Sausage cat.

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The Thing said:
Razorwire, Imagine this. You have a fully useless tail, which can only show emotion. When you are hunting, it gets caught in brambles and breaks. With a proper hunting dog, this can happen over 50 times in 5 years. This is one reason dogs tails are docked. It is not painful for the dogs, a tight rubber ring is slipped around the tail, cutting off blood supply and a few weeks later falls off. This is the same process performed on lambs and cows. Lambs are also castrated this way while cows have an injection while their balls are sliced off.

I'm familiar with the mechanism. But you have still not explained why the problem cannot be solved by breeding for, eg, dogs with shorter and smoother-furred tails. Or why you don't hear of this problem affecting any wild hunting animal. What is wrong with the design of these dogs and how can it be fixed without the need for bodge jobs like tail docking?

I wonder whether a docked dog has a phantom tail, like human amputees have phantom limbs?

As for what you said about dogs being outside - personally I'd suggest an ideal arrangement as being one where the dog can come in and out at will, since I've seen dogs display extreme preferences of both the "let me out!" and the "it's horrible out here, let me come in and get warm!" variety. Frequently this was the same dog and less than an hour apart. I agree that it's cruel to keep them shut up but I don't think you should refuse them house space if they genuinely appear to want it.

Razorwire
 

escargot

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My several cats & dogs (all neutered- my choice) are from unexpected/unwanted litters. I wouldn't own a pedigree pet, don't see the point, they all fetch sticks or dig up the garden however much you pay for them!

Pet animals are infantilised in their normal relationship with humans. Over-bred, deformed animals look to me like the deliberately-maimed beggar children we hear of in the third world. Urk, don't go there, the psychology is just too weird!
 
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Thats right - the main reason for docking the tails of hunting dogs is the dog's safety. Of course greyhounds and lurcher types are not docked because the tail plays a role in their balance and also they do not get ripped to bits in bushes. I don't know what the origin of docking in dobermans, rottweilers, etc. is though.

I read an interesting article a while back on over breeding in English bull terriers. It had pics of the breed about 100 years ago and it was a pretty basic heavy white terrier. Now they are so inbred that the poor animal has difficulty seeing and breathing due to the huge nose. The writer was making the point that a responsible breeder breeds for desirable qualities that benefit the breed and animal and so outbreeding is acceptable. Modern fundamentalist applications of breed rules do not allow for this. Same thing with the Bedlington, which used to be a sturdy little rabbiting dog, but now is deliberately bred to look as lamb like as possible. Also pure border collies are so inbred many are extremely nervous, indeed dangerous. Collies with a bit of a cross in them are generally pleasant and intelligent animals.

But is isn't cows that have their balls removed - that's bulls, unless they have very strange cows in Wales :)
 
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To reply to razorwire.

I don't know how anyone can breed a short tail gene into dogs. I don't know of any dog breed with a naturally short tail (though there may be one somewhere, a Manx dog?). The same argument applies to cattle and horns - it's much more convenient to breed ones without horns. However only Aberdeen Angus and few minor breeds are hornless - despite thousands of years of breeding calves still emerge with these useless and dangerous horns. They obviously had a defensive purpose once but the genes still reckon they are needed.

Incidentally I have never heard of any animal rights group protesting about sculling cattle. It is necessary, but is one of the most brutal and bloody farm tasks, everyone involved hates it but it has to be done. In some cases cows tails are docked, purely for the benefit of the farmer so the poor animal is unable to deal with flies, etc.
 

rynner2

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The Thing said:
...while cows have an injection while their balls are sliced off.
These were hermaphrodite cattle, presumably...? :D
 

FelixAntonius

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I can remember this terrier man, who was against the docking of terriers tails....

If you get a terrier down a hole, you need the full tail to drag him out again!!!!!!
 

hachihyaku

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If dogs and cats truly didn't need their tails, their tails would have become vestigal by now, like people's. But wolves, tigers, lions, hyenas, etc. all have full bushy and/or long tails. They clearly serve a purpose. I'm sure one of these purposes is communication.
 
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i think your right hachihyaku my cats tails puff up when they are angry and they flick thm when they are mad they definately use them for emotion
 

SmirnoffMule

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Thing, how would you feel if someone chopped off your face to make you more efficient at your job? After all, all it does is show emotion.

As for spaniels tripping over their tails, I don't think your arguement stands up. I have never seen or heard of any dog with a tail long enough and ridiculous enough for them to trip over it. And I have known a lot of dogs.
And as someone said, if your dog is really that clumsy, presumably it isn't really a very good gun dog anyway. A spaniel - which incidently has a tail *shorter* that its legs, so how does it go about tripping over it? - that trips over its tail, would presumably also trip over the pheasant or duck it holds in its jaws?

Besides, if spaniels really are docked for their own safetly, how come many other gun dog breeds aren't? And why are dobermans, boxers and rottweilers - which aren't, and never have been, gun dogs - docked? What advantage is there to them?

I used to work for a woman who raised pheasants for shooting on her land, and I have watched a number of pheasant shoots. As I recall, none of the dogs were docked, and yet none seemed to be having a problem.


Scarlett, if the tail plays a part in the balance of a greyhound or lurcher, does it do nothing at all for the balance of a spaniel, or doberman, or rottweiler?

Face it, docking for fashion came first. Reasons like "for the dog's own safety" came after.
 

rynner2

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Hunting dogs would get their tails caught in the bushes?

So I suppose those folks in red coats are not only cruel to foxes, they're cruel to their own hounds by not docking their tails...? :confused:

Boom! Boom!
 

FelixAntonius

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I suspect that the whole tail/ear docking business dates back to the conceptions & misbeliefs of earlier & crueller ages.

But, having established the idear that it is "better" to mutilate another creature, the devotee of the practice sees the unmutilated creature as being incorrect or "incomplete". Hence trying to find often silly reasons for the docking in the first place!!!!

Doesn't this in some ways resemble the discusion about circumcision on another thread?:D
 

rynner2

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David said:
Doesn't this in some ways resemble the discusion about circumcision on another thread?:D
Similar thoughts were just passing through what I laughingly refer to as my brain...

Perhaps someone with too much time on their hands (ie PhD students) will write a thesis on how threads diverge and converge on message boards. I just hope they cite me as a seminal reference.
 
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Anonymous

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Docking Again

The difference is that the hunting of sight hound breeds depends on their speed, quickness to turn, etc. The tail is normally held down between the legs but when hunting is out behind the dog. Spaniels, gundogs, etc. are setters and retrievers, not dependent on speed and accuracy for their task.
Different dogs hold their tails in different ways. If a terrier's tail is left to grow it curls up over the animal's back and so is more likely to get injured in bushes and be a hindrance to the animal in a burrow. The tail is not docked completely, but left about 2 inches long, so does form a 'handle' if the animal is in trouble.
I never heard this thing about dogs tripping over their tails, sounds like a shaggy dog story to me. How would such creatures have survived in the wild and passed on genes?
Maybe the docking of large breeds now used as guard dogs stems from some ancestry as fighting dogs, when a short tails would reduce target parts to be injured?
 

FelixAntonius

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But different dogs or terriers, used for the same purpose may have tails docked or undocked Scarlett!!! While in the case of the Jack Russell, the same bred may be found both docked or undocked.

It still seems to me, that the reasons given for docking, are no more than excuses to continue old custom & usage!!!!
 
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as the owner of a jack russel, the reason for not docking the tail becomes rather apparent the first time the dog dives head first down a hole after a rabbit or groundhog, you just grab him by the tail and yank him out. the dog surprisingly doesnt object much, he just kinda hangs there. ive seen both docked and undocked russels but it seems like even the docked ones have enough of a tail to use as an emergency dog handle
 

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mr_skelator said:
but it seems like even the docked ones have enough of a tail to use as an emergency dog handle

I must admit, that I've always found that you need two good hand breadths of tail to haul a "game" terrier out of a burrow, which to me, makes tail docking pointless.

But like you mr_s. I have found that pulling on the tail seems to not cause the dog pain, although thismay only be the case with the smaller dogs, such as terriers!!!!!!
 
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I believe docking of tails and ears came around through bear baiting. The dogs would have their tails docked to prevent th bear from catching them. THey ears were docked to prevent bears from tearing them off.
 
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