Yorkie Tail Docking Vs Undocked: Learn The Facts

Have you ever wondered why most Yorkies don’t have a full tail? First, you should know that Yorkies have a full-length tail from birth. However, their tails are partially removed or docked at a certain point during their lifetimes. Why? In this article, we’ll look into it more.

Humans’ best friends are dogs. And dog owners leave no stone unturned to make their pet’s life as comfortable as possible. So, why are their tails docked? One of the most prevalent reasons to do so is for aesthetic purposes. It is mandatory to dock a Yorkie’s tail to compete in American Kennel Club shows. Isn’t that strange? Nevertheless, the fact remains that the lengthy and high-riding tail of an undocked Yorkie is unattractive to many people. As a result, tails are slashed!

All pet owners try to ensure that their pets are attractive and well-dressed. However, in some situations, if a group of people agrees on some of these cosmetic operations, they tend to impose them on others, making it almost mandatory. Docking a Yorkie’s tail is a living example of this.

This is, however, a controversial practice, so stay tuned if you want to learn more about the differences between an unlocked and a docked Yorkie tail. In this post, we’ll look at several aspects of the process and figure out why, how, and what’s going on.

Our discussion will be enjoyable for you.

Why Dock a Dog’s Tail?

Docking is the process of removing a portion of a dog’s tail. It is prevalent in many small and large dog breeds and is not restricted to Yorkshire Terriers.

The dog’s tail is a natural feature of its body. They use it to communicate with other canines and humans. That being said, there is no scientific basis for chopping off their tail. Furthermore, the owner’s participation in this procedure is entirely voluntary. Finally, you should know that docking a Yorkie’s tail is illegal in many countries and is only permitted if there is a medical reason.

Where it is lawful, however, the reasons may astound you. 

There are two primary reasons for docking Yorkei’s tails. One is to improve their general physical appearance, and the second is to be recognized by various kennel groups, notably the American Kennel Club.

However, if we check the history, we will find that the purpose of docking Yorkies’ tails was not cosmetic. Originally, Yorkies were not bred to be pets but hunting dogs. Their main task was to hunt and kill rats. In the hunting process, however, the dogs’ tails were often hacked off since they were large and prone to be bitten by the large rats. So, a docked tail aided the Yorkies in protecting themselves and making their hunting easier.

Does Docking Hurt?

Does Docking Hurt
Image Credit: Docking tails hurt from Pinterest

Docking involves slicing off a portion of the tail. Isn’t it going to hurt? It would, of course, unless anesthesia is used. 

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However, the sad part is that this practice is neither prohibited nor regulated in the United States. In fact, tail docking is done on newborn puppies while they are completely awake.

It is frequently assumed that because puppies take time to develop a complete neural system, docking when they are as young as 2- 5 days old would result in less pain. Also, sometimes, a rubber constrictor is inserted at the docking location. As a result, the blood supply is restricted, and the tip of the tail falls off after a few days.

Regardless of the procedure used, we should not assume that puppies are free of pain or discomfort. That said, docking does cause discomfort, even if to a lower extent.

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When To Dock a Yorkie Tail?

When To Dock a Yorkie Tail
Image Credit: A Yorkie puppy from Pinterest

Tail docking is not a necessary procedure. If the process is not for medical reasons, there is no science to back it. Still, if you want to dock your Yorkie’s tail, you should know when is the optimal time to do it.

When a Yorkie is still a puppy, it is always good to dock its tail. This period can last anywhere from 24 hours to 5 days after birth. This is because Yorkies’ full neurodevelopment takes approximately 2 to 4 weeks. As a result, docking before neural development results in reduced pain.

Docking a newborn Yorkie puppy entails slicing their tail partially or putting a band around the tip of the tail tight enough that it falls off within a few days due to the reduced blood flow.

In this regard, consider that chopping off Yorkie’s tail when it is young would help the injury heal faster.

Undocked Vs. Docked Yorkie- The Differences

Undocked Vs. Docked Yorkie- The Differences
Image Credit: A docked Yorkey from Pinterest

Does docking really create any difference? First, let’s cover some details about the differences between a docked and undocked Yorkie.

#1. Appearance

Tail docking creates a whole new appearance in dogs, including Yorkshire Terriers. A docked tail is supposedly the first thing to notice when encountering a Yorkie. A Yorkie’s natural tail is long and wraps up over the dog’s back. However, only a few inches of the tail remains dangling if it is docked. The “nub” is a term used to describe a short tail.

#2. Care

A Yorkie with a naturally long tail will not require any more care beyond what is required for long-haired canines. Yorkshires are a non-shedding breed; however, they must be brushed regularly to avoid mats and tangles.

A Yorkie with a docked tail, on the other hand, would require particular medical attention. To avoid infection, you must take care of the fresh wound as directed by the veterinarian right after the docking procedure. In addition, washing the site daily and applying a non-toxic antibacterial ointment would be required.

However, once the wound has healed fully and the hair has begun to grow, the amount of care required can be reduced to routine brushing. In reality, due to the removal of the tail, the care regime would essentially be lowered in a docked Yorkie after proper healing.

#3. Communication

We’ve already stated that dogs use their tails to express their emotions. As a result, docking would logically limit their ability to do so.

Dogs wag their tails to communicate contentment or fear, according to studies. As a result, you can read their attitude by looking at their tail: the wagging tail on the right side indicates happiness, while wagging on the left side indicates nervousness.

As a result, we may conclude that docking would impede the dog’s capacity to convey their emotions with other dogs and humans. So they may develop behavioral issues and become aggressive when confronted with stressful circumstances. They may also develop introverted personalities. However, these would be dependent on a variety of other things, including the location where the dog is staying.

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Problems That May Arise Due To Docking

Problems That May Arise Due To Docking
Image Credit: https://pethelpful.com/

Tail docking is a contentious matter. Animal rights activists frequently reject the operation since it entails many risks and concerns. The most common thing that animal lovers avoid doing to their Yorkies is causing them pain through this process. Apart from this, there are still other dangers to consider.

Let us explore them.

#1. Nerve Damage

According to experts, slashing the dog’s tail might harm the nerve system, especially if done by an inexperienced person. The dog could have problems managing urination and defecating due to the nerve injury. The pain from the nerve damage may also become permanent.

#2. Vertebrae Issues

If the cut is not made properly, the dog’s vertebrae may also get damaged, causing lifelong issues for it. 

#3. Balancing Problem

A tail can also be used as a balancer. As a result, dogs’ slashed tails may cause equilibrium issues, compromising their motor skills. In addition, docking is usually done when Yorkies are still babies. Hence, this issue is especially important since young Yorkies may not develop motor skills as adults due to their docked tails.

#4. Aggression

We’ve already mentioned that dogs use their tails to communicate with one another and humans. As a result, people who oppose tail docking argue that dogs may acquire behavioral problems due to their inability to express themselves in the way they should.

#5. Trauma And Pain

When discussing chopping off dogs’ tails, how can we forget about the agony and trauma it brings. 

Although it is claimed that docking Yorkies, while they are still babies, causes them less pain, it is unknown how much pain they actually experience. The operation’s trauma may have an impact on your dog’s daily life. And if they are not effectively healed, their adulthood may be negatively impacted.

#6. Death

Although the risk of death from tail docking is low, it is not unheard of. Excessive bleeding caused by the incorrect docking approach can, in fact, put your dog in danger of dying.

Should I Dock My Yorkie’s Tail Or Leave It Unlocked?

Should I Dock My Yorkie's Tail Or Leave It Unlocked
Image Credit: www.thegoodypet.com

After reading the above sections, you may wonder if you should dock your Yorkie or leave it unlocked.

This question’s answer is contingent on your preferences and circumstances. We use the word “circumstances” because docking is sometimes required to maintain a dog physically fit. In such a situation, consulting a professional veterinarian is absolutely necessary before making a docking choice.

It will help if you remember that this procedure is excruciating. As a result, conducting this unnecessary treatment would involve channeling your desire to conform to society’s imposed cosmetic norms by purposefully inflicting suffering on your dog.

You should also keep in mind not to choose this option if you live in an area where docking is restricted. Also, if you’re dealing with an older, ill Yorkie, you should avoid this practice. Because recovering from the docking process would be more difficult, if not impossible, for an elderly or sick Yorkey.

Docking- The Procedure

If you face a situation where docking is absolutely necessary, you should know how the procedure is carried out.

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The procedure is frequently carried out on puppies in nations where it is permissible to partially amputate the long Yorkie tail. However, it’s a complicated procedure requiring skilled hands and the appropriate equipment. So, if you are not a medical professional, you should never attempt to dock your dog at home.

There are two primary ways to choose from when it comes to the procedure:

#1. Banding The Area

The first option involves constricting the blood supply to the tail. It is done by securely attaching a string or a band to the point where you wish the tail to be cut. The tightly secured band would aid in restricting the blood supply, and the lower segment of the knotted portion would perish and fall off. It takes around three days for the puppy’s tail to fall off.

#2. Chopping Off Surgically

The second option is to have your dog’s tail docked by a veterinarian. Surgeons use surgical scissors or a scalpel to accomplish the procedure. This procedure is performed when the puppy is 2 to 5 days old. However, remember that anesthesia is not utilized during the technique because it is deemed dangerous at this age.

Busting The Myths Regarding Docked Yorkie Tail

Busting The Myths Regarding Docked Yorkie Tail
Image Credit: littlepawstraining.com

People who advocate docking their Yorkies believe in things that are not true. So, here are some of the common myths that we will debunk to better understand the process, its relevance, and its consequences.

Myth: Docking Yorkies at A Young Age Does Not Cause Pain

Reality: Docking is done on young puppies, preferably two to five days old. It is thought that puppies experience little discomfort at such an early age. However, even if they are just a day old, docking puppies would cause excruciating pain. We can’t say how painful the procedure is, but it’s a fallacy that it’s painless.

Myth: Tail Docking Is Done Under Sedation

Reality: This is a total myth. Some veterinarians may give adult dogs a local anesthetic, but little Yorkie puppies are docked without any anesthesia. This is done because newborn puppies are too fragile to be anesthetized.

Myth: Tail Docking Is Risk-Free

Reality: Docking should not cause any complications if done properly and under the supervision of an expert, although it is not completely risk-free. This operation, in fact, has the potential to cause nerve damage, vertebral troubles, joint problems, and other health complications. Furthermore, if Yorkies are not properly rehabilitated following surgery, they may have behavioral issues later.

Myth: Docking Enhances Your Dog’s Appearance

Reality: Docking does improve the outward appearance of Yorkies if we use the modern definition of appearance as given by some kennel clubs. This procedure is even required, in some places, for your dog to compete in several dog shows. However, in reality, docking the tail would merely change the appearance of the tail and nothing else.


So that brings us to the end of the article. We’ve done our best to present as much information as possible to help you comprehend the difference between Yorkie tail docking and undocking. 

A dog’s tail is an integral component of its body. Undocked Yorkies can be as healthy as any other dog if all other elements are in place. The decision to dock your Yorkie is entirely up to you. There is no legal requirement to do so. However, before deciding, we recommend gathering all relevant information regarding the process.

After all, you wouldn’t want to endanger your dog’s life.

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