It is human nature to keep on inventing and improving on the things they make and also tinker with nature. One example is GMO, cloning, and cross-breeding. Mostly this is done to improve on yields or eliminate or enhance some desirable traits.
Tail docking of the Yorkshire terrier breed is a moot point. As per rules of the American Kennel Club (AKC), a Yorkshire terrier participating in their dog show must have its tail docked to medium length. Tail docking practice is banned in many countries of the world.
In the case of pet animals, some traits are desired just for cosmetic purposes, and if agreed upon by a group of people, then they enforce it in their group. For example German shepherd sloping back and Yorkie tail docking.
If you are interested to know more about this issue of Yorkie tail docking, or Yorkie docked tail problems, and other related questions then continue to read on. You will enjoy our discourse.
Why Do You Dock A Dog’s Tail?
On hearing the expression Yorkie tail docking, the first question which comes to mind is why yorkie tail docking in the first place.
A dog’s tail is natural part of the body and is overly used in its body language. In fact, it is an important part of communication with other dogs and humans also.
The dog conveys important messages through the action/position of its tail, like, fear, aggression, fondness, and many more, so there is no good reason for a Yorkie tail cut.
There is no scientific reason for Yorkie tail cut. In fact, in many countries docking tails of any dog is not allowed. Allowed only in very special cases of medical emergencies.
For some breeds, it may be practical to have a shorter tail, for easy performance of its duty/job. Otherwise, tail shortening does not enhance any qualities of the dog.
For small breeds, show and beauty dogs, aesthetics is the only reason to have a short tail. Some kennel clubs like AKC of USA will only accept a Yorkie for show competition if its tail is docked about half.
The Yorkie tail uncut stands above the dog’s headline. When docked the Yorkie tail up is in level with the top of the head, giving a more aesthetic appearance.
Yorkshire terrier has very thick and long fur, which needs a lot of care and maintenance. With a Yorkie tail uncut, that would be additional care and maintenance.
Does Tail Docking Hurt Dogs?
Definitely, a Yorkie tail cut or Yorkie tail docking will hurt, as the tail is part of the dog’s body and there are thousands of nerve ending in its tail.
Cutting it painlessly involve anesthesia and proper medical procedure to make it as painless for the dog as possible.
This is not a procedure to be performed at home. If not done properly and taken care of, an infection may develop and the dog might die due to it.
The only less painful way is right after the birth. At this stage, the puppy’s nervous system has not fully developed. A rubber constrictor is placed at the point where it is to be docked.
Due to reduced blood flow, the tip of the tail drops off in few days.
Is Tail Docking Necessary?
Dog enthusiasts who want to own a Yorkie wonder Yorkie tail docked or not. Tail docking is not required as a necessity.
In olden times, when there was not many scientific data available, people believed tail docking would prevent diseases, strengthen the back, help in increasing speed and prevent injuries in dog fights, etc.
Now a lot of research and available scientific data has made it easy for would-be owners to decide a yorkie tail docked or not. It is proven tail docking does not help any dog in increasing any of its powers or improving traits.
However, it may be advised for medical reasons, like in an injury, etc. It may be required in some breeds where it is practical due to the nature of the dog’s job, like a guard dog, police dog, comfort dog. But then again this is disputed.
Mostly it is done for aesthetic reasons only, especially for show dogs, as per requirements of the kennel clubs organizing the pet shows.
There are many breeds of dogs, whose tails have been docked naturally, called ‘bobtail’. This is done through genetically breeding. It is not classified as docking.
Why Are Yorkies Tails Docked?
It is not only yorkies that are docked. You will see many a long tail yorkie. Vets tell there are a good percentage of yorkie without tail docked at all.
If an owner has no plans to take his Yorkie to an AKC pet show, then there is no need for docking.
What Age Do Yorkies Get Their Tails Docked?
There are two good times when the Yorkie tail cut can be done.
- First is at infancy when the pup is 1 to 5 days old. Vets say Yorkie tail cut is easiest (and cheapest) just after the birth of the dog. The nervous system is not developed fully and the puppy does not feel pain. Procedure is without anesthesia.
- Second is after puppy attains 10 to 12 weeks of age. Anesthesia is considered dangerous for the young puppy and any operation is avoided before this age.
This Yorkie tail docking operation is carried out under anesthesia by an experienced vet.
How Do You Dock A Yorkie’s Tail?
Yorkie tail docking relatively is a simple operation, depending at what age it is being performed. There are three types of procedures and two best periods when Yorkie tail docking can be performed.
Constrictor On Tail
This is to be performed at the youngest age of 1 to 5 days old puppy. No anesthesia needed. Simple procedure.
A rubber constrictor is placed on the tail at the place it is to be docked. This stops the blood flow to the tail end and it drops off naturally in three days, with very little pain to the puppy.
Must be performed by an experienced groomer or a vet. The tying has to be done between the right vertebrates, otherwise, inexperience can hurt the dog permanently. A little carelessness, the puppy will feel severe trauma and pain.
Clipping With Scissors
The second procedure for the same age period (one to five days of birth) is by clipping the undocked yorkie tail with scissors or a scalpel by a vet.
This is also without anesthesia. Most consider this as painless because the puppy has not developed its nervous system completely and the nipping action gives slight pain to the puppy.
After the operation, a proper bandage is applied and post-operative care is to be followed.
Surgery With Anesthesia
This procedure is followed if the infancy stage (1 to 5 days old) is missed. This is done only when puppy is at least 10 to 12 weeks old.
The puppy has a fully developed nervous system and proper surgery is performed under anesthesia by an experienced vet.
Anesthesia is not given to a puppy less than 10 weeks old, as it is dangerous.
How Much Does It Cost To Cut A Yorkie’s Tail?
Yorkie tail docking is not an expensive procedure. People frequently ask for Yorkie tail docking cost, when they are confronted with the situation.
The cheapest is using a constrictor at the infancy stage. It hardly costs anything and with little pain to the puppy. For this reason, most of the breeders will perform docking in infancy, to avoid cost and hassle.
When being performed at home on a newborn, then it is almost free. However, if it is being performed by a vet, a breeder, or a groomer (recommended if the owner has no experience) then it varies from $15 to $35.
One can get a discount if it is performed at a litter same time. Plus the vet will also charge an examination fee of about $45 to $75.
If the dog is old (10 weeks plus) where full surgery with anesthesia is to be done, then it will cost anywhere between $450 to $1,100, depending on the dog’s age, breed, and location.
Can A Yorkie Puppy Die From Tail Docking?
There is very little likely hood of dying from Yorkie tail docking. If done properly there is little pain and no harm done.
Dog owners and enthusiasts do not report anything serious on Yorkie docked tail problems. Some main issues are mentioned here.
- Vertebrate damaged. The cut has not been applied in proper place.
- Nerve damage. Because of nerve damage, problems of controlling urine and defecating can occur. The nerve pain becomes permanent.
- Postoperative care. Proper care is not taken and the wound is infected. Puppy feels pain and trauma and affects its behavior.
- Death. Puppies can die from excessive bleeding or due to infection after surgery.
To assure for no yorkie docked tail problems, always consult an expert or an experienced vet.
How Long Does It Take For Docked Tail To Heal?
If the yorkie tail docking is done in infancy (constrictor process), then the mother dog takes care of its young puppies and they will be ok in few days.
With a clipping operation (no anesthesia) the puppy will be ok after 2 -3 days. The bandage is removed and cut examined by the vet. He assures there is no infection and the puppy is healthy.
When the puppy is 10–12 weeks old the Yorkie tail docking surgery involves anesthesia and takes longer to recover. After 2-3 days the vet removes the bandages and examines the wound.
He assures that the anesthesia effect has worn off and the dog has resumed eating normally. Healing is complete after 10 to 14 days. The vet will remove the non-absorbable stitches.
During this period the owner has to assure the dog does not lick its surgery wounds. Use of an Elizabethan collar may be required.
Why Do Breeders Dock Yorkie Tails?
The breeder uses the cheapest and easiest way of Yorkie tail docking by putting a constrictor on the tail of the newborns. The tail bit falls off naturally in 3 days
Without spending any dollars (just the cost of the band or tie or some antiseptic) the breeder accomplishes tens of dollars’ worth of a job. If it is a litter he saves hundreds of dollars.
Should I Cut My Yorkies Tail?
Yorkie tail docking should not be attempted by a first-timer. Consult a vet or experienced breeder/groomer. The tie has to be placed between the vertebras for proper docking, otherwise, it will be painful for the puppy for the rest of its life.
The surgical cutting should be performed by a vet experienced in this practice.
When Should You Cut A Yorkie’s Tail?
There are two best times of Yorkie tail docking recommended by vets.
- At infancy when the puppy is 1 to 5 days old. It is done without anesthesia.
- After 10 to 12 weeks old. A surgical procedure with general anesthesia.
Anesthesia is dangerous for a young puppy, so cosmetic surgery is not performed during first 12 weeks.
How Do You Cut A Yorkie’s Tail Off?
There are just two methods to shorten Yorkie tail length.
- Putting a constrictor or tie to stop blood flow to the tail end. It falls off in 3 days. Only performed on 1 to 5 days old puppies. Very little trauma for the puppy. No anesthesia.
- Using surgical scissors or a scalpel. This is performed by a vet. If done at the age of 1 to 5 days, no anesthesia is required. A little more painful than the constricting procedure, as the puppy has not developed the nerves at the tail end.
If it is not done during this period then we have to wait 10 to 12 weeks, as giving anesthesia is considered very dangerous for this age of the puppy. After this period it is like normal surgery with general anesthesia performed by a vet.
As to the Yorkie tail docking length, the answer is anything from half to three quarter is suitable. AKC recommends half. It is to one’s liking mostly.
Final Verdict On Yorkie Tail Docking
Yorkie tail docked vs undocked is a debatable point amongst dog enthusiasts. There is no difference between Yorkies with long tails and Yorkie tail docked. It is a matter of looks.
In AKC dog shows, a Yorkie with long tail will be considered non-conforming. For this reason, the Yorkie tail dock length is controlled for participating in AKC dog shows to gain position.
Tail docking in dogs had been practiced for centuries, for reasons not based on scientific research, rather on the probability of mishap due to the activity for which the dogs were engaged.
Although there are no recorded incidents of Yorkie docked tail problems. It is only poor post-operation handling that results in infection and rare cases of death of the puppy.
In modern times many countries have prohibited tail docking just for cosmetic looks. However, emergency procedures can be carried out.
The cheapest and safest method of Yorkie tail docking is in infancy stage when the puppy is 1 to 5 days old. At this stage, its, nervous system has not developed much and it does not feel much pain.
If this slot is missed then a gap of 10 to 12 weeks is recommended, as this period is not safe to give anesthesia to the young puppy. After the infancy stage, it is a full surgical procedure with anesthesia, performed by a vet.
To save cost and hassle most of the breeders dock the Yorkie tail in infancy, for this reason obtaining Yorkies with tails is not easy.