Why Are Australian Shepherds’ Tails So Short?

You might be wondering if Australian shepherds are the only type of shepherds who have a short tail. The answer is no, as long as they are purebred they can also have a longer tail. Because Australian shepherds were bred to suit their climate and terrain, the tails do not need to be long in order for them to be able to manage their daily tasks. Many dog breeds have been developed over the years, but it seems that there might be a mystery behind the development of some of their most distinctive features- such as their tails.

This article will take a look into the history of how Australian Shepherds came to be, what the breed was originally used for, and why their tails are so short. It will also discuss some of the disadvantages that come along with this particular physical trait, and what you can do to help your pup.

What Does It Mean to Dock an Australian Shepherd’s Tail?

Most Australian Shepherds have docked tails. While docking is not a requirement for being a good Aussie, it is commonly done by owners who want their dog to have a look that is traditionally associated with Australian Shepherds. The tail is docked when the end is cut off just below the base of the tailbone. This procedure makes the tail shorter and more tapered, giving the dog a “wagging” appearance.

The tail of the Australian Shepherd is larger than the tail of any other breed, making it a marker of its heritage. Many times, the dog’s ancestors were used as “herding dogs” and kept with sheep. They would have an advantage in their ability to communicate directly to these animals by waving their tails like signals, which is why they are so large (and often scruffy).

Many owners choose to dock their Aussie’s tails because they think that it makes them look more like a pet dog. It also helps prevent damage during play or when a dog gets excited. Some owners prefer not to have docked tails, but these dogs can be prone to injury, and this can result in a nasty infection.

When does docking become mutilation? What about when vets do it wrong?

Docking should never be done when a puppy is under anesthesia or being sedated. It should also never be done on a dog who’s having a general anesthetic, which is necessary before surgery to correct any physical defects like faulty hips, knees, or elbows. There is no reason to remove a dog’s tail when he doesn’t need it removed.

In fact, it can interfere with his healing process and even lead to infections and open sores around the tail area. The only time docking is ever necessary for health or behavioral reason is if the dog has or will develop an ulcerated tail that could cause damage in the future from infection. Docking also shouldn’t be done until your pet reaches at least six months of age, which is typically achieved by 16 weeks of age on average.

Why Some Australian Shepherds Don’t Have Tails?

Actually without any solid reasons (medical or breed problem) every dog is born with a tail. Now the question arises why short not long below are the reasons:


Australian shepherds’ tails are typically very short, and this may be due to inbreeding. According to a study published in the Journal P One, Australian shepherds considered to be inbred have tails that are shorter than dogs from other breeds that are not inbred. The study used measurements taken from more than 1,000 dogs representing 34 different breeds.

The study authors say that Australian shepherds may suffer from tail docking, which is when the tail is cut off shortly after birth. This procedure is done to make the dog look more like a shepherd and reduce the chance of it being attacked by another animal. However, this practice may also be responsible for the shortened tails of Australian shepherds.

Bred Without Tail Or Having no Tail

Australian shepherds are typically bred with short tails because they work in hot weather. Some may have a genetic problem that causes their tails to be shortened, but most Australian shepherds’ tails are short because that is what is desired in the breed.

Australian shepherds were originally bred in Australia with short tails as a necessity for the job of herding livestock. This is because Australian shepherds are used to chasing after sheep and other animals, and their tails provide them with balance and maneuverability when running.

Predation or Illness

Australian shepherds are known for their short tails and this may be due to a genetic trait that is passed down from their ancestors.

Australian shepherds’ tails may also be shorter due to their working environment. Australian shepherds are bred to work on sheep farms where they must keep close track of their flock. This requires them to stay on their feet for long periods of time and there is a danger of being attacked. As a result, Australian shepherds’ tails are cut too short. 

To Prevent Injuries

Tail docking is not typically done for cosmetic reasons; it’s mainly done to prevent injuries from fly strikes. If a tail does get caught in something or if it’s injured, the shortened end can become entangled and cause pain or even injury.

Australian shepherds are natural herders and their tails help them keep track of all the animals in the flock. That’s why in order to ease their chores and daily lives their master keeps sure of their short tails.

Why Docking Instead of Breeding for Bobtails?

It is obvious that the percentage of breeding for short tails is less and it contains some serious threats to the health conditions. Australian shepherds’ tails are typically short because docking is the norm, not breeding. 

Docking is a surgical procedure that removes part of the tail, usually between the fourth and sixth vertebrae. It’s done to prevent the dog from getting tangled in its own hair and to avoid injury, especially to the hind legs. Bobtails have shorter tails than other breeds because docking makes them more agile and able to move faster.

However, there are a number of reasons why docking may not actually achieve these goals. First of all, it’s often done without proper consultation with a veterinarian. This means that the tail may be cut too short, or in cases of severe aggression, it may be chopped off completely. Additionally, docking does not always result in decreased aggression or violence; in fact, it has sometimes been shown to increase these behaviors.

What Is the Ideal Length for a Docked Tail of an Australian Shepherd?

The ideal length for a docked tail of an Australian Shepherd is between 3 and 4 inches. Tail docking is a common procedure performed on Australian Shepherds to reduce the risk of injury to the dog, other animals, and people. The surgery is usually done when a dog is puppies, but can also be done at any time as long as the dog’s tail is healthy.

While the length of a dog’s tail can vary, most Australian Shepherds fall within the norm for tail length. A docked tail is a common trait in this breed and typically ranges from 2 to 4  inches long. The docking process is done when a puppy is 8 to 12 weeks old and it involves cutting off about two-thirds of the tail’s length. Some people choose to have their tails docked because they think it looks better, while others do it because it makes the dog more agile.

How do you trim an Australian Shepherd’s tail?

Australian Shepherd’s tails can be trimmed in a variety of ways, but the most common is to cut the tip-off of the tail. This is done to control the tail’s length and prevent it from becoming tangled up in things.

Australian Shepherds are known for their short tails which some people believe is a result of their herding heritage. To trim an Australian Shepherd’s tail, you will need to first determine the length you would like the tail to be. Then, use sharp scissors to cut off the desired amount of hair. Make sure to avoid cutting into the skin below the tail. Repeat this process regularly to maintain your Australian Shepherds tail at its desired length.

Final Words

Australian Shepherds’ tails are traditionally short for several reasons. First, Australian shepherds were bred to work in hot, dry climates where a long tail would become tangled in the bushes or briars. Second, a short tail allows the shepherd to move quickly through the bush and keep an eye on his flock. Finally, a short tail is less visible to predators and is less likely to get caught and injured. 

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