Why Are Doberman Tails Docked?

doberman sitting in the bench

Dobermans are loyal, physically strong dogs that were initially bred in the 1800s. This dog breed is highly energetic and protective and is commonly known as Doberman Pinschers. They make excellent guard dogs and working dogs for security, farms, and ranches. They require regular exercise and play and must be trained to curb aggression.

Breed Characteristics

Every Doberman Pinscher, including various types of this breed, has specific markings on its legs, chest, face, muzzle, and tails. The color of their fur varies from black to brown and lighter shades. They have striking characteristics such as floppy ears and a tail, which is often docked.

There are reasons why Dobermans often have docked tails and cropped ears, which can pose a risk to their health or safety in certain situations. For this reason, some dog owners weigh the advantages and drawbacks of ear cropping and tail docking before they adopt a Doberman puppy.

The Reasons for Dog Tail Docking

Dobermans may have aggressive tendencies, and even if they are well trained, they may get into fights with other dogs or react quickly to sudden movements if they sense danger. In the event of an attack or fight, a Doberman’s floppy ears may get bitten or damaged, which can become a constant concern for pet owners.

An undocked tail can also be the target of another dog’s attack, which can cause injuries if it’s bitten or caught. Dobermans have fragile tails because they are thin, which makes tail injury more likely than in other dog breeds. The following reasons are often why dog owners may consider dog tail docking when they purchase or adopt a Doberman puppy.

Reducing the Risk of Tail Injury

There is a significant risk of tail injury when Dobermans fight with other dogs, especially if they are a guard dog, working dog, or come into contact with other pets. Since Dobermans have a thin, long tail, they are susceptible to serious injury and, in severe cases, may require a tail amputation if the damages cannot be repaired. Docked tails prevent dogs from suffering from the painful outcome of a bite or injury.

Preventing Diseases

Docked breeds, including Dobermans, may be more prone to rabies or other diseases if they do not have their tails docked. If they sustain an injury or break their tail in an accident, this could also lead to infection and other complications.

Increased Running Speed

Dobermans trained for sports and competitive activities run much faster with a docked tail. This practice also strengthens their back and protects their body from the impact of a tail injury, which is also essential for working dogs as it helps increase their running speed.

Cosmetic Purposes

Some dog owners choose to dock their pet’s tail for aesthetic purposes, as they prefer the appearance of a short, cropped tail to a long, thin tail. Since tail docking is commonly done to prevent injury to your dog and for dog health, some professional organizations do not support this practice as a cosmetic procedure.

The AVMA or American Veterinary Medical Association has been known to criticize this procedure, as it can inflict significant pain on puppies or adult dogs, and many feel this surgical procedure should only be done for medical reasons.

How the Practice of Tail Docking Has Changed

doberman sitting on ground

Historically, many kennel clubs and dog breed organizations supported the tail docking practice and often promoted both cropped ears and docked tails, though this has changed entirely in recent years.

Today, it is far more common that kennel clubs and competitions do not allow nor support these procedures. It is not unusual for these organizations to refuse the acceptance of dogs with cosmetic alterations for competitions or similar events.

Veterinarians similarly discourage this practice, as it does not improve your dog’s health or prevent ear infections and may not lower the chances of tail injuries.


While many organizations no longer widely support tail docking for Dobermans and similar dog breeds, this procedure is still performed for working dogs that function as security guards or similar functions. Some veterinarians perform this procedure, which is done surgically, though currently, some countries have banned or restricted this practice, as it can adversely impact animal welfare.

Overall, tail docking is in decline and not as widely accepted as it once was, especially if it’s done for cosmetic purposes only. It’s always best to consider the impact on your dog, whether you choose to dock your pet’s tail or have their ears cropped, and consult your veterinarian for advice. In most cases, a professional veterinarian can provide tips on preventing injury to your pet’s tail as an alternative to the procedure.

Posted in

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.