Why Do Dobermans Get Their Tails Docked?

It is thought that the Doberman originated in Germany around 1900.
It is thought that the Doberman originated in Germany around 1900. (Image: Doberman image by Stana from Fotolia.com)

The Doberman is a clean-cut, powerful dog with an elegant body and intelligent gaze that makes him a keen watchdog. This breed is also known for its loving heart and sense of humor, according to the Doberman Pinscher Club of America. Like one of the close to 200 breeds registered with the American Kennel Club, the Doberman has its tail docked shortly after birth. Docking the tail at a young age is not considered to be cruel by many cultures, and in some respects it may be beneficial to the dog.

Guards Against Injury

If you've ever been around a happy, boisterous dog with a tail like a whip, you'll understand how this thin, bony body part can be easily injured when striking a hard surface or getting caught in a door. Injuries can result in bruising, fractures and even gangrene. Proponents of tail docking believe this practice is a preventative measure to avoid unnecessary injury to the dog.

Functional Characteristic for Protection

The Doberman makes a wonderful family pet and loyal guardian, and lovers of the breed are quick to tell you that this breed knows friend from foe. In the unfortunate instance that an attacker breaks in to a residence and encounters the dog doing his "job," the intruder can grab the Doberman's full tail to possibly injure the dog and prevent him from protecting his family. Docking the tail prevents intruders or attackers from grabbing onto the dog.


The AKC breed standard for the Doberman states that the tail is to be docked at the second joint of the tail. If you want to show a dog with a natural tail in the United States, your dog will be penalized by AKC standards, as a full tail is a deviation from the ideal look for the dog. Proponents of tail docking, including the AKC and Doberman Pinscher Club of America, state that the docked tail adds to a clean line and should look as though it is a continuation of the dog's alert and elegant stance.


In Europe, cropping for all breeds, including the Doberman, is no longer allowed, as many countries consider it to be painful, cruel or unnecessary. As of April 2007, show dogs are no longer docked. A Doberman that has been docked prior to April 2007 can be shown at all shows in the UK as long as it lives. A Doberman docked after April 2007, however, is excluded from being shown.

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