Tail docking in dogs: a review of the issues

Aust Vet J. 2003 Apr;81(4):208-18. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-0813.2003.tb11473.x.


Different groups in our community hold strong views about tail docking in domestic dogs. These range from veterinary associations and welfare organisations, which typically want the practice banned, to purebred dog associations, which vigorously oppose the introduction of antidocking legislation. An evaluation of the tail docking issue, which is informed and nonemotive, requires the integration of moral views with biological and behavioural facts. In recent years, much data have been accumulated concerning the welfare implications of tail docking. Unfortunately, however, there has been limited transfer of this knowledge to people interested in the issue. In this review some of the main arguments for and against canine tail docking are presented and evaluated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amputation, Surgical / adverse effects
  • Amputation, Surgical / ethics
  • Amputation, Surgical / veterinary
  • Animal Welfare / ethics
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic
  • Breeding
  • Dogs / surgery*
  • Ethics, Professional
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / veterinary*
  • Tail / surgery*
  • Veterinarians / psychology