Why Not to Dock Your Corgi’s Tail?

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Written By Dane Michael

I am a passionate dog owner for 10+ years. MyFavCorgi is a community of 500,000+ corgi fans with advice to buy, raise and care for your corgi.

Corgis are born with tails. But many breeders choose to dock the tail.

Tail docking means cutting off the a corgi’s tail. This is done by a vet with surgical scissors.

Tail docking was first done to prevent injury to the corgi while they were herding or if they ended up in fights with wild animals. It was so common in history that it’s now part of the American Kennel Club breed standard.

But it is risky. Docking can cause lots of health problems down the line. These can often outweigh the benefits of doing it – and that’s why I recommend you not dock your corgi’s tail.

As a long-time dog owner and corgi fan, here are my top 5 health issues you need to be aware of when thinking about tail docking.

Why corgis fight? Here are three corgi puppies rough-housing in the green grass.

1. Immediate pain and discomfort from tail docking

Contrary to popular belief, puppies feel pain when you dock their tail. Which you could expect. Imagine someone taking a knife and slicing your finger clean off.

This procedure involves severing nerves, muscles, and even bone

This surgical procedure involves severing nerves, muscles, and even bone. This causes acute discomfort throughout the process.

Even after the wound heals, some dogs may experience long-term pain from nerve damage.

How Much Exercise Do Corgis Need? This corgi is happy running outside in the backyard.

2. Long-term risks of infection and complications from tail docking

While tail docking may seem like a quick aesthetic fix, the long-term health concerns and unintended consequences shouldn’t be ignored.

When you dock a corgi’s tail, it creates an open wound vulnerable to infection.

This vulnerability can persist weeks after the surgery, especially if proper aftercare isn’t diligently followed. Infections can range from mild skin irritations to life-threatening sepsis, requiring medical intervention and adding emotional and financial strain.

A dog’s tail isn’t just for show; it’s a built-in shield. It protects the sensitive areas around the anus and lower spine from injuries caused by rough play, accidental bumps, or environmental hazards.

Removing this natural protection leaves your dog exposed to potential harm and puts their well-being at unnecessary risk.

Do Corgis Fart? Yes. This corgi puppy with a short dock tail might be ready to do one now.

3. Communication is harder without a tail

Corgis are great at adapting and communicating even without a full tail. They’re smart dogs, after all. But having one offers better ways to express themselves.

With a full tail, they can show a wider range of emotions like excitement, caution, or fear through different wagging motions. This makes their intentions clearer to both dogs and humans.

A wagging tail is a universal invitation to play for dogs. Corgis without tails may miss this cue, leading to misunderstandings in doggy interactions. A raised tail can deter aggressive behavior from other dogs, which corgis without tails might struggle with.

To compensate, corgis without tails use body language, facial expressions, and sounds to express themselves.

They rely on eye contact, head tilting, and physical actions like nudging to convey emotions, ask for attention, or show affection. They also use barks, whines, and sniffing to communicate and learn about their environment.

While corgis without full tails can still use the remaining part to signal excitement or happiness, it’s not as good as having a full tail. That’s why I suggest your not dock your corgi.

A corgi trying to listen for their friends in the grass. You can see their round butt with dock tail and tiny facial features.

4. Harder to balance when you dock your corgi’s tail

Corgis are great at staying balanced and agile. However, when you dock their tail, it can be tougher for them. This is especially true when they are young.

Tails can act as counterbalances during quick turns, sharp stops, and jumps. By adjusting position and movement, they help maintain centre of gravity and stability.

Without tails, corgis try to stay balanced by having a low centre of gravity, strong muscles, and making adjustments with their bodies and remaining tail stub.

Despite having short legs, corgis have powerful muscles, especially in their hindquarter. This helps give them the strength they need to stay balanced – but this can get tiring. If you choose not to dock their tail, it will help with this balance.

Are Corgis High Maintenance Dogs? This corgi is being naughty, hiding in the garden away from his owner.

5. Psychological impact when your dock a corgi’s tail

Tail docking poses risks for ongoing pain and discomfort.

Imagine your spine abruptly ending without the natural support of your tail. That’s the reality for many docked dogs.

This can lead to chronic pain at the docking site, often manifesting as sensitivity, discomfort, and even painful neuromas – tangled nerve endings that fire erratically, causing constant discomfort. While often unseen, this chronic pain can significantly impact your dog’s quality of life.

Some corgi may experience phantom limb sensation. This is when they perceive their tail to be present even after removal. This can be distressing and confusing for them.

While research on the prevalence and impact of phantom limb sensation in docked dogs is ongoing, chronic pain is a key welfare concern.

The physical trauma and pain associated with tail docking can also have psychological consequences. Suddenly altering a dog’s body can be disorienting and emotionally challenging, further contributing to these negative impacts.

Should I Get Two Corgis? Here's two corgis playing together in the grass outside. It is good for them to socialise with each other.

Final thoughts on why not to dock your corgi’s tail

Tail docking is an elective procedure, not a medical necessity. Many countries have already banned the practice, and veterinarians increasingly advise against it – including the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Before making this decision, weigh the potential long-term risks and hidden costs against the often unsubstantiated aesthetic benefits.

I suggest you embrace your dog’s natural form and allow them to experience the full range of physical and emotional well-being that comes when you choose not to dock their tail.

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