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Are English Bulldogs Born with Tails or Docked?

Did you know that cosmetic docking of dog’s tails is illegal in the US and the UK? No? Now you know. Most English bulldogs are born with small tails, short and wavy, whilst others are born with longer ones. However, most people have a common assumption that English bulldog’s tails are docked for cosmetic purposes.

In fact, if you own an English bulldog, you’ll often be stopped in the street by random strangers to ask if you docked your dog. We still don’t know why anyone would voluntarily subject their dog to such pain.

English bulldog puppy with small tail

Most English Bulldogs have short stubs for a tail and fall short of what most people would expect of a dog tail. Some of them have averagely long tails, depending on their shapes. However, most English bulldogs with longer tails have a history of being cross-bred. If you see an English bulldog without a  tail, it was probably docked for medical purposes.

A classic English bulldog can either have a straight corkscrew or a long and wavy tail. Straight tails are short but taper down the dog’s bottom. The American Kennel Club considers these tails very desirable for this dog breed. Some straight tails rise upwards and are also natural shape for an English bulldog’s tail.

Corkscrew tails wrap downwards like a corkscrew and are very common with English bulldogs. The tail is usually very flexible when the dog is a puppy but becomes more rigid as the dog grows older. Some corkscrew tails lie too close to the dog’s back skin that they become a breeding ground for parasites and wounds. For this reason, an English bulldog owner can have the tail docked for the dog’s overall health.

Other English bulldogs have long and wavy tails, something that is considered faulty by dog experts. However, a long tail only indicates crossbreeding, not a defect in an English bulldog.

English Bulldog with natural small stubbed tail

When Is Tail Docking an Option?

English bulldogs have a long crossbreeding history, making them prone to disease. Unfortunately, the short tails sometimes contribute to their health problems by harbouring parasites. The tails can also become very uncomfortable as the dog grows older. Many vets recommend tail docking if the tail becomes a problem for the dog.

How Can I Take Care of My English Bulldog’s Tail?

Never allow water or moisture to settle under an English bulldog’s corkscrew tail. The wetness will lead to a fungal infection which can be quite a headache for you and the dog. You can use wet wipes to keep the area dry. You can also use a cloth, warm water and mild dog shampoo to clean the area. Rinse it off with clean water and dab dry with a soft dry cloth. If the area already has an odour or your dog resists you touching the area, there could be an infection. Talk to your vet and get some medication.


English bulldogs are one of the most common dog breeds, but their tails are often misunderstood. Most people think that the tails are docked for cosmetic purposes.

However, most English bulldogs are born with small tails and are only docked for medical purposes. The next time you see an English bulldog, don’t be too quick to assume that their tails were docked for cosmetic purposes.

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