep and other livestock.
The fields the Aussies worked in were covered with brush, weeds, vines and other scrub. As a result, their tails attracted and became snarled with burrs, stickers and other plant material. It was not only hard to remove this debris, it could possibly cause trauma and infection to the tail. As a result, Aussie owners began docking the tails of their young puppies.
Today in the U.S., tail docking of Australian Shepherds remains the accepted custom among breeders, and efforts to ban the practice have been adamantly opposed by Aussie breeding clubs.
Why We Don't Dock
When we began planning our Aussie breeding adventure, we thoroughly investigated the predominant practice of tail-docking in baby Aussies. Although it might have been a reasonable basis for docking working dogs in harsh environments, we found absolutely no other reason for cutting off the tails of newborn Aussies!
Today, the vast majority of these popular dogs do not work the fields like their ancestors did. Many enjoy a very light workload in pleasant surroundings, and in fact must be exercised and encouraged to play and stay active. There is no valid or logical reason for docking their tails. For us, tradition and custom do not justify this barbaric and painful procedure.
Is Docking Painful?
Yes! Although there may be a few enlightened veterinarians who anesthetize the poor creatures before docking, most breeders/professionals do it without anesthesia or sedation. The newborns are easy to restrain for the procedure, and many claim the puppies cannot feel pain at that age.
Hogwash!!! I worked as a veterinary assistant, and witnessed this procedure multiple times. Dog tails are typically chopped off without any numbing or sedation, and the dogs absolutely screamed in pain.
So the next time you are turned away by a breeder for even asking about not docking a puppy, rest assured that YOU are the compassionate one, not him or her, and continue with your quest to find Aussies With Tails, like we offer here at Buck Hill Aussies!