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Discussion Starter #1
Why are undocked tails considered a fault in show dogs? This "fault" is gorgeous...

We have Standard Poodles. Our older one's tail is docked to the normal length for poodles (short enough that it stands straight, but not so short that it's stubby).

But our two 4-month-olds have longer tails... long enough that they curl up over their backs. In showing Poodles, this is considered a major fault.

I understand why Poodles' tails came to be docked traditionally (they were bred as hunting dogs and their tails are thin enough that they can actually break while they're working, supposedly), but I don't understand why a natural unaltered tail is still considered such a huge "fault" in the show ring.

Look how gorgeous my puppies' tails are... it's just so beautiful and regal to me to see those noble tails sweep up high. Am I crazy for thinking unaltered tails are so beautiful? I know there are similar debates about ears etc., but there is truly no practical reason for Poodles to have their tails docked so short that they don't have that beautiful natural curl -- is there?

 

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Re: Why are undocked tails considered a fault in show dogs? This "fault" is gorgeous.

They originaly docked poodles tails to prevent them from getting injured while they were working as retreviers.
 

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Re: Why are undocked tails considered a fault in show dogs? This "fault" is gorgeous.

IIRC, there's at least one natural tailed poodle with points. Breeders are docking longer and longer and I'm positive there are natural-tailed poodles being shown in UKC.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Re: Why are undocked tails considered a fault in show dogs? This "fault" is gorgeous.

They originaly docked poodles tails to prevent them from getting injured while they were working as retreviers.
Yes, I know, I said that in my post... does that mean all show Poodles are working hunting/retrieving dogs? If they're not, why must a show dog be penalized for something that's irrelevant and is really a "practical mutilation" for only the ones that actually hunt/retrieve?

eta:
IIRC, there's at least one natural tailed poodle with points. Breeders are docking longer and longer and I'm positive there are natural-tailed poodles being shown in UKC.
That's good to know and what I would hope and expect to be the case. Thanks for letting me know that! That also answers the question I had been wondering: why our breeder docked their tails so long since she breeds show-quality Standards.
 

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Re: Why are undocked tails considered a fault in show dogs? This "fault" is gorgeous.

Ugh.. it's just the AKC (and similar groups) and their bizarre "standards".. I don't know why any one in their right mind would choose a short little stump of a tail over a beautiful, curly tail.. There's a lot of controversy over this about how dogs use their tails to communicate their feelings and communicate with other dogs, and removing it makes them less-able to do that. There have also been a lot of posts on this topic before, and I have yet to be convinced that any dog should have it's otherwise healthy, beautiful tail cut off.
 

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Re: Why are undocked tails considered a fault in show dogs? This "fault" is gorgeous.

They originaly docked poodles tails to prevent them from getting injured while they were working as retreviers.
And since the breed is distinguished by their purpose, I can see tradition playing a part in dog shows. I can understand why undocked tails would still be considered a fault... but at the same time, I agree that they look much better intact.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Re: Why are undocked tails considered a fault in show dogs? This "fault" is gorgeous.

I don't know why any one in their right mind would choose a short little stump of a tail over a beautiful, curly tail.. There's a lot of controversy over this about how dogs use their tails to communicate their feelings and communicate with other dogs, and removing it makes them less-able to do that. There have also been a lot of posts on this topic before, and I have yet to be convinced that any dog should have it's otherwise healthy, beautiful tail cut off.
Thank you... I completely agree with this. It breaks my heart when I see dogs whose tails are docked way too short and they just have the tiniest little stump left that they're barely able to wag. I had always thought my older dog's docked tail is fine (it's long enough for her to be plenty expressive) and beautiful as is, but seeing my puppies' longer curling tails just takes my breath away. The snapshots I posted above don't come close to showing how beautiful they are. Not to mention, like you said about using their tails to communicate, my puppies sometimes do straighten their tail (if they're being extremely focused on something)... but their normal, happy, playful tail position is curled high... it makes me wonder if our older Standard Poodle is missing out on some tail expressiveness because hers is docked.
 

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Re: Why are undocked tails considered a fault in show dogs? This "fault" is gorgeous.

this and the ear cropping is a small part of why i chose the Border Collie and why i don't get into conformation showing.....when they start showing Borders as a Border Collie and not a "Barbie" Collie (where the ears have to be a certain set, when the BC's can go from totally erect to totally dropped, and the white has to be white, no ticking, etc) i might consider it....in the meantime, i'll stay w/ my natural, working style Borders....
 

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Re: Why are undocked tails considered a fault in show dogs? This "fault" is gorgeous.

My Boxer is completely natural. We get asked all the time due to this what the deal is, but he's beautiful natural.
 

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Re: Why are undocked tails considered a fault in show dogs? This "fault" is gorgeous.

Frankly, I see poor docks very rarely from show folks. The trend is towards longer stuff and as judges get more used to seeing that, I think we'll begin seeing more and more undocked dogs. However, it's not going to start with poodles or dobes or any of the really hypercompetitive breeds (boxers)- probably some of the rarer spaniels and the more recently recognized breeds where a lot of the first dogs judges are getting a look at are imports from Europe.
 

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Re: Why are undocked tails considered a fault in show dogs? This "fault" is gorgeous.

They originaly docked poodles tails to prevent them from getting injured while they were working as retreviers.
Do Poodles have super-long tails for a retriever breed? Most other retrievers aren't docked, are they?

Here is a nice pic of adult undocked Poodles I found:






Some of the really old (1800s) images of poodles show them undocked. It doesn't seem like it was always the requirement. Here is an undocked AKC champion (Styx) from 1886. I love how the 'fashionable' poodle clips had such variety back in the day! My favorite style has to be the corded type. =)
 

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Re: Why are undocked tails considered a fault in show dogs? This "fault" is gorgeous.

Do Poodles have super-long tails for a retriever breed? Most other retrievers aren't docked, are they?
No, but while Poodles were retrieving birds, their immediate ancestors (waterspaniels and the barbet) are all considered spaniels, not retrievers. :)
 

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Re: Why are undocked tails considered a fault in show dogs? This "fault" is gorgeous.

I have to admit, I do like the look of a docked pembroke welsh corgi. I have to wonder, though, why cardigans are not docked? I know traditionally they are not, and I have only seen a few that have been. I understand that pembrokes are docked due to them being herding dogs, but cardigans are also herding dogs. Just odd that one would be docked and the other not.
 

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Re: Why are undocked tails considered a fault in show dogs? This "fault" is gorgeous.

I have to admit, I do like the look of a docked pembroke welsh corgi. I have to wonder, though, why cardigans are not docked? I know traditionally they are not, and I have only seen a few that have been. I understand that pembrokes are docked due to them being herding dogs, but cardigans are also herding dogs. Just odd that one would be docked and the other not.
Because the Pems were originally (mostly) natural bobtails. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Re: Why are undocked tails considered a fault in show dogs? This "fault" is gorgeous.

Some of the really old (1800s) images of poodles show them undocked. It doesn't seem like it was always the requirement. Here is an undocked AKC champion (Styx) from 1886. I love how the 'fashionable' poodle clips had such variety back in the day! My favorite style has to be the corded type. =)
Thanks for those links... interesting stuff! I would love for it to someday be commonplace in the U.S. for certain traditionally-docked breeds to be undocked, with docking being the exception when there is a good specific reason for it.
 

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Re: Why are undocked tails considered a fault in show dogs? This "fault" is gorgeous.

There are still corded poodles shown today, and some variety in clips. :)

Here's a corded poodle at Glen Rose back in January -



There was a dog in a hunting continental (a shorter continental clip) too, but I can't find a photo of him.
 

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Re: Why are undocked tails considered a fault in show dogs? This "fault" is gorgeous.

And since the breed is distinguished by their purpose, I can see tradition playing a part in dog shows. I can understand why undocked tails would still be considered a fault... but at the same time, I agree that they look much better intact.
I don't really understand. Is a poodle not a poodle if his tail isn't cut off?

I mean, how can the natural look of the dog be considered "faulty". That makes no sense to me.
 

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Re: Why are undocked tails considered a fault in show dogs? This "fault" is gorgeous.

Ugh.. it's just the AKC (and similar groups) and their bizarre "standards".. I don't know why any one in their right mind would choose a short little stump of a tail over a beautiful, curly tail.. There's a lot of controversy over this about how dogs use their tails to communicate their feelings and communicate with other dogs, and removing it makes them less-able to do that. There have also been a lot of posts on this topic before, and I have yet to be convinced that any dog should have it's otherwise healthy, beautiful tail cut off.
Its not the AKC.... or the UKC, FCI, etc. Those are registering bodies. The AKC and other regestering bodies do not set breed standard. The breed clubs do. IF someone chooses to take issue with docking, cropping or any part of the standard then they need to look at the breeders, fanciers, and owners that make up the membership of the breed club.



On another note. As someone who has had a dog that incurred a serious tail injury (they ended up having to remove three or four inches of the tail) in a working situation, I will tell you it is no fun. My previous ACD injured tail working stock. The repair involved surgery, medication, e collars, etc. Surgery alone was about 1200. Then there was the after care, the 500 dollar professional cleaning to the interior of my truck. (truck was nearly brand new and looked like a prop in a B grade horror film. Blood sprayed EVERYWHERE) The cleaning did not completely remove some of the stains. The passenger seat had blood stains on it when I traded the truck. Try driving to the ER vet alone, trying to hold a dogs tail that is profusely bleeding, and a dog that is refusing to sit still.... It was not a good time.

And ACD's do not have fragile tails. They tend to have dislocate your kneecap tails. I will still work my current and future ACDs. I will not cut their tails because I kind of think what happened to Bandit was fluke. (Although since Bandit injured his tail, I have met three other ACDs with work related tail injuries.) I also think ACD's need their tail for balance with the low to the ground way they work and cut.

But I will tell you this, if I had a breed that called for a docked tail and the tails of that breed were fragile or whip like, it would come off at three days of age.
 

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Re: Why are undocked tails considered a fault in show dogs? This "fault" is gorgeous.

Hm, I am sure it is partly because it is what I have had for the past 30 years but I have to say, I really appreciate a docked tail.
Today at the Pet Expo with hundreds of people and wheel chairs and kids. Dogs were getting their tails stepped on every little while. My poor partner in the working group was a St. Bernard who got his tail stomped many times today. Nobody stepped on Carstens tail and when I work around wheelchairs during therapy stints, I am so happy I don't have to worry about a tail.
 
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