should a poodle tail be docked

Should a Poodle tail be Docked by the owner? – Poodle Docking Guide

Tail docking is common among dogs and dog owners. But is it common to dock poodle tails? Let us see more about poodle tail and poodle tail docking.

Poodles are cute and intelligent dogs. They are known for their great appearance and athletic nature. These dogs’ tails add beauty when docked. But, what are the good and bad of docking your poodle?  

Should a Poodle tail be Docked by the owner?

It Depends! American Kennel Club allows only docked poodles to participate in show dog shows and other appearance contests. They appreciate poodle owners to dock their poodles. Docking helps the dog to stay safe and prevent unnecessary injuries. But the American Veterinary Medical Association suggests poodle owners dock only if it is necessary.

Docking dog tails is commonly practiced in many countries around the world. But it may be new to some. Some readers might know about docking but would be confused to either dock their dog’s tail or let it grow.

If you have any of these queries, don’t worry. We have compiled all information on dog tail docking and poodle docking.

So, Sit back, Relax and enjoy the read.

Poodle Docking and its Origin

Dog tail docking is a tradition followed for a long time in history. There is proof that the Romans docked their dog’s tail. Docking was mainly performed to avoid disease buildup in dogs. Docking helped these dogs prevent rabies and other diseases.

Docking helps in better swimming. It prevented and still prevents injuries and disease build-up in dogs. This technique was mostly used by people who used dogs for hunting Ducks and Geese. Docked tail dogs were less prone to injury while hunting.

Docking to avoid dog taxation

Poodle dog tax

During the 17th century, England taxed pet dogs. So, people started to dock their dogs. This helped them exempt from taxes as docked dogs were considered as working dogs.

Later, The American Kennel Club was established in 1978. It made the standards for all dog breeds and varieties. According to the AKC, all Poodles must have docked tails as a standard trait.

So, most American Poodles have their tails docked. Europeans banned docking in the ’80s. This allowed European poodles to have long tails.

Docking to differentiate class

Docking was also done to differentiate the class of people who owned dogs like Poodles.  The upper-class people were free to keep their poodle tails.

But, lower-class people were forced to dock their dog’s tail. This made the difference between upper-class people’s dogs and the other. It even showed who were allowed to hunt and who weren’t.

Docking for cosmetic purposes

Docking is also done to make the Poodles look more beautiful. Docking made the tail smaller and the dog look more symmetrical. Poodle participation in dog shows will mostly have their tail docked and perfectly groomed.

Docking will make them look symmetrical and fancy. Most show dogs like poodles and other varieties share this nature.

In short, docking technique was first used by the hunters who used Poodles as hunting dogs. This helped them hunt smart and avoid injuries. In 1700’s, it was done to avoid taxation over poodle ownership.

Later, the American Kennel Club made docked tails as a Standard for all poodle varieties. Now let us see why it is better to dock your poodle tail.

Why do Poodles get their tail Docked?

There are few pros and reasons for docking dog tails. They are

  • Better Appearance.
  • Reduced Injuries.
  • Easy Grooming.
  • Belief and Tradition.

For all these reasons, Poodles are docked mainly to look more beautiful. Because most modern-day poodles are grown mainly as show dogs and fashion symbols.

Only a few people grow poodles as hunting dogs or home pets. Hunters employing these dogs in duck and goose hunting prefer docking tails. This will help the Poodle swim faster and easier.

So, it is better to dock your poodle tail. But what is the right way and right time to dock your poodle tail? Let us see in the upcoming parts.

Poodle Tail Docking

What is the Right time to Dock Poodle Tail?

The right time to dock a poodle tail is when they are less than 5 days old. Docking at a very early age will help dogs heal quicker and prevent any long term damage in Poodle health. It will also be a scar free process when done early. Docking at a late age may lead to severe injuries or even danger to the dog’s life.

So, try to get your dog docked within the first few days. It is better to get this process performed by a certified veterinarian. They will perform this process with due precautions and take care through the process.

Some people may suggest docking even at late ages. But we highly recommend not doing so. Always consult your pet’s vet before performing any process related to the dog’s body.

Now let us see the correct length to dock Poodle tail based on their variety.

Poodle Tail Docking Length

There are three officially three types of Poodles. They are

  • Standard Poodles.
  • Miniature Poodles.
  • Toy Poodles.

But apart from these three types, there are 4 other poodle types that are not recognized by the AKC. Visit Types of Poodle to learn more.

Each type of poodle has their own height and weight ratio. SO, their tails must be docked according to their body height and length.

The tail length suggest by the American Kennel Club for Poodles participating in dog shows are

Standard Poodles ½ to 2/3 rd of length ( 1½ inch)
Miniature Poodles ½ to 2/3 rd of length (1 1/8  inch)
Toy Poodle ½ to 2/3 rd of length ( ½ inch)

Check Poodle guidelines by AKC for the AKC’s grooming guidelines and standards.

Now let us move on to the tail docking process.

Dog Tail Docking Procedure

We have spoken more about docking. If you still have doubt, here is what docking is. Docking is the process of removing an animal’s tail. It is commonly performed with dog breeds and a few other animals.

Many dog varieties have larger tails. These tails become very long to care for and handle. They are also more prone to injury. To avoid these problems, the tail is cut to a smaller size in poodles and a few other dogs.


Docking must be performed only under expert supervision. Self-practice may lead to accidents and injuries. Consult your vet before docking an animal.

Docking can be performed in two ways. They are

  • Cutting the Tail.
  • Banding Technique.

1) Cutting the Tail

This process is more commonly used in dogs like Poodles and other fluffy dogs. It involves cutting the dog’s tail with surgical scissors or a scalpel. It is quick and easily performed by veterinarians.

Tail cutting is done at a very early age of the dog. Poodles are usually docked within 5 days by this method. It usually doesn’t require any use of analgesics for this process.

Once the tail is docked, it will start to heal within a few days.

2) Banding Technique

As the name says, banding is the process of rubber bands over the desired length of the dog’s tail. But this is very painful to the dog and highly not recommended.

The idea is to cut off the blood supply and the tail part after banding will fall off by itself. This is cruel and can even be considered as animal harming.  We have heard people use these techniques. But never perform such cruel acts.

Is it cruel to Dock a Dog’s Tail?

Docking is considered cruel by some dog breeders. Because the newborn puppies are very fragile, these puppies will suffer harsh pain when their body parts are cut.

But some dog breeders say it is completely painless as the puppies will not even remember the pain after a few days. Just like how a human child will not remember the pain of injury in the next few weeks.

It is up to you to consider if docking is cruel or not. But we consider banding as a cruel act. We are not against docking. But we strictly oppose banded docking.

Docking must be done only if it is necessary. Tail Docking and Dog ear clipping only for cosmetic purposes are strictly opposed by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Is Tail Docking Dogs Painful?

Docking poodle tail

Yes! Even if these puppies are 5 days old, it will be painful for them when their tails are cut off. Every animal will have nerves passing through the tail. If they are cut off, it will cause them pain.

These innocent little dogs may be very small to bark, but they will definitely feel pain. When it is done by experts, they will take off the necessary things to help get healed soon. If not, it may lead to infections and damage in the long run.

How long does tail docking take to heal?

When docking is done, a part of the dog’s body is cut off. It means the muscles, nerves, ligaments, and everything present in that area are now cut off completely from its body.

If it is done properly, Docking will heal within a few weeks. Stitches may be applied for a few days. It will be removed after a week. Stitches will help heal faster and avoid infection formations.

It will take some time for the tissues, ligaments, and cartilage to heal. Good food and ample rest will help reduce pain and heal better.

How much does it cost to dock a dog’s tail?

Docking can cost $10 to $20 in regular dog breeding places. But it is not safe as some dogs may start to feel pain in the long run if they are not docked properly.

It may be okay for inexpensive dogs. But Poodles themselves cost 1000’s of dollars. So, we would consider taking the Poodle to an expert Veterinarian for the Docking process.

It is even better to get a Poodle that is already docked by the breeders. They will take care of most problems.

Tail Docking controversies

Animal docking is still a controversy among animal lovers and the Blue–Cross people. They say all animals must have their tails grow to their full length. That is how nature works.

But some say docking helps the dog perform better and avoid injury in the tail part. It is also much easier to clean a docked dog’s tail than a fully grown tail.

When it comes to Poodles, docking is considered to be a sure yes by the AKC. But perform proper docking under expert supervision for risk-free docking.

If docking is not done properly, it may lead to loss of some scent glands in the dog’s body. This will affect the overall olfactory functioning of a dog.

Sometimes docked dogs will start to chew the tail part in pain. This is due to heavy pain in the Central nervous system or the Peripheral Nervous System. This phenomenon is called Neuropathic Pain.

Final Words for Poodle lovers

Other dogs shall be docked or not. It is up to the owner’s wishes. But for Poodles, they must be docked to look great and win dog shows.

A docked poodle with a perfect symmetrical body and well maintained coat will definitely be a show stealer among the neighborhood.

So, that was all about the different poodle Docking and healing.

We hope this blog helps you by clearing queries should you dock Poodle or not.


We always welcome your suggestions. Comment below your experiences with your beloved Poodles in 

Feel free to mention things that are to be changed and improved in our blogs and website. We are learners for life!

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See ya! Until then keep cuddling your cute poodles.

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