View Full Version : Docking

10-14-2000, 01:57 PM
I'd be very interested to hear everyone's views on tail docking and ear cropping (ear cropping is illeagal in the U.K). Could you also tell me where you are from as it would be interesting to see if views differ from country to country, thanks.

10-15-2000, 12:56 PM
I feel that tail docking and ear cropping is cruel. I worked at a vet hospital for 4 1/2 years and I am sorry to say I assisted with many, many tail docking and ear cropping surgeries (along with declawing in cats) and it's very painful and unnecessary. 1/4 to 1/2 of the ear is sliced off, it's sick, the pups will sleep through the whole thing but they will wake to an aweful surprise http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/frown.gif it's only done for cosmetic reasons, there's absolutely no health benefit for slicing half an ear off and putting rolled up cardboard inside it and taping it all up so it'll stand up. It's just my opinion, but I think cropped ears are very ugly on dogs. I can't believe people think it looks better then a soft, natural, beautiful floppy ear. But it's not my decision. If the owners would have to watch one surgery I doubt they would put their dogs through it. It's very, very bloody, and it's very sad and gross to see 1/3 of an ear lying on the table like a cold, dead leaf. I wish it were banned in the USA as it is in the UK.

Tail docking (at least the procedures I assisted with) are done to 1-4 day old pups. No anesthetic is given, they just get this box full of adorable, beautiful puppies and an assistant pulls one out, put's it's butt towards the doctor, the doctor grabs his forcepts and in 3 slices the tail is off...then they proceed to stich up the bloody hole on the puppy. The puppy screams for it's life, there's no pain killers so it HURTS, no doubt! The doctors told me that they can't register pain when they are that young, but the scream that comes from those little lungs are like none I have ever heard. It obviously hurts them...how could it not hurt them? The tails are snipped off their bodies with no pain killers.

I have seen some problems from dogs having tails still intact so I know that it may have some health benifets to get them amputated unlike ear cropping. My first dog as a kid (beagle/shepherd mix) got a cut on the tip of his tail and every time he wagged his tail and it hit something (which was a zillion times a day) the cut opened up and he got blood splatters everywhere. The vet told my mom that she has the option of having his tail amputated so he would quit breaking open that cut he had but she opted to keep surgical tape on the tip of his tail instead. Some dogs benefit from a docked tail, but it's a very painful procedure. I don't recommend it and I would not ever do it.

10-15-2000, 12:58 PM
I forgot to mention...I am in Michigan in the USA

10-15-2000, 02:46 PM
I think that it is unnecessary. The breeds are naturally beautiful. They don't need cosmetic surgery!

10-15-2000, 07:26 PM
I think either way is fine.

10-15-2000, 09:34 PM
Interesting Hot topic depending on whom
you speak to.

I personally believe, if it is done for
cosmetic reasons than don't do it.
On certain dog breeds, the tail is docked for a purpose and it is not cosmetic.

U.S.A. : )

---<--<-<({@ ---<--<-<({@

10-17-2000, 08:19 AM
Thanks for replying,
I have seen tail injuries similar to the one you describe AdoreMyDogs, mostly in kenneled dogs where wagging tails bash against walls. Although bloody, boy can they spray it along way!, we never would of considered amputation. We used rigid plastic syringe covers and tape to protect the tip until it healed.
A a cosmetic option I can see no justification whatsoever for tail docking. In so called misunderstood breeds that have aquired reputations for aggression and unprovoked biting it is interesting that the main breeds in this group are usually docked,ie. rottie and doberman. Could it be that they truly are misunderstood as their body language is severly limited? Could some of these dogs think they are sending keep away messages clearly, which are not recognised without the tail, and then feel their only defense is attack?
As for it being necessary in working dogs... the main reason we would never consider docking for a minor injury is that our working dogs would have been severly hampered without a tail to use as a balance. Yes, you've guessed it, racing Greyhounds.
Ear cropping - monstrous and pathetic looking what would posess anyone to mutilate their animal in this way? I don't understand how the U.K. can see this as the barbaric practice it is and still allow docking for cosmetic reasons. Haven't we mucked around enough with dogs genetically for the "right look" and caused enough damage to their health and quality of life without interfering with a knife as well?

10-19-2000, 09:04 PM
I think that tail docking and ear cropping is not cruel. The Doberman's ears for example are croped because they are gaurd dogs, when you crop there ears they can hear better and if they are persuing an asalant(like a rober) they have nothing to grab on to because the ear is much smaller making it much safer for your dog.

I'm from the united states

[This message has been edited by ownerof3dogs (edited October 19, 2000).]

10-20-2000, 03:32 AM
Hi again,
I'm sorry, but, WHAT?!
I have been the criminal running away from attack dogs in training situations and believe me the last thing you would think of grabbing is a an ear! The UK police use mainly German Shepherds and, although their ears naturally stand erect, at the point of attack as the mouth opens the ears are automatically flattened to the head.By cropping the ears you are taking away the dogs natural ear posture and protection, leaving, if anything, more of a so called target.
All dogs that have floppy ears have the ability to prick their ears to focus on a particular sound. If there really was a case that cropping ears allows better hearing then we should start thinking about gun dogs, hunting dogs, in fact every dog that needs to hear! I can just see Beagles and Retrievers being next.
As for making life safer for your dog - you are taking away a major part of the dogs communication equipment, especially when coupled with docking. People will react differently to your dog ( which I suspect is the real motivation behind this mutilation) as they will be unable to judge the dogs intentions. Any sensible person would be wary of approaching and the dog will become used to this and find normal interaction unusual and difficult. This may lead to aggressive behaviour with no outward warning - this applies to interaction with other dogs too. I can well and truly see where these dogs get a reputation for unpredictable behaviour!
Please, if you are going to try and defend cosmetic mutilation come up with plausible arguments!
(p.s. I'm a pacifist really and don't like upsetting anyone!)

10-20-2000, 01:30 PM
I am glad there are more people out there who are equally as against cosmetic surgery to dogs as I am. It really is a matter of opinion, I am open minded to everyones' different opinion on this controversial subject of cropping and docking but I feel so strong about it, perhaps because i have seen first-hand how painful and un-necessary and sad it is to see ears sliced up.

There were 3 vets where I worked. All 3 would do the cosmetic surgery (cropping & docking) but all the vets knew that ear cropping was done for looks only, that it even causes more health problems then a non cropped ear. With the ear being erect, there's quite a bit more debris that flies directly into the ear, since there's no cover to protect it. Ear infections, ear odor, yeast infections, dirt, mud, bug bites, and "earwax" are a huge amount (in general) higher in the "cropped breeds". GSD's have erect ears but when you see the ears they have alot more hair in them protecting them from debris, where the ears in cropped dogs have little protection from dirt and junk getting into the ears. Genetically they are not meant to stand up so they are prone to problems when forced to do so.

I was a freshman in high school when I started working at that vet. I had always wanted to be a vet and was fortunate to get a job so young at a vet so I could get my "feet in the door" to vet school. Working at the vet all through H.S. and partly through college taught me that in order to make money, vets must do things that are not pleasant, things that they may not agree with. I decided that I could not hack off the god-given claws of cats, I could not slice off the tail of a newborn puppy with no pain killers and I most certainly could not slice up the ear of a sweet, trusting puppy because "it'll look better". I am glad I had the opportunity to work at that vet because it taught me that I did not want to be a vet, I want to be an animal lover. Although I would go home and sob almost every day from the trauma of screaming puppies, death, sickness, owner neglect, euthanasia and other things that are hard for a sensitive,animal loving high school kid to witness, working at that vet was necessary for my future "sanity" http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif

10-20-2000, 02:02 PM
Don't you think that the AKC has some culpability in the perpetuation of cropping and docking? People are so used to seeing what a purebred dog "should" look like, that they want their dog to meet those standards whether they intend to show it or not. I wish there were a way to make some impact with this organization, because I think some changes made by them would certainly make a big change in how many people would submit their dogs to this surgery.

[This message has been edited by RachelJ (edited October 20, 2000).]

karen israel
10-20-2000, 02:48 PM
AdoreMyDogs.. Thanks for the eye opener in vivid detail. You would have made an awesome vet but I totally admire you for standing up to your values and morals! Good for you! Love, Karen

10-20-2000, 02:52 PM
After reading some of your replies, I'm very interested in learning more about the reasons people have docked and cropped in the past. I'm not convinced that there's ever a good reason to dock or crop, but up until now I'd always assumed it was purely cosmetic, and therefore completely unnecessary.
I have heard that kennel clubs and groups that put on dog shows have relaxed their rules somewhat to include dogs that haven't been docked or cropped. Well, it's about time.
Our Welsh Corgi has a docked tail (done before we bought her--a side note is that she was rejected by the breeder because she wasn't show material). I'm not sure what would have possessed someone to dock a Corgi's tail for cosmetic reasons--have you ever seen a Corgi's rear end? It's really not terribly attractive--it looks like a gorilla's! So, I'm wondering if there's another reason.
If it were up to me, I'd say no crops and docks. I'm sure dogs of all breeds were doing just fine before we took our scissors to them.
(I'm in the US, in Texas.)

[This message has been edited by Smilla (edited October 20, 2000).]

10-20-2000, 04:39 PM

I agree with you that the AKC, and the CKC here, are partly responsible for the "perfect look" that these dogs have to have, in their opinion. I say, follow other countries in relaxing these rules. Let the dogs remain in their natural state.

10-20-2000, 06:20 PM
Hi again,
You asked for the reasons given for docking and in the interests of fair and informed discussion here are some that the AKC, as well as the KC in the UK will quote. As I just can't bear to be unbiased on this subject I'm afraid it may be a rather long post as my objections to their reasons just are just spilling out!
The old favourite is to prevent injuries to tails in working dogs. In Switzerland docking has been banned and a study was carried out by the AKC to monitor the amount of tail injuries that occured in longtail pointers as a pose to docked. By the age of three around 50% of long tails had had some injury to the tail.- Pretty impressive statistics until you really think about it. If I did a study of foot injuries in, say labs, and found that 50% of the studied animals had an injury to their front right foot as a pose to no injuries in dogs that had that leg amputated would anyone take me seriously? (Bear in mind that many of these injuries were very minor.)
Another reason in favour of docking is hygiene. In some breeds of dog, such as the Corgi and Miniature Schnauzer docking is to prevent fecal matter building up under the tail and health problems that would cause.- I can't understand why Cavaliers, Collies, Retrievers and countless other breeds with full coats and tails don't suffer except in rare cases.
Docking has been carried out for hundreds of years with no opposition.- Mmmm..so was slavery, witch burning and exposing unwanted offspring. The thing about time is that the human ideal is to learn over time about ourselves, our environment and the other species in it and work towards a beneficial future for all. Sometimes we see the light and have stopped burning witches etc.
If docking was stopped then the gene pool in many breeds would be dangerously depleted as not enough, otherwise good dogs, would have equally good tails or tail carriage to breed from. Some breeds may even dissapear and at best would suffer greater inherited abnormalities with such a restricted gene pool. - As docked breeds all have a small amount of tail left tail carriage is already part of the breed standard for these dogs!
If extremist animal right groups are allowed to push legislation through regarding docking it will only be a matter of time before they demand other changes in breed standards such as Basset Hounds without bowed (deformed) legs and Chows free from entropia.- I don't think it is extreme to want pain free pedigree dogs and to stop needless surgical mutilation. I think breed standards have pushed way too far into the realms of fantasy. To think of as normal dogs that can't whelp, breath or excersise without surgery, pain and stress is pretty b***** extreme if you ask me.
Seeing undocked dogs such as Boxers you will always wonder if they are pedigree. - I don't see how chopping off part of a dogs anatomy clarifies his parentage.
I could go on (and will with only the slightest encouragement!!!!) but I think you all need a rest from my ranting. Thanks for listening!

10-20-2000, 06:23 PM
After reading some of your replies, I'm very interested in learning more about the reasons people have docked and cropped in the past. >>>>>>

This is shure a HOT topic. http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif
I can only think of cosmetic reasons for
cropping,(which I personally would not
do) as for docking:
I believe tails were docked
for a valid reason in the past.
Docking was to protect a dog from injury such as being snagged or torn in the bush.
Unless you have a true active working
dog, than docking today would be purely for cosmetic reasons.
I too have dog with a Docked tail.
If I was givin the choice by the breeder
to dock or not to dock I'm
not shure what we would have decided.
JMHO http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif

10-22-2000, 10:30 AM
I worked for a vet for 4 1/2 years in the northeast U.S. who did not dock or crop. So to say that it is a part of being a vet isnt really true. Yes, he would have made more money by doing it. But he has managed to get by financially without doing it.( By the way he also treats large animals..another sure way to not make money. ) He did do declaws on cats but only if it meant the difference between the cat having a home and being surrendered to the shelter. Training and trimming the nails were always promoted as the best options.

10-22-2000, 11:43 AM
Hi again, you just can't shut me up!!
Docking tails was actually started as a way to avoid tax! Working dogs were docked to show that they worked and were a necessity. Pet dogs with a full tail were seen as a luxury and were taxed.

10-22-2000, 01:47 PM
this is to carrie

I have own more than one Doberman and my mom used to breed them. having there ears croped and there tails docked did not effect their temperment what so ever they were VERY friendly dogs.
also I was just sharing my opinion and what I have read in books

10-23-2000, 01:16 AM
I have just scanned thru some of your responses and it seems most agree with how I feel. Docking and ear cropping shouldn't be done. Dogs are beautiful just the way they are. Don't mess with the good thing nature has provided for us. Domesticated animals are dependant on humans for a healthy and fulfilling life. Why would we want to cut and crop there body parts just for our certain desires? They can't speak for themselves and if they could I'm sure they would throw a fit and say leave me alone!! We have to be their voice - as corny as that sounds. If cropping a tail is done because for a real purpose like to Australian Shepards then it's understandable (but only the tail!) But, if it absolutely doesn't HAVE to be done then I would leave it alone. I couldn't imagine putting a dog through that. One question though, isn't cropping a tail less harsh than the ears? It just doesn't seem like cropping a tail is all that painful or cruel. Not that humans would truly know what it feels like. I still don't advocate it though.
I live in Arizona and I worked at a vet's clinic for awhile and I think there was only one doctor in the entire Phoenix/Scottsdale/Mesa/Tempe area that cropped ears. No other doctor would do it! Thank God!!


10-23-2000, 01:41 AM
Well, I have read thru a few more postings and still agree with most of you. It seems like some people want to treat their dogs like trophys. I love all dogs and all breeds. If you own a dobie or a rottie or a boxer or whatever, just love him the way he/she is! I'm not against dog shows but I would never participate in them if I had a full breed dog. I will not own a pet just to show him/her off or just to breed them (I'm not generalizing anyone who owns a full breed dogs, just speaking as someone who knows people who own dogs just for that purpose... breeding and dog shows) Dogs are family to me. There are enough dogs in this world that need good homes and some really great mixed breeds out there. Mine included!!! I really don't want to offend anyone but we are all entitled to our opinions. This whole docking and cropping thing is really unecessary and is cruel. If I can stretch this a bit, it would be like a man or a woman finding a mate and changing everything that person stands for and they way he/she looks and them parading him/her around like they are a prize. I think dog shows should be more of a community event that just gives people a chance to present their dog to the world as a great pet and so they can meet other people and other pets. They should especially not exclude mixed breeds - Once mine are nominated for Dog of the Day you can all see just how beautiful mixed breeds are. I'm sure you all have wonderful and beautiful dogs and I can't wait to see their faces up here some day http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/biggrin.gif http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/biggrin.gif http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/biggrin.gif

http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gifAngel http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif (again)

10-23-2000, 08:14 AM

I have been involved in dog shows, only in the obedience area. If they would allow mixed breed dogs in obedience, I'd never own another purebred dog. I know some places are working on having the equivalent of this for mixed breed dogs, but it has not really caught on yet. I agree, dogs are family first and foremost, and I have dogs that are not involved in obedience at all. Makes no difference to me, I love them all.

10-23-2000, 08:51 AM
I will not own a pet just to show him/her off or just to breed them (I'm not generalizing anyone who owns a full breed dogs, just speaking as someone who knows people who own dogs just for that purpose... breeding and dog>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Not picking on you, and I agree
with part of what you say and do respect your opinion.
I do want to clarify
The purpose of showing in conformation
is to better the breed for the future.
It is TRUE, there are a few show breeders who
want a trophy/make a buck by breeding.
Most of the breeders who show,love their dogs,and do not make the bucks. They
take pride in breeding the best dog that fits
it's standard by looks and health/temperment and to better the breed for the future to come.
If it were not for the reputable breeders who care, and pour their hearts and money
into it. You would not have a pure bred
dog that fits the standard, which includes
not only looks, but health and temperment as well.
(I do not show nor do I breed.)
My pets come from either a shelter or a reputable breeder. http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif

10-23-2000, 09:37 AM
Hi, Dogncatluvr,
Is it true that they don't allow mixed breeds in obedience trials? I thought that they did. In Chicago, at the Dog Show, I saw some mixed breeds competing in obedience. Is it just in your state? I just noticed that you are from Canada, correct? Maybe there you can't have a mixed breed in obedience? :O

[This message has been edited by Sudilar (edited October 23, 2000).]

10-23-2000, 09:47 AM
I agree with KYS to a degree. It is not all the breeders or indeed the showing concept that is at fault. It is the people who set the breed standards and the judges that award the dogs with the most exaggeration of a point that need to change. This is how "normal" pedigree dogs have ended up with breathing, whelping and movement problems. The breeders are only trying to conform to an often ridiculous standards set by people who should, frankly, know better.

10-23-2000, 07:06 PM
Su, yes, I'm from Canada. As far as I know there are no licenced dog shows that allow mixed breed dogs to compete in obedience trials. I have heard of an organization that will give dogs the equivalent titles to CD, CDX and UD, but this is only for UNregistered 'purebred' dogs, i.e. this dog's dam and sire are both Goldens, but this dog is not registered. How they go about proving that, I don't know. If I am wrong someone please correct me. As to obvious mixed breed dogs, I have never heard of any official obedience trials like that for them. This is really a shame, because there are some smart mixed breeds out there. Having said all that, I will say again what I said above - my dogs are family first and foremost, the obedience thing is a hobby to keep them alert and happy.

10-26-2000, 05:32 PM
Thanks KYS for your clarification. I appreciate it. You sound very knowledgeable.
I guess those with pure-bred dogs that are very healthy with good bloodlines and temperment owe it to those good, dedicated breeders. I just hope those breeders that have dogs that normally have cropped ears and docked tails set a trend to leave these animals natural. I just don't see how that would better any breed. Thanks again http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif