Are Yorkies Born with Tails? Debunking Myths and Discovering Facts

Are you curious about whether Yorkshire terriers are born with tails? This is a common question among dog lovers and potential Yorkie owners.

In this article, we will explore the answer to this question and delve into the reasons behind Yorkie tail lengths.

Yes, Yorkies are born with tails, just like most dog breeds. However, the length of their tails can vary, with some having long tails and others being born with very short tails or none at all.

The reason for this variation in tail length is due to a practice called tail docking, a process where part of the tail is removed when the puppy is just a few days old.

Yorkies with their natural tails can display thin, long, feathery, and slightly curled tails right after birth. In some cases, breeders and owners may choose to dock their Yorkie’s tail in order to comply with breed standards or for cosmetic purposes.

Key Points

are yorkies born with tails
  • Yorkies are not born with docked tails, but their tails are often docked shortly after birth for cosmetic or practical reasons.
  • Docking involves the removal of part of the tail, and is typically done when the puppy is 2-5 days old.
  • Some countries have banned tail docking for cosmetic purposes, while others allow it under certain conditions.
  • Tail docking can be a controversial practice, and some argue that it can cause pain and discomfort for the puppy.
  • If you’re considering getting a Yorkie, it’s important to research the breed and any potential health issues, as well as the ethics of tail docking.
  • Whether or not to dock a Yorkie’s tail is a personal decision that should be made in consultation with a veterinarian.

Yorkies and Tail Docking: The Basic Information

Yorkie Tail Characteristics

Yorkshire Terriers, or Yorkies, are born with tails just like most dog breeds. A Yorkie’s tail can vary in length, especially if it is a purebred or a mixed breed. Typically, a Yorkie will have a thin, long, and slightly curled tail right after birth, with a feathery appearance.

Where Did the Tail Docking Tradition Come From?

In the United States, many Yorkies have their tails docked, which is the process of surgically removing a portion of the tail, leaving a tail that ranges from 1 to 4 inches in length.

This procedure is usually performed between 2 to 5 days after birth. Tail docking has its roots in the history of working dogs, where a shorter tail was considered more practical and safer for various tasks.

However, nowadays, docking is done mainly for cosmetic reasons or to meet breed standards in dog shows. It is important to note that tail docking has been banned or restricted in some countries due to animal welfare concerns.  The AVMA recommends that tail docking not be done for cosmetic reasons.

The Process of Tail Docking in Yorkies

The Role of the Veterinarian

When it comes to tail docking in Yorkies, it is essential to involve a veterinarian in the process. Having a professional perform the procedure ensures that it is done safely and with minimal risk of complications. They can also provide crucial care and guidance on how to properly care for your Yorkie following the docking process.

Newborn Yorkies and Docking

Tail docking is usually performed on newborn Yorkies, typically between 2-5 days old. This is because, at such a young age, the bones, muscles, and nerves in their tail have not yet fully developed, making the process less invasive and painful for the puppies.

The Docking Process Explained

There are different methods for tail docking, but the most common surgical procedure involves the following steps:

  1. The veterinarian will determine the desired length of the tail and mark the spot where the tail will be cut.
  2. Your Yorkie will be placed under anesthesia to eliminate pain and discomfort during the procedure.
  3. The veterinarian will use a sterile scalpel or surgical scissors to cut through the tail at the marked spot.
  4. The vet will then suture or cauterize the wound to prevent bleeding and reduce the chance of infection.
  5. Your Yorkie will be closely monitored during the recovery process, and the veterinarian will provide you with instructions on how to care for your pup at home.

In some cases, a non-surgical method called “banding” may be used for tail docking. In this process, a tight rubber band is placed around the base of the tail, cutting off blood circulation. Over time, the tail will lose sensation and eventually fall off on its own.

Potential Complications and Risks

Although tail docking is a common procedure, it is not without risks. Some potential complications include:

  • Infection: Proper care and cleanliness are crucial to prevent infection at the site of the docked tail.
  • Bleeding: Excessive bleeding may occur if the tail is not correctly cut and cauterized.
  • Incorrect length: If the tail is cut too short or too long, it may not meet the breed standards and could even cause discomfort for your Yorkie.
  • Nerve damage: In rare cases, the docking process can result in nerve damage, leading to chronic pain or loss of function in the tail.

It is essential to consult with your veterinarian and carefully weigh the risks and benefits of tail docking for your Yorkie. In recent years, many Yorkie owners have chosen to forego this procedure, opting instead for a natural, undocked tail.

Cultural and Geographical Aspects

Yorkie Tail

Docking in Different Countries

In some countries, tail docking of dogs, including Yorkies, is still a common practice. However, it varies depending on the geographical location and cultural norms.

  • United States: Tail docking is widely accepted, and many breeders choose to dock Yorkie tails for cosmetic reasons.
  • England: Docking is restricted only to working dogs; however, Yorkies are not typically categorized as working dogs.
  • New Zealand: The New Zealand Kennel Club has regulations against docking, with exceptions for working dogs, like some terrier breeds.

It is essential to be aware of the local laws and regulations about tail docking in your country, as it may not be permitted everywhere.

Kennel Clubs and Their Standards

Various kennel clubs around the world set standards for dog breeds, including the appearance of a dog’s tail. Some of these clubs include:

  • American Kennel Club (AKC): The AKC breed standard for Yorkshire Terriers suggests a moderately docked tail, carried slightly higher than the level of the back.
  • United States: In the United States, the majority of Yorkshire Terriers have docked tails, and it is the preference of many breeders and pet owners.
  • New Zealand Kennel Club: As mentioned earlier, tail docking is mostly prohibited in New Zealand, with few exceptions. Hence, Yorkies in New Zealand typically have their natural, undocked tails.

When considering a Yorkie, remember that tail docking is a personal preference, and you should consult with a breeder or veterinarian about the best choice for your specific dog. Always research your country’s standards and regulations when it comes to tail docking, as it may vary.

Debate Over Tail Docking

Health and Welfare Concerns

One key concern is the potential pain and discomfort associated with tail docking. Opponents argue that the procedure is cruel and unnecessary, as removing a Yorkie’s tail can cause significant physical and emotional distress. In contrast, some proponents claim that tail docking is a minor procedure that does not significantly affect the dog’s overall well-being.

Aesthetic vs Ethical Issues

The primary reason for docking a Yorkshire terrier’s tail is aesthetics. Breed enthusiasts, show dog owners, and breeders often argue that a docked tail enhances the dog’s appearance, making it more fitting for their breed standard. However, those who question the ethics of docking emphasize that prioritizing aesthetics over the animal’s welfare is unjustifiable.

This ongoing debate has led to a broader discussion about the responsibilities of dog owners and breeders when it comes to ensuring the health and well-being of their pets. Some people feel that preserving the “authentic” appearance of a breed is essential, while others advocate for prioritizing the health and comfort of individual dogs.

Legal Implications

As a result of the ongoing controversy surrounding tail docking, legal restrictions on the procedure have been implemented in several countries. In England and Wales, for example, Yorkies cannot have their tails docked for show or pet purposes.

Similarly, tail docking has been entirely banned in Australia since 2004, unless a veterinarian deems it medically necessary to amputate the dog’s tail.

These laws reflect a growing awareness of the health and welfare concerns surrounding tail docking. They also stress the importance of balancing the desire to adhere to breed standards with the ethical responsibility to ensure the well-being of individual dogs.

As a pet owner or breeder, it’s essential to stay informed about the legal regulations in your area and carefully consider the ethical implications of tail docking before moving forward with the procedure.

Natural Tails Vs Docked Tails

Pros and Cons of Natural Tails

A Yorkie is born with a tail, which can vary in length, but is usually between 4 and 7 inches long. Keeping a Yorkie’s natural tail has several advantages:

  • Less Invasive: Allowing your Yorkie to keep its natural tail means avoiding any surgical procedures, which can be particularly risky for a small puppy.
  • Improved communication: A full, undocked tail can better help your dog communicate with you and other dogs through various tail movements.
  • More Authentic Appearance: Some people appreciate the genuine, original appearance of a dog with a long tail, making them stand out among other Yorkies.

However, there are also some downsides to having a Yorkie with a natural tail:

  • Increased Grooming: Long tails may require more time and effort to groom properly, as hair on and around the tail can become tangled or messy.
  • Possible Damage: Active Yorkies with long tails may be more prone to tail injuries or damage due to getting their tail caught in tight spaces or tangled with objects.

Pros and Cons of Docked Tails

Docking is the process of removing part of a Yorkie’s tail, typically done when the puppy is between two and four days old. Some advantages of docking a Yorkie’s tail include:

  • Aesthetic Appeal: Many Yorkie owners choose to dock their dog’s tail to achieve the breed’s iconic short tail appearance.
  • Easier Grooming: With a shorter tail, grooming becomes less time-consuming and more manageable for both you and your dog.

On the other hand, there are some downsides to docking a Yorkie’s tail:

  • Surgical Risks: Docking is an invasive procedure that poses potential health risks, pain, and discomfort for your young puppy.
  • Restricted Communication: A docked tail may limit a Yorkie’s ability to effectively communicate its emotions and intentions with you and other dogs.

When deciding between a natural, long tail or a docked tail for your Yorkie, consider the pros and cons of each option. Ultimately, the choice should be based on what is best for your individual dog and your own personal preferences.

Tail Docking Alternatives

When considering your Yorkie’s tail, it’s important to know that there are alternatives to the traditional tail docking method. In this section, we will discuss non-surgical options, aftercare and treatment for docked tails, and the cost of tail docking.

Non-Surgical Options

There are several non-surgical alternatives to tail docking that you should consider for your Yorkie. These options can help maintain your dog’s natural tail length while still promoting hygiene and preventing potential injury.

  • Tail wrapping: A method used to protect the tail from injury, dirt, or debris. This involves gently wrapping the tail in soft, flexible materials such as bandages or cloth.
  • Grooming: Regular grooming and trimming of the hair around the tail can help keep it clean and manageable, reducing the risk of irritation or injury.
  • Observe and monitor: By closely observing your Yorkie’s tail, you can identify any issues related to hygiene, injuries, or infections, and address them promptly to avoid the need for docking.

Aftercare and Treatment for Docked Tails

If your Yorkie has already had their tail docked, it’s important to provide proper aftercare to ensure a successful healing process and minimize potential complications such as infection or nerve damage.

  • Cleaning: Keep the docked area clean and dry to prevent infection. Use a mild antiseptic solution and apply it with a cotton ball.
  • Monitoring: Check for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge. If you notice any of these symptoms, consult your veterinarian immediately.
  • Pain management: Consult with your veterinarian about appropriate pain medications for your Yorkie to alleviate any discomfort during the healing process.
  • Restrict activity: Limit your Yorkie’s activity to avoid aggravating the healing docked tail.

Cost of Tail Docking

Tail docking costs can vary depending on factors such as geographical location, the veterinarian performing the procedure, and whether anesthesia is used. Below is a general range of costs, but it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian for accurate pricing:

  • Without anesthesia: The cost can range from $10 to $50 per puppy. This is more common in very young puppies, as anesthesia may not be necessary.
  • With anesthesia: The cost can range from $50 to $150 per puppy. This option is typically used for older puppies or if the veterinarian determines anesthesia is necessary for the procedure.

By exploring these tail docking alternatives and understanding proper aftercare, you can make informed decisions about your Yorkie’s tail to ensure their health and well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are Yorkie tails naturally?

Yorkie tails are naturally thin, long, feathery, and slightly curled. However, the tails of purebred Yorkshire Terriers registered with the American Kennel Club should be moderately docked and raised above their back.

What is the purpose of tail docking for Yorkies?

Tail docking for Yorkies is primarily performed for cosmetic reasons, as it is a breed standard. Additionally, some believe that tail docking can prevent tail injuries and improve the dog’s hygiene.

When should a Yorkie’s tail be docked?

A Yorkie’s tail is usually docked when the puppy is just a few days old, often between 3 to 5 days. The procedure should be done by a professional veterinarian or an experienced breeder.

Does docking a Yorkie’s tail cause any problems?

If the tail docking procedure is performed correctly and at the appropriate age, it typically doesn’t cause any long-term issues for the Yorkie. However, there can be risks involved, such as infection or nerve damage, which is why it’s essential to have the procedure done by a professional.

What is the cost of tail docking for Yorkies?

The cost of tail docking for Yorkies can vary depending on factors such as location, the veterinarian’s fees, and whether anesthesia is used. Prices can range from $10 to $50 in some cases, but it’s always best to consult with local veterinarians for an accurate estimate.

Is tail docking for Yorkies painful?

Tail docking can be painful for Yorkies, particularly if it is not performed correctly or if anesthesia is not used. However, when the procedure is performed on puppies only a few days old, they generally experience less pain because their nervous systems are not fully developed. It’s important to choose an experienced professional to ensure the procedure is done correctly and with minimal pain to the Yorkie.