Doberman Pinschers are one of the more than fifty breeds of dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club that have traditionally had their tails docked. Like other dogs with working histories, the tails were often docked to help prevent the tails from experiencing injuries on the job. As a matter of fact, Dobermans have a tail that is considered quite long if allowed to grow. Today, tail docking is the subject of much controversy and in this article we'll look at some of the pros and cons of the procedure.
While opponents of tail docking dismiss it as an unnecessary cosmetic procedure, although that it is true that the docking conforms to the "sleek" look that breeder Louis Dobermann had in mind, there are many that believe that it is in fact beneficial to the dog. One of the reasons is that a long tail on a dog that is working as a guard or police dog can be a tempting handle for an attacker to grab, seriously distracting and injuring the Doberman. Another reason is that the tail itself, when allowed to grow, is actually quite thin and fragile. Some Dobermans who have long tails have suffered from "broken tail," in the tail is injured and, in some cases, actually having broken vertebrae, and it is often a self inflicted injury. Some Dobermans have broken their tails by simply wagging it enthusiastically, regardless of whatever object the tail may be slamming into.
For others, the practice is dismissed as nothing other than an unnecessary cosmetic procedure, causing the dog undue pain and leaving a tail that can often be extremely sensitive at the tip. The practice has actually been outlawed in several countries around the world, notably European countries such as Norway, Sweden, Greece and Switzerland. In other countries, the procedure must be done by a licensed veterinarian, as this is meant to deter "backyard breeders" to try to do this procedure on their own without any experience.
Unfortunately, those that are interested in purchasing a Doberman Pinscher may find that they have little choice in the matter. Tail docking is usually done by the breeder who docks the tail as early as days or even hours after the dog is born. The docking is usually done by placing an orthodontic-type band around the tail. This cuts the blood supply off from the end of the tail, which then falls off several days later. Because this is done so quickly after a dog is born, the breeder is the only one that has the power to make the decision, which is made long before the dog is ready to be purchased.
If you are interested in purchasing a Doberman Pinscher without a docked tail, it may be worth your while to search out a breeder that does not do the practice, or at least will consider not docking the tail of a puppy in a future litter.