Australian Shepherds, commonly referred to as Aussies, have traditionally been bred as working dogs, with a history of tending and herding sheep. As such, they have certain features that have adapted them to the job, one of which is a docked tail. While the docking of a dog’s tail has long been a controversial practice, it’s importance in terms of Australian Shepherds is undeniable.
Aussies have traditionally been used to herd and control livestock, which often requires the use of their tails. When a dog is herding, they use their tail like a flag, waving it back and forth in order to direct their “flock” – namely, in the direction they want them to go. With a longer tail, the dog would often be unaware that it’s tail is brushing against the animals, thus scaring them and making them run away. Therefore, the docking of the tail has been found to be helpful in controlling their flock.
Another reason why Aussies were traditionally bred with docked tails is to help them avoid injury. With a long tail, Aussies could easily become entangled in trees or fences, resulting in injury or even death. By docking their tail, the Australian Shepherd is less likely to suffer such an injury.
In addition, Australian Shepherds with docked tails are less likely to attract predators. Predators like coyotes, foxes, and wolves have been known to go after dogs with longer tails as they seem to be easier to spot. By docking the tail, the Aussie becomes less visible to these predators and less likely to be targeted.
While the practice of docking tails is still controversial, it’s important to note that there are certain benefits to having Aussies with shorter tails. Today, many owners choose to keep the length of the tail intact and simply add a tassel or bell at the tip to avoid injury and spooking livestock. This way, the Australian Shepherd still gets to keep its natural, full-bodied look, while also reaping the benefits of having a docked tail.
the docking of Aussie’s tails is a decision that should be considered on a case-by-case basis. However, there is no denying that this practice has been essential to the Australian Shepherds’ success as reliable herding dogs. By keeping their tails short, Aussies are better able to control their flock, as well as avoid injury and predation. it’s up to the owners to decide whether to dock their Aussie’s tail or not – but the history behind this practice is undeniable.