10 Cute Dog Breeds Born Without Tails
There are people who like big dogs, people who like fluffy dogs, and people who like dogs without tails.
But unlike those first two characteristics, most dogs are born with tails. For many dog breeds, it is customary to remove the tail through a controversial process called docking. So what should you do if you prefer tailless dogs, but don’t feel so great about docking a puppy’s tail?
Perhaps the answer is a dog that is born without a tail — a truly wagless wonder! In this article, we highlight 10 super cute dog breeds born without tails.
1. Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
Though it is often mistaken for an Australian Cattle Dog with a docked tail, the Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog is indeed its own breed. These herding dogs are born with a bobtail, though every once in a while, one is born with a true tail.
According to the American Kennel Club, the standard for this breed is a tail that is no longer than four inches. Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs are incredibly smart and energetic, and are still used as working dogs on farms and ranches Down Under.
The breed has been developed to withstand harsh Outback environments while staying loyal to the sheep they’re tasked with herding. Pretty rare, these adorable tailless dogs are mostly found in Australia and Canada.
2. Boston Terrier
Although some Boston Terriers are born with tails, more and more are born with a very short tail. In fact, current breed standards dictate that any Boston Terrier with a long tail, or a tail that has been docked, cannot be registered as a purebred.
Like most terriers, Boston Terriers were originally bred for hunting rats and for use in pit fighting. Fortunately for all, their use has now evolved into that of a companion dog. Bostons have become increasingly popular in the United States, especially among families.
Like most breeds named after a city, Boston Terriers do well living in big cities and apartments. In addition to its nub tail, the Boston Terrier is known for its black and white pattern which resembles a tuxedo jacket. No wonder these dogs are nicknamed “The American Gentleman.”
3. Brittany Spaniel
Selective breeding over hundreds of years has resulted in three main varieties of Brittany Spaniels: long-tailed, short-tailed, and tailless. Oddly, most Brittany Spaniels born with long tails have them docked shortly after birth.
However, the most common type of Brittany is the short-tailed or natural bobtail. Originally bred in France as gun dogs for hunting, Brittany Spaniels are medium-sized dogs and smaller than other spaniel types. Many families are attracted to Brittanies because of their feathery coats and unique spotted patterns.
Brittany Spaniels are known to be very active dogs who love activity, water, and the outdoors.
4. Braque du Bourbonnais
Known in English as the Bourbonnais Pointer or Bourbonnais Pointing Dog, the Braque du Bourbonnais has been used as a hunting dog in France since the 15th century. Their name is pronounced brock-doo-bor-bon-NAY.
Bourbonnaises are small- to medium-sized dogs, with a short coat featuring unique fawn-colored spots and ticking. Though some Bourbonnaises are born with long tails, most are short tail pointers that are born with bobbed tails. The Braque du Bourbonnais is a very intelligent dog with a high level of stamina.
They are a popular choice of dog for French and American families who enjoy hunting and the outdoors.
5. Brazilian Terrier
Neither the American Kennel Club nor the UK Kennel Club recognizes the Brazilian Terrier, so this adorable breed is relatively unknown outside of Brazil, where it is very popular. Like many of the dog breeds on this list, Brazilian Terriers were once born with long tails.
Once Brazil banned tail docking for cosmetic purposes, terrier breeders began selectively breeding to produce dogs with very short tails. Now, most are born with nubs or tails that are just a couple of inches long.
6. Croatian Sheepdog
It wasn’t too long ago that the Croatian Sheepdog was born with a long and full tail that would be docked in preparation to herd. However, once tail docking became illegal in the Eastern European country of Croatia, selective breeding was the only way to continue the breed standard.
Today, Croatian Sheepdogs are born with small bobtails, or with no tail at all. Other features of this hardworking canine include feathery black fur and an angular face that resembles a fox. The Croatian Sheepdog is a medium-sized dog that has long been used to herd sheep and other farm animals.
They are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and extreme agility. Croatian Sheepdogs are rare in the United States, but common in Croatia and surrounding countries.
7. English Bulldog
The English Bulldog is one of the dog world’s most easily recognized breeds. With their snub nose, a furrowed brow, overbite, and nubby tail, it’s easy to identify and love an English Bulldog. Though they can require a lot of special care, English Bulldogs are known for their easy-going, laid-back nature.
This is despite the fact bulldogs got their start helping farmers and butchers to control livestock. According to the American Kennel Club, the standard English Bulldog has a short tail that “may be either straight or ‘screwed’ (but never curved or curly).”
Selective breeding has resulted in most English Bulldogs being born with just such a tail, but in the case of exceptions, tail docking is often performed.
8. French Bulldog
According to the American Kennel Club, the French Bulldog is the fourth most popular dog breed in the United States. Because of its small size and easy-going nature, the Frenchie is especially popular in big cities where it is common to live in apartments.
Though today’s French Bulldog can be found lounging on the sofa in the living room, they were originally bred to rid mills and factories of mice and rats. Those early ratters had their tails docked, but generations of selective breeding have led to a modern Frenchie that is born with little more than a short, stubby tail.
If you are looking for a tailless dog without resorting to tail docking, then the French Bulldog is certainly a popular choice.
9. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is one of the United States’ most popular dog breeds. It’s also a favorite of royalty; Queen Elizabeth has bred and owned Welsh Corgis for decades. Like so many other herding breeds, Welsh Corgis originally had their tails docked
This led to a breed standard that states a Corgi’s tail should not be longer than nub-length in order to be considered purebred. Now that docking is banned or frowned upon in many places around the world, breeders of Pembroke Welsh Corgis avoid docking by using selective breeding to breed tailless Corgis.
The other type of corgi, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, is seen more often with a long tail.
10. Polish Lowland Sheepdogs
From the shaggy coat to the stocky build, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs share a number of physical characteristics with other national sheepdog breeds. This includes a barely-there stump of a tail. Polski Owczarek Nizinny, or PONs, are very popular dogs in their native Poland.
Though they were originally bred for herding, today’s PONs are mostly companion dogs and watchdogs. Just as many live in cities as do on farms. Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are very energetic dogs, and they do well in families who enjoy an active lifestyle.
Other breeds that can be born with very short tails include the Mudi, Spanish Water Dog, Swedish Farmdog, Austrian Pinscher, and some varieties of Fox Terrier.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the purpose of a tail on dogs?
With all this talk about tail docking and selective breeding, you may be wondering what is the function of a dog’s tail, anyways? Do dogs need their tails? A dog’s tail helps it to balance by adding weight to the opposite end of its spine as its head.
This is helpful when the dog is walking or trotting on an uneven surface like a rocky trail, or going up and down some stairs.
2. Why are some dogs born without tails?
In most cases, bobtail breeds are the result of many, many generations of selective breeding. Breeders and geneticists use an ancestral T-gene mutation to breed dogs with nubs or very short tails. Thanks to this gene mutation, breeders are able to maintain traditional breed standards without having to resort to painful tail docking.
3. What is tail docking?
Tail docking, officially known as caudectomy, is the removal of all or part of a dog’s tail. It is almost always for cosmetic purposes and is usually done within a puppy’s first few days of life. However, docking is controversial, because it rarely includes an anesthetic or painkiller.
It’s also no longer considered something that is necessary for a dog’s overall health or ability. In Ancient Rome, dogs had their tails amputated because it was believed a dog with a tail was more prone to rabies. Later, it was believed that a dog with a tail was superior at hunting.
For this reason, poor people who weren’t allowed to hunt game were forced to dock their dogs’ tails. From the 18th century onwards, tail docking was most common amongst working, herding, fighting, and baiting dogs. This was because a tail might hinder a dog’s performance.
It is from these traditions that many of today’s physical breed standards are set.
4. Is it legal to dock a dog’s tail?
In the United States, tail docking is both legal and common, and there are zero restrictions about who can dock a dog’s tail and why. In some places, such as Russia, tail docking is only legal when performed by a licensed veterinarian.
Still, in many other countries docking is completely banned with very few exceptions. Countries that ban tail docking include Australia, Spain, Italy, and Norway, to name but a few. There is a similar debate about cropping ears.
5. Why are some dogs’ tails docked, but not others?
Today, tails are usually docked for cosmetic purposes and to align with breed standards set by the American Kennel Club. Parts of these breed standards tend to be very controversial, mainly because they are based on a dog’s historic purpose.
Dogs that were once used mainly as hunting, herding, or working dogs are the breeds that most commonly have their tails docked today. Examples include Australian Shepherds (herding), Schipperkes (herding), Yorkshire Terriers (ratting), and Springer Spaniels (hunting).
6. What is the term for a dog that has no tail?
There is currently no universal name to describe a dog without a tail. However, terms for the absence of a tail include “docked,” “tailless,” or “bobtail.”
7. Are Boxers born without tails?
No. All Boxers are born with tails, though nearly all breeders dock their puppies’ tails in order to align with breed standards set by the American Kennel Club.
8. Are Dobermans born without tails?
Not only are Dobermans born with tails, but they are born with tails that are naturally longer than most dogs. Though more and more Doberman owners are choosing to keep their dogs’ tails natural, a docked tail is still the breed standard according to the American Kennel Club.
9. Are Rottweilers born without tails?
Like Dobermans and Boxers, Rottweilers are born with tails. Though Rottweilers’ tails were once docked to aid in their working and herding, these days they are docked purely for cosmetic purposes and to align with AKC breed standards.
10. Are Jack Russell Terriers born without tails?
The Jack Russell Terrier is another breed that is born with a normal length tail that is often docked for cosmetic reasons.
The Tail End
There are a ton of dog breeds that are commonly seen without tails to wag, but a comparative few are actually born this way. The rest undergo a procedure known as docking, which is controversial because it is often done without anesthesia and is therefore quite painful.
If you are one of the many people who prefer tailless dogs but feel uncomfortable at the thought of docking, then you could consider a breed that naturally does not have a tail. Great options include the Welsh Corgi, English Bulldog, Polish Lowland Sheepdog, and the Miniature Schnauzer, to name but a few.