Bandit. asked in PetsDogs · 1 decade ago

WHY was tail docking made illegal in the United Kingdom?

Yet another example of British Dog Law being a bit on the stupid side... I know it is illegal "except for medical reasons" but WHY was it made illegal? And what kind of medical reasons? The tail getting caught or injured because the dog wasn't docked?!


PLEASE READ: Before you write about how 'cruel' it is, I advise that you look up the kind of injuries working dogs are sustaining from UNDOCKED tails. You are making yourself look like a moron if you post OMG IT IS SOO CRUEL. Thanks :D

Update 2:

Voelven: You are NOT included in that rant. I didn't realise it was same in Denmark. Thank you for the knowledge.

Update 3:

Memphis Belle my lovely, your question has half disappeared :P

17 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The AnimalRightistas decided docking is CRUEL... and the people of the UK didn't opt to fight them when they went to get the law passed.

    Incrimentalism regarding a variety of dog and animal laws that are slowing removing more and more of your rights to do what YOU feel is best regarding the breeding, care and ownership of your animals is a very good lesson for those of us in the US.

    Edit: In the UK the AnimalRightistas are now targeting those who breed purebred, registered dogs - they've scared the KC into instituting rules for breeding as well as changing breed standards because for whatever reason they don't believe breeders have the brains or decency to do what is right - they've targeted the 99% of good breeders because of the actions of the 1% of poor ones -- which wouldn't fly in the US because we're quite happy to live with 1% "bad" (look at the criminals who are brought to court and then released due to a legal technicality) in order to preserve the RIGHTS of the 99% good.

    In the US the AnimalRightistas are instead waging a war of attrition - using a divide and conquer strategy. Creating discord amongst breeders, labeling breeders and encouraging finger pointing. Passing or attempting to pass laws that target "those" breeders - such as licensing breeders while the masses fail to realize once the law is on the books it is MUCH easier to change (in Iowa last year they opted to license breeders for $25 - this year the proposed fee is 400% higher!!!) - But NOT addressing the issue of actually targeting those who break the current laws regarding conditions their dogs are kept in.

    Waging a war that includes dis-information: Demonizing breeders with the general public ( a constant refrain on many "dog" tv programs is the myth of "hybrid vigor" - thus encouraging the belief that breeders of purebred dogs are evil).


    My own opinion regarding docking --- It's MY dog. If the standard required docking I would do it.

    I remove dewclaws as a matter of preventative maintenance. Having dealt with a dog with a horrific injury due to NOT having dewclaws removed, I decided it wasn't worth the risk.

    I can imagine, if I had a docked breed, I would feel that risking a tail injury that requires ADULT docking, which is VASTLY more risky than doing so with a neonate, I wouldn't wish to risk it by leaving tails intact.

    As far as people botching docking -- I agree with the poster who decried outlawing docking rather than simply passing a law making DIY docking illegal.

    Edit: How very silly to pass a more restrictive law rather than to simply ENFORCE the law already on the books.

    What do people not understand about incrementalism??? Pass a law banning private parties from docking. Fail to enforce it. Pass a more restrictive law banning it for all but working dogs ---- and how much sense does it make to NOT allow docked working dogs to compete for championships?? (that plays beautifully into the current mantra of useless show dogs).

  • 1 decade ago

    I am TOTALLY with Memphis Belle on her answer.

    It certainly has nothing to do with the Animal Rights brigade over here at all, and if they held any sway at all then I would of hoped they could manage to put puppy mills & stores selling pups out of business long before they managed to persuade docking to become illegal. Although I would agree that animal organisations such as the RSPCA were hell bent on getting it made illegal.

    I much prefer the look of my breed (the rottie) with a docked tail, but what is happening over here now is that you are still able to buy an illegally docked dog from a byb, and there are plenty of them. What's more, the kennel club are still registering docked litters and have told me that unless the breeder has a current prosecution pending because of the docking, then the KC cannot refuse to register. Makes a mockery of the whole thing.

    From my point of view I hate this law, however because all the decent responsible breeders who show their dogs are not docking, then I would report any I know that are docked for the reason that it's the type of people still docking that I abhor. The byb. It is their dogs that end up in rescue with us.

    Kitty -- if you think that people don't use their dogs to fight over here then you are sadly very very mistaken. It is on the rise here and happens in nearly every town.

  • 4 years ago

    I would think that the stupid politicians fell hook, line and sinker for the BS that the AR crowd spews. First of all, they say cropping & docking is cruel, however, the AR crowd wants mandatory spay / neuter laws, which is much more invasive surgery. My dog, my property, I decide. If I like the look for a cropped / docked breed, then I have no qualms about cropping/ docking. Plus, it is not the governments business to tell me what I can or can not do. Like or not, dogs are considered property. I am not their mother nor am I their "guardian". I'm going to get TD's from the Bunny Huggers and I don't care. edit: Dutch, could you tell me where in the U.S. cropping & docking is illegal? I know the NYS Assembly is trying to push this thru, they tried last year and it failed, but is up again for consideration.

  • 1 decade ago

    Contrary to popular opinion it was NOT the "animal welfare nuts" that brought about a change in the legislation in England which made the practice of docking illegal {save for the narrowly construed working dogs exemption}. The change in the law stemmed from the EU after they reached a consensus & in common with the majority of the Western European countries, was incorporated into domestic legislation.

    In my opinion the practice of docking became illegal because of:

    a) the overwhelming majority of working breeds are not bred to do type of work the breed originally created to do or other type of real work.

    b) countries such as Germany had made the practice of docking illegal prior to England & the recorded incidences of tail damage in traditionally docked breeds was mininmal & the level of risk no greater than in traditionally undocked breeds.

    c) the amateurs who botched docking litters, which resulted in death unnecessary suffering.

    A vet can legally dock a dog if it has suffered an injury resulting in tail damage which requires full or partial amputation of the tail.

    Edit: If working breed dogs are bred to work, then the working dog exemption would apply & the litter COULD legally be docked, to prevent tail damage. The litter would not however be elligible to be shown at open/championship shows, as since April 2007 docking is against the breed standard.

    The revision of the breed standards was NOT the work of the moment & nor as it appears to be commonly held to be, a reaction to "Pedigree Dogs Exposed" program.

    The Kennel Club in *conjunction" with the breed clubs had been working for some time to revise the breed standards & amended {by that I mean did more than clarify the language where there may have been ambiguity}, to aid interpretation by judges/breeders}, only a *MINORITY* of the breed standards.

    Prior to the ban on docking in England the practice of DIY docking WAS illegal since 1993 & only registered vet were legally permitted to dock, but as has always been the case, its one thing to pass a law & another to make it cost effective to enforce.

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  • .
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago


    I used to be an animal "rights" nut though so I shouldn't talk LOL At least I grew out of it when I was 16.

    My dog I adopted has dew claws. Sucked pretty bad when it got caught on a blanket and she twisted it around.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well, here in Denmark it's illegal because it is illegal to perform unnecessary surgery and cause an animal unnecessary pain, so it's probably something similar in the U.K.

    As for medical reasons, a few hunting breeds here are exempt from the law because their tails are such that they can damage them during a hunt, other medical reasons could be dog injuring its tail or a dog born with a tail deformation.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Probably due to so many people not knowing what they are doing with tail docking.

    Three of my five dogs had their tails intact their whole lives, and never had any problems. My other two were already docked long before we got them. So I will never dock tails. I prefer to keep animals as natural as possible. Four of my five have/had dewclaws intact as well, and never had any problems. My Toy Poodle had hers removed long before we got her. Had I known these friends were going to give her to us(they are breeders), I would have told them not to do anything with her. But she was four months old when we got her. All of my other dogs were/are rescues.

    Edit: I don't believe it's cruel, I just know that none of my dogs with tails and dewclaws intact haven't ever had any problems, and believe tails and dewclaws serve a purpose.

  • 1 decade ago

    Because a bunch of cry babies cried about it to have it banned lol.

    I think it's ridiculous when some breeds (like the Doberman) actually have it as a breed standard. I don't know why the UK decided that the dogs there should be any different.

    You bring up a good point - docking is virtually painless when it is done at 2 days of age. So I guess they think it is better suited to the dog to have the tail amputated when there is an injury - and dogs breaking their tails happens more often than people seem to think.

    PLUS the amputation process and recovery is VERY PAINFUL for the dog!

    People are so blind. It's that whole "new age" kind of thinking and people's feelings - not what is better suited to the dog.

    ADD: If it was because so many people were butchering the procedure (which I'm sure they were) why didn't they govern it in some fashion?? Like when you go to register your dog and it is cropped/docked you have to provide papers from a registered vet that is approved to do the procedure?

    My dog's ears are natural (although I am not opposed to cropping) and his tail is docked. I wouldn't have it any other way. And guess what? He has no problem "communicating" with me with a docked tail. He still has 4 joints left in it!! Docking doesn't mean the dog has NO tail at all, it's just short.

    ADD2: This is a pretty good article for the people that think docking is so cruel:

  • Because the animal rights nutjobs completely dominate over there. They've convinced people of all sorts of craziness.

    Lots of working dogs over there ARE suffering tail damage as a result of not being docked. So instead of a minor, quickly forgotten snip at 3-5 days of age they now need a major amputation as adults.

  • It's illegal because people are silly mindless sheep. One sheep baaa'd away, another sheep repeated what it heard the other sheep say, baaa! The next thing you know, docking tails is DEFINITELY almost as bad as killing a basketful of kittens (which these same animal rights people do every day in "Humane" societies).

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