Good Question: Why Do Certain Dog Breeds Have Docked Tails?

(SIOUX CITY, IA) - Friday's 'Good Question' was more of a 'ruff' one. There are 175 registered dog breeds in the U.S. according to the American Kennel Club. Their color, size and tails vary widely.

Dean Bodholdt from Storm Lake, Iowa asked, "Why is it with certain breeds of dogs (like Schnauzers, for instance) that vets cut their tails off just after birth?"

We sent Siouxland News Reporter Olivia Wilmsen to find out.

Lucky and Skylar have been by Aaron Siders' side since they were six months old. By that time, both already had their tails docked - what you'd typically see on any miniature schnauzer.

"I just thought it was part of the dog," said Siders with a laugh.

"There are certain breeds that are actually born with short tails such as corgis, but other breeds have short tails - but they're not born that way. They're actually docked," said Dr. Tammy Loberg, a veterinarian at Singing Hills Animal Hospital.

There are a few reasons why dog breeds like Schnauzers have docked tails. Ultimately it comes down to tradition.

Schnauzers and other dogs are only three days old when veterinarians clip their tails.

"So after they're born, three days. Yeah, that's very surprising to me," said Siders.

According to the American Miniature Schnauzer Club website, a schnauzer will be penalized at a dog show if it doesn't have a docked tail.

"That to me is pretty crazy. I just don't understand why the way a dog's tail looked would be something that would penalize them in a dog show."

Dr. Loberg said years ago vets thought it helped a dog's health.

"As far as maybe strengthening their backs, making them faster runners," said Dr. Loberg.

"I guess the one good thing about having docked tails is I can save lamps and vases and things around the house so that way they're not broken," said Siders with a smile.

Other breeds with docked tails include German Short-Haireds, Yorkshire Terriers, Boxers and several more.

Dr. Loberg questions whether vets should continue to dock certain breeds' tails, but it's up to the breed clubs. If you've got a Good Question you'd like us to answer drop us an email: or post on our Siouxland News Facebook page.