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Discussion Starter #1
Opinions on docked vs undocked? My breeder asked if I had a preference but I’m 50/50. I’ve only seen in person poodles with docked tails. how long are the tails? I know too short of a dock and it’ll be hard to get a decent Pom. What are some thoughts on it look wise do longer tails automatically equal better easier poms? is it hard to keep the hair on the tail detangled?
 

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Since poodles are usually not bred with a long tail, breeders have not done any selection in that area, so it’s always a surprise what the tail is going to look like and how the dog will carry it.

I have Merlin, docked and when I got Beckie, docking had become illegal in my province so Beckie was undocked. At first I found it really strange, but now I really prefer it over a docked tail ! I find it makes the dog more balanced.

I would want a natural tail anytime over a docked one now. Mind you Beckie’s tail is really nice and she has a nice carriage as well.
 

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I know this is the trend now, but I still love a docked tail. My toy poodle was docked really short way back then, but Zeke’s is longer where it curves up over the back and I do prefer that. Love to see it standing up like a flag.


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Willow's tail is docked, but our new puppy Kiki's undocked tail curls over her back, like our Maltese dog's tail. It's very cute and looks great.


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Tails have been undocked in the UK for some years now. I find dogs look better balanced with a full tail, and use it more expressively, especially in dog to dog communication.
 

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I prefer a long show dock. The pups are docked at a couple days old. I've assisted at dockings when I worked for breeders years ago and they barely felt anything, most never even had a spot of blood and were back nursing with their dams minutes after. Also, unless your breeder is either docking or leaving natural tails on the entire litter, I don't know how they can ask you for a preference. As noted, docking is done at a couple days and there is no way a breeder should be able to know which puppy you are getting until they do temperament testing and conformation evaluations, which occur long after 2 days of age......
 

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I like a docked tail. It stands up straight and is very expressive. I don't know why people think it's not expressive. I found a docked tail to be intensely expressive because of the speed at which it wags. Straight up adorable. I even wrote a poem about my Doberman's tail. And the poodles have a rather long dock. I do not find it to be cruel if it is banded when they're 2 or 3 days old because the part of their nervous system is not complete until 14-21 days...the pain receptors that have to do with the spinal cord. I don't know that I'd go for surgical docking...probably more healing involved after. But banding is a simple procedure if done within the first few days as far as I've understood from my breeders. (Doberman and poodles) It is not going to hurt your puppy. I do not believe that there's pain from what I've been told by several breeders of traditionally docked breeds. I think my poodles look very balanced, happy, "expressive" and beautiful. And yep, if you like a pom pom....

imagesBYCFFFN5.jpg



That Dober Tail

A mile a minute it would go,
That Dober stub of a tail,
It didn’t sway in easy flow,
But things stayed on the table.

How expressive, that Dober tail,
Inside his mind I’d know,
Humor abounded without fail,
Back and forth, that Dober tail,
Wish he didn’t go.
 
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Reactions: Vita and dogsavvy

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I prefer docking. My Giant Schnauzer is both docked & cropped, as were my Dobermans. I like my Standard Poodle with his long cropped tail. I have no trouble finding him in high brush or weeds. I don't know about poodles but in Dobermans I have seen one natural tail broken in the field, saw another caught in the fence when it sliced the tail. I like the docked tail & do not see how anyone thinks they aren't expressive. My guy talks with his tail all the time.


I have held puppies during docking. Most of them object to the position they are being held in more than the docking. Science tells us when their nerves develop & while I don't put a lot of stock into many of the things science says, this is one thing I do. Why? Because I have held puppies during docking, have assisted in the docking. Banding isn't a bad method. I prefer to just remove the tail. part being docked. Depending on the breed or the length of dock, it can require a stitch or two, sometimes not at all. I've seen whole litters done with only a tiny bit of blood. And again the puppies don't cry or complain (which is why I believe science when it says their nerves haven't developed that way yet). A couple of the vets & I experimented with positions we held the puppies in while they were being docked. A whole litter of Rotties where in only two pups fussed (& they were NOT crying out in excruciating pain). They wanted to nurse & dang it, they wanted it NOW! since we woke them up. The rest of the litter was docked, cauterized, stitched, ointment applied & put with their mother & went straight to nursing. Whole litter of Dobermans with pups who even stretched in my hands like puppies do when they first wake up while being docked (again this is not a response from pain).
 

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They cry out when they are banded or docked. That is a fact. I'm not going to argue further because I know I'm not going to change anyone's mind. We'll just have to agree to disagree.

The one thing I can agree with you on is that I like the look of a long dock. Both of my poodles have "perfect" long docks and nice tail sets, and they carry them beautifully.

But, if I ever were to become a breeder, tails would be left natural.
 

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Likewise. Agree to disagree. It's a matter of different experiences. Had I experienced puppies crying out in pain I would question the science but that's not what I saw. I always held the puppies in position, soothing them til they fell back to sleep always had Mom on standby for nursing afterward. Had very few instances of what you describe. Same with dewclaw removal.

I didnt think I'd like the long docked tails but when Mr. Layne's tail is up hes easy to find.

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There are a number of videos on Youtube of puppies being docked. The ones I watched showed no reaction from the puppies other than objections to being held. They did not cry out, they did not move in protest. When they were put down they immediately went back to what they were doing before. It's not pleasant to watch a scissors cutting off a pup's tail, but to all appearances the pups did not notice.

These are very young puppies. If the docking is done later than a couple of days old the puppies will notice and will feel pain and will protest.
 

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There are a number of videos on Youtube of puppies being docked. The ones I watched showed no reaction from the puppies other than objections to being held. They did not cry out, they did not move in protest. When they were put down they immediately went back to what they were doing before. It's not pleasant to watch a scissors cutting off a pup's tail, but to all appearances the pups did not notice.



These are very young puppies. If the docking is done later than a couple of days old the puppies will notice and will feel pain and will protest.


I have been present for a few litters who had their tails docked. My observation is the same. The puppies whined at being picked up, but not a larger reaction to the docking. When put down they stopped whining. I fostered a poodle who had puppies, and there was no reaction from them either. It was done before they reached 72 hours old and it was fine. The vet that came out said right around that time is the optimal point at which to do it.


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I've watched my cocker spaniel pups get their tails docked on their 3rd day of life. A topical anesthetic was put on these and the dewclaws. Not so much as a peep in protest. The vet said the trick is to cut between the tail joints cartilage, no later than 5 days of age. No pain = no worry or guilt.

Some states allow docking a few days more, but beyond this, you're getting into pain territory. I think all states have a very short time limit after the date of birth when docking can be done legally by a vet. Personally I think the sooner the better, while the window of opportunity is wide open.

On tail docking a poodle, 1/4 to 1/3 at the tip should be removed, depending on the size and length. I read elsewhere that taking off 1/2 to 1/3 is appropriate. No,not true. One half is too much.


My 2nd poodle, Sachii, has an undocked tail. I thought it was a long tail dock when I got him and was mildly disappointed when I found out b/c doing a pom is impossible.

While undocked poodles are still cute, there is a sheer elegance of a well groomed poodle in a good clip with a tail dock and pom. Here is one of my favorite photos of a Champion toy from Smash Poodles:

 

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Discussion Starter #20
I prefer a long show dock. The pups are docked at a couple days old. I've assisted at dockings when I worked for breeders years ago and they barely felt anything, most never even had a spot of blood and were back nursing with their dams minutes after. Also, unless your breeder is either docking or leaving natural tails on the entire litter, I don't know how they can ask you for a preference. As noted, docking is done at a couple days and there is no way a breeder should be able to know which puppy you are getting until they do temperament testing and conformation evaluations, which occur long after 2 days of age......
the litter is due in a few weeks and mom is known for having small litters only
1-3 puppies. I’m first pick of the litter the other person waiting doesn’t mind either way. I’ll know which is my puppy in the first 2 or 3 weeks.
 
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