Jack Russell Tail Docking: What Is It and Why Do It?

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Jack Russells are clever little dogs that make great companions and family members. 

In case you own a Jack Russell, you will probably be familiar with their fondness of digging and chasing around other creatures they may spot in your backyard! 

Now, you might have heard numerous people getting their fury creature’s tails jacked. Just like you, I myself was quite unfamiliar with tail docking when I first adopted a Jack Russel. 

Well, fret no more- this article is going to be your ultimate Jack Russell’s tail docking guide, as I am going to tell you all you need to know about tail docking, why you should consider it when it should be done, as well as common problems associated with docked tails.

See also: Jack Russell Barking a Lot: How to Stop


What is Tail Docking and Why Do It?

Tail docking is a common tactic of surgically removing a dog’s tail for good. 

I know what you’re thinking- this procedure is going to be agonizing and throbbing for your dog, and you can’t imagine letting your furry pooch go through this. 

But, let me tell you that veterinarians or breeders make sure to use anesthesia so that the puppy doesn’t really feel much of that pain. Thus, you don’t have to worry about your furry friend during this procedure! 

Moreover, because of its young age, it is going to forget about the minute pain it might be experiencing in a very short amount of time, and will be back on its feet just as it was before (just without the tail!).

Now, coming back to the tail docking procedure. This procedure is going to be done with surgical scissors (after anesthesia, of course!), or a scalpel. Another common procedure is cutting off the blood supply to the tail by tieing the dog’s tail with a rubber ligature for several days until the tail falls off.

Okay, so why do people get their dog’s tail docked? There are several reasons behind it:

Reduce the risk of injuries

The first reason why you should consider tail docking is to eliminate the risks of possible injuries. 

See also  Jack Russell Barking a Lot: How to Stop

You know how dogs are- independent, curious, and energetic. They’ll tend to wander off and explore the surroundings, being least aware of the environment. For instance, dogs commonly injure their tails by running through thorny bushes. 

Also, this isn’t only for outdoor dogs- dogs easily injure their tails just by wagging so hard against tables or chairs. I myself have never seen a dog without a tail injury, and this is quite a nuisance. 

Thus, having their tails removed eliminates any possible risks of unwanted injuries, because seeing our adorable canines wounded or hurt would be the last thing we would want, right?

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So that the dog’s tail does not interrupt hunting or digging

If you own a Jack Russell, you are probably well-aware of their energetic nature and enthusiasm for running around and chasing other creatures. 

If you have a Jack Russel for hunting purposes as I do, tail docking is most crucial. This takes us to the second most important reason why you should get your dog’s tail docked. 

My Jack Russel loved digging around and chasing any fox it would spot in the forest when we’d go hunting. Thus, having its tail docked was probably the best decision I ever made.

When Should It Be Done?

Usually, the tails of our furry animals are docked when they are just small puppies. People even get it docked right after birth, or anywhere till 12 weeks old. The reason for docking their tail this early is because the tails of dogs are comparatively soft and the puppy is easier to handle.

I got my Jack Russel’s tail docked when he was around 3-5 days old, as I was recommended by a veterinarian as this is the most ideal time to get it done.

In case you’re wondering about the length of the tail to be docked, that is going to be decided by the licensed veterinarian. However, the ideal length is to cut off one-third of the dog’s tail and leave out only two-thirds.

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Problems Associated With Docked Tails

There are opinions for everything- just like people’s opinions regarding docking their dog’s tails. Therefore, here I am going to tell you about common problems that are associated with docked tails, apart from the pain resulting from a surgical amputation, because of which numerous people are against it:

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Possible infections

First of all, there is always a risk for a possible dangerous infection when the puppy’s tails are docked. 

When done incorrectly or not by professional or licensed veterinarians, those puppies can experience excessive bleeding and can result in infections that can later be fatal if not taken care of as soon as possible. Because tails are docked when they are just a puppy, infections can prove to be incredibly threatening to them.

Behavioral problems

Another common problem of getting a dog’s tail docked is related to behavioral problems a dog might struggle with in the long run. 

As you know, canines make use of their tails in order to communicate with other dogs, as well as humans, and also to express emotions to their owners. Thus, without their tails, dogs will be unable to show important emotions, such as anger or even excitement by wagging their tails, so docking greatly interferes with their ability to interact with other dogs, 

Therefore, when the dog will no longer have a tail, you might find it difficult to understand your dog, just like it may have issues in trying to tell you what it wants.

Can cause imbalance

Dogs, just like every other animal, use their tails for balance. Thus, without it, our dogs can be at the risk of imbalance.

Other health complications

There are several other health complications dog owners have faced after getting their tail docked, such as underdeveloped pelvic musculature. However, let me tell you that this is just a possible cause and evidence, and it is still not conclusive. 

But, there have been several other cases of dogs developing a neuroma, or nerve tumor. Now, this can cause incredible pain, and can even make your canine irritable and annoying if anyone tries touching their tail.