An English Bulldog is instantly recognizable everywhere he goes. But the question is, are English Bulldogs born with tails or docked?
Well, the answer is they are born with tails, and no, docking a Bulldog’s tail at birth is not an option. I know what you’re thinking. It looks like they have been docked, and many people always assume the English Bulldog is a docked breed similar to a Doberman or Rottweiler.
English Bulldog tails come in different shapes and sizes. Did you know that puppies from the same litter can have different sizes and shapes of tails?
What Are The Different Shapes Of Bulldog Tails?
1. English Bulldog Straight Tail
When the AKC (American Kennel Club) determines the Bulldog breed standard, they prefer to see a straight or corkscrew-shaped tail. By the time the Bulldog is born, his tail shape is already as it will be as an adult. If an English Bulldog puppy is born with a straight tail, it will be wider at the tail’s base and taper to a point. His tail will feel soft to the touch.
2. English Bulldog Corkscrew Tail
This tail is the one most people associate with the English Bulldog and probably the cutest looking. From the tail’s base, the tail will corkscrew downwards, never up. Unlike the straight tail, this one does become more rigid as he gets older.
3. English Bulldog Wavy Or Long Tail
The shape of this tail is the least acceptable by the various kennel clubs. But effortlessly the most expressive. With this tail, you will get to see some extra emotion from your dog, not just a wiggly bottom. The tail is slightly higher on the dog and will point more up in the air.
English Bulldog Tail Care Tips
The tail shape that causes most problems is the corkscrew, for apparent reasons. It sits snug against the dog and gets more rigid and less flexible as the dog gets older.
Of course, the area directly underneath the tail, the part coming into contact with the dog’s body, can attract all manner of dirt and debris.
If he gets wet and moisture is allowed to hang about there, it will lead to irritation and fungal infections. This area should be clean and dry at all times. Wet wipes are an excellent option to clean the area. But a clean cloth, warm water, and a very mild detergent will do a great job. Make sure you rinse with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.
If he’s not happy about you touching and lifting his tail a little, or there is an unpleasant smell, then he needs to go to the vets for some medication. He already has an infection.
English Bulldog Tail Removal
If he has a corkscrew tail and has constant issues with infections or the tail is so tightly wound, it causes him pain, then the vet may suggest tail removal.
When this occurs, it’s the only occasion it’s necessary to remove a Bulldog’s tail. If it creates one less health issue for the Bulldog, it needs doing.
What Is Tail Docking?
There’s something magical when your dog greets you with a wildly wagging tail. So why on earth would anyone dock a dog’s tail? And what’s the story behind tail docking?
The original idea for tail docking began with the ancient Romans. They believed that cutting off a dog’s tail and part of his tongue would prevent rabies. Today that’s seen as nonsense.
In the 17th century, the UK government required pet owners to pay a tax, unlike working dog owners who were not. To avoid paying this tax, the pet owners would dock their dogs’ tails, indicating they were working dogs.
The belief was that docking a dog’s tail would prevent them from suffering injuries during their work. And for some breeds, entry into many prestigious dog shows was allowed if their owners docked the dog’s tails.
How Are Tails Docked?
Before docking was illegal or frowned on, breeders took it upon themselves to perform the procedure.
Using a pair of scissors, the breeder would cut off the puppy’s tail when the puppy was no older than five days. Either that or tying a rubber band around the tail’s base, which stopped blood flow, the tail would eventually drop off.
Confusion occurs because breeders that agree with tail docking claim it’s not painful to the puppy, and their nervous system is still developing at five days old.
The nervous system of a dog is developing in the womb and is functioning at birth. Docking a puppy’s tail requires cutting through nerves, cartilage, bone, muscles, and tendons. At the age of five days, the breeder cannot give the puppies any anesthetics; they would most likely die. Breeders know this, so the puppy has to endure immense pain.
Also, the puppy will suffer ongoing pain while the tissue damage repairs itself. There is a risk of secondary infections.
And to carry out this procedure because of some arbitrary fashion statement is disgraceful.
English Bulldog Tail Problems
English Bulldogs have specific health issues such as breathing difficulties, especially in hot weather, hip dysplasia, and skin allergies.
One primary concern is with their tails. Once the tail stiffens as they get older, it becomes tough to move. Cleaning the tail means getting into the folds and creases made difficult by a stiff tail.
An English Bulldog’s tail pockets need a thorough cleaning, which can also be made more difficult by a stiff tail.
What Is An English Bulldog’s Tail Pocket?
The tail pocket is a small piece of skin, resembling a flap. Usually, you can find it just underneath the dog’s tail. It’s not present in every Bulldog, for some reason.
Bulldogs cannot reach around to lick it clean themselves, so you’ll have to remember to do it for them. The area can collect dirt and such from the dog’s daily activities.
Most dogs are born with a tail, with a few exceptions. English Bulldogs are born with tails. They might not look much like the idea of a conventional tail, but they have tails.
Their tail might need removing if the dog has health issues later in life, and that’s OK. But only to help him, never for aesthetic reasons.
As a kid, I grew up with lots of dogs in my family. My earliest recollection was a Labrador mix called Bruce, and I must have only been about three years old.
When I was around seven, we began to move around frequently, so having a dog was very difficult until we adopted a baby long-haired Dachshund. I was thirteen by then. We called him Pepe; I have no idea why; all I can say was it wasn’t my idea. But he did seem to grow into the name.
I’ve personally been the parent of a Great Dane called Lady, a French Bulldog we called Spike. I have also had the privilege of being the parent of one of the gorgeous cats on the planet; a British Blue Shorthair called Ellie. Right now, we have an amazing little Havanese in our family; we call Biscuit; he’s four years old.
I pride myself on being the very best dog-parent I can be. I refuse to bring a dog into my life without investing as much time as possible to understand that dog’s particular needs. Every dog I have parented has been an experience, and they are all different with incredible personalities.
To understand dogs as much as possible, I have taken several courses regarding dog care and training. The most recent course is The Truth About Cats And Dogs, offered by The University Of Edinburgh.
My dogs and cat have been the funniest and most unique animals I have ever been privileged to spend my life with. They can teach human beings so much if we take the time to watch and listen to them. My ambition is to share what I have learned with other passionate dog lovers.
I am obsessed with writing and researching everything I can about dog health, care, psychology, and finding the best dog products available to help ensure a dog’s life is as happy and contented as possible.