Cockapoo Tail Docking

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Note: All tail docking should be done by a veterinarian or someone well experienced in the procedure.

There are many opinions on tail docking or not to tail dock in the Cockapoo breed. I am a hobby breeder going on 13 years now, and this article is my opinion and my procedure for tail docking this breed.

I feel tail docking is a necessary evil. For one thing, both parent breeds, Poodles and Cockers, have the standard of a short tail, so I feel their offspring, which will look somewhat like the parents, should also have a short tail. Some breeders feel differently. They feel all hybrid Cockapoos should have a long tail so they can be recognized as being a  hybrid dog. It is up to you as the buyer to look for the puppy that suits your wants the best.

I choose to dock the tail of our Cockapoos because they are a very small breed dog, and their tail can be easily slammed in your door without you even noticing it due to their small size. Some Cockapoos are very small, and if that were to happen to a dog it may need to be anesthetized to remove the damaged tail. A procedure that, for small breed dogs not weighing much, puts them at high risk of death. This can happen if anesthesia is overdosed accidentally during surgery, because of their tiny size, and yes it does happen more often than you think.

Not only these issues, but many people want the tail short, and so will elect to get it done when the puppy is several months old. The same anesthesia risk is there, because they are so small. If you want your Cockapoo's tail left long, I will gladly do it as I'm sure any breeder would, but you must let the breeder know as soon as the puppy is born since most get their tail docked soon after birth.

I do it when our puppies are 3 days old. Contact the breeder to see when they do theirs. I would like to say that tail docking is not something I endorse, but it is a necessary procedure in my opinion for the safety of the dog. The only thing I and other breeders can do is to make sure it is done using the most painless method, and have the experience to make sure it is done correctly.

Tails are usually docked on 2 to 7 day old puppies, without either general or local anesthesia. When the procedure is done the tail is first dipped in alcohol, and then clamped a short distance from the body, and the portion of the tail outside the clamp is cut away.

Many breeders dock their pups themselves using a method that has been proven to be far more painful - "banding," or tying off the tail. This stops the blood supply, which results in dry gangrene. The dead portion of the tail usually falls off about three days later. This can be likened to slamming your finger in a car door - and leaving it there.

We first clean and disinfect it with alcohol, pinch it with a clamp to stop the blood, cut it with the scalpel, and then glue it and stitch it shut to close it up completely. Dew claws are usually cut at the same time. The whole procedure only takes 2 minutes from start to finish.

Puppies undergoing any method of tail-docking squeal and cry, yet advocates assert that the newborn's nervous system is unable to feel the pain. They point out that puppies immediately crawl to their mothers to nurse. But don't all hurt or frightened children immediately cry for their mommy? Moreover, research indicates that suckling causes the release of endorphins, the body's natural pain relievers, which may be a more realistic way to view the puppies' desire to nurse.

Docking advocates ignore the fact that a newborn puppy simply is not capable of a wide range of responses. It is very difficult to accurately assess the degree of pain a newborn is experiencing. In my experience puppies cry for a minute, and then whine under their breath for a few hours after that. They are fine by the end of the day.

So they are in some pain for a few hours and I think, like a new born human baby, they forget the pain by the next day. Make sure you contact the breeder to see if they even dock tails. Many breeders do not but elect to leave the tail long. In fact there are many breeders trying to make the Cockapoo a recognized breed and in the breed standards I have seen the tail is left long.

Cockapoos come in many different sizes, and some breeders of larger Cockapoos like the tail left long. Even some breeders that breed for smaller Cockapoos prefer the tail left long. So again, contact the breeder of your choice to see what they offer. Here are pics of a Cockapoo with a long tail and one with a short tail.

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Editor's Note: Cockapoo Crazy would like to thank Jordan Family Kennels for providing this frank and honest information, which will certainly be of interest to all cockapoo owners and enthusiasts.


Anonymous said...

I live in Scotland where it is now illegal to dock a dogs tail. I have a cockapoo and her tail constantly wags and she is absolutely stunning with a tail, equally it is lovely to go to the park and see the breeds that were traditionally docked waging their tails. I don't see how docking can be classed as a necessary evil it is not necessary at all an is a cruel and outdated practice. Perhaps in some working dogs it may be necessary but not in family dogs or show dogs.

Anonymous said...

I grew up with a cockapoo with a tail and currently have a cockapoo with a tail. My parents also have a cockapoo with a tail and we have never had a problem. I find this statement "a necessary evil" ridiculous. It is just your opinion as you've stated ONLY an opinion. It is a personal preference and my preference is to have a tail. The dog looks much better with a tail. There is nothing like seeing that tail wagging like crazy when I get home. Just because the parents both have their tails docked makes no difference to this new breed. What about Labradoodles or Goldendoodles? Would you only cut off half of the tail? :)

Anonymous said...

I too have a cockapoo, I would never have his tail docked It's barbaric and a outdated practice. I love to see his tail wagging and I'm sure he enjoys wagging it to.
So what if a wagging tail breaks an ornament or two who cares I sure don't.

Anonymous said...

This is pretty shocking to read! I am searching for a cockapoo and here in California I have not come across any breeders that do tail docking. I am not sure if it's done here or not, but is certainly barbaric and I cannot fathom why it is at all a "necessary evil." I truly hope this becomes banned here. How ridiculous! I would never buy from someone who does this.

Anonymous said...

My cockapoo has her tail docked, but had it been my choice, I never would have had it done. She is tiny-only 8 lbs- and whoever docked her tail docked it so short that you can barely see it! I see her little "stub" trying to wag, and I feel so sorry for her. I would love to know what she might have looked like with her cute little tail wagging! I think this practice is definitely uncalled for, and in my opinion, the argument that docking on a small dog is done for safety reasons is just silly.

Polly said...

Tail docking should be illegal for any civilised society. It is ridiculous to say it is a 'necessary evil'. Pathetic. I was so excited to find this site but such information is sick.
My spoodle ( cockapoo) is perfect the way she is. She has her tail and it is important to see her body language in relation to her 'excitement/fear/submissive' responses. I depend upon other dogs tail position ( a la Dog Whisperer) to know if a dog is approachable, or a threat. It is immoral to cut things of animals to make them 'look good' or 'just in case'. Disgusting.
BTW I live in Australia

the Editor said...

We certainly have seen that many of our overseas owners (and several US cockapoo enthusiasts) have a strong negative reaction to this article. It would probably be in our best interest to remove it, but I feel it is important that this information is here. This article has made many people aware of the tail-docking procedures practiced by most American cockapoo breeders, and however one feels about it, the author, who is a breeder, has provided a description of a process that many had no idea existed. Most US owners we have encountered simply thought cockapoos had short tails until reading this info. Without such honest and open information, no debate exists. Without conversation and debate, no change can occur.

Krista said...

I think this is an excellent article and the breeder was indeed frank and described things simply. I am the proud owner of a docked cockapoo but he was done at the breeder long before I found him. I dont know that I have a preference but the breeder said they dock because of sanitary reasons. It keeps things cleaner? I would argue that because I keep him well trimmed and have not had a problem yet with that.

My cockapoos docking was not done well and it is about half the size of a tail in other words long. Vets have commented on it being a bad job and I have a sneaking suspicion the breeder does it themselves.(it is also a hog farm)

Thank you for the article, I learned new info that I had always wondered about.

Cathyanna said...

Years ago I use to breed Yorkshire Terriers, the Kennel Club standard for that breed was to have the tail docked. I hated taking my puppies to be docked and the vet hated doing it and always tried to talk me out of it. While ever the Kennel Club has a standard for a pedigree dog most pedigree dog breeders will stick to the standard. However Cockapoo's are not a pedigree breed, there is no 'standard' for them to be shown. I therefore can not understand a breeder who chooses to dock - and to use the reason as possibly getting a tail caught in a door could apply to any breed with - what nature intended - a long tail!
Let us please breed happy and healthy puppies, doing the minimum of invasive (and unnecessary) procedures to them before they are old enough to feed themselves!
Cockapoo's are a delight as a hybrid breed and that is why people are prepared to spend a lot of money on what is not a pedigree dog.
I am now the proud owner of a beautiful Cockapoo - with a long tail - and I thank the breeder for having the generosity of spirit to leave her as nature intended.

Anonymous said...

My cockapoo was docked prior to my finding her and while am not going to make a morality judgment I will say her little 3 inch nub stays very clean -- I can see the sanitary argument -- and she wags her tail faster and more responsively to her emotions than any dog I've ever met. Her dock was well done and I can see why its such a desireable trait. As to its morality ... shalt we ban circumcision as well?

Anonymous said...

I had a cockapoo for 15 years and he had a docked tail. I loved the way it wagged and wiggled everytime I looked his way. His whole back end wiggled with joy. I perfer the way it looks and agree with the santitary part. He was my service dog and rode on my wheelchair footplate, if he would of had a tail it would have dragged on the ground. I think eventually I will get another cockapoo with a docked tail, but I will looked into the breeder to make sure it is done correctly and looks good.

Anonymous said...

ok people with cockapoos, my beloved 14 year old dog just went under to get his amputated. Masses and cysts on the tails has been problematic for youars and I spent a fortune on 2 surgeries. Did you ever think maybe the tail is a problem?

Robert Riddell said...

Necessary docking is bullshit! I have a cockapoo with a long tail and love how expressive he is with his tail. My wife decided to surprise me with a cockapoo puppy female) so our little guy could have a companion. My son drove a few hundred miles to pick her up. I was shocked and disappointed to see her tail had been cut off.

Simon said...

Like many others, I was shocked and dismayed to read this. The suggestion that any dog should have its tail docked in case it gets shut in a door is preposterous. Firstly, I have never known this happen to any of the literally hundreds of dogs I have known. Secondly, the likelihood that the injury would be serious enough to warrant the removal of the tail is very small and thirdly, it makes absolutely no logical sense to remove a dog's tail to avoid the risk of having to remove it. My son broke his leg when he was little. Does that mean I should amputate his limbs to avoid this happening again.

Docking is quite rightly illegal in the UK. A tail is an important means of communication for a dog. Cutting off a dog's tail is cruel if for no other reason than they have nothing to wag. It gladdens my heart to see dogs whose tails are traditionally docked proudly wagging their full tails since the law was changed.

Tail docking is cruel and should never happen. Mutilating a dog for fashion is revolting and the reality is that it is done for no other reason.

Vexal said...
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Vexal said...
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Vexal said...

I'm sorry, but you comment "can be easily slammed in your door without you even noticing it due to their small size." is both moronic and pathetic. and should you even have a dog... Our cockapoo has a tail and has never been an issue it is wagging constantly and a delight to see - it is VERY much part of his personality!! - to dock a tail of any dog - unless for medical reasons - is barbaric and in the UK illegal as it should be in the US.
as my mother said - the only luck one gets in life is who your parents are or in this case who your breeder is...

osama b said...

I have recently got my first cockapoo and her tail has been docked, personally I don't care much either way, but slightly prefer the docked tail. This is because the dog looks much better with a docked tail compared to a big tail.

Simon said...

If you had a girlfriend and she thought you looked better with only 9 fingers, would it bee OK for her to chop one off without your permission?

Tail docking is a disgusting practice.