Why Are Yorkies Tails Docked?

Why Are Yorkies Tails Docked?

You must have definitely seen some Yorkies in the dog park or even on dog shows where these Yorkies have their tails docked. Maybe even your own Yorkie has its tail docked. This for sure must have made you wonder: why are Yorkies tails docked?

People dock their Yorkie’s tails for a variety of reasons.So, let’s discuss about the various reasons on why are Yorkies Tails Docked.

You will not only get an answer to the question of tail docking, but will also get an understanding about various other related questions.

For now, let’s start with the crux of this article: why are Yorkies’ tails docked?

Why Are Yorkies Tails Docked? Top 4 Reasons

Why Are Yorkies Tails Docked?

1. To Prevent Injuries

Tail docking amongst dogs is a very ancient and traditional practice. In ancient Rome, people believed that tail docking would help protect dogs from diseases like Rabies. People would dock the dogs’ tails to protect them from hunting injuries.

Earlier, people used to breed Yorkie’s to kill rats in clothing mills, factories and shipyards. These rats would attack the Yorkies’ tail making it difficult for them to chase and kill the rats. 

Thus, owners would cut Yorkies’ tails to help chase these rats better. It also protected them from rat bites that caused further infections which had no treatment at that time. 

2. To Meet Kennel Club Standards 

Another reason as to: why are Yorkies’ tails docked? is for it to fulfill the criteria to be able to participate in dog shows. The dog shows are popular in America. The American Kennel Club (AKC) requires Yorkies to have their tails docked according to their breed standards.

A docked tail stands straight up slightly raised above the level of the back. 

Yorkies also need tail docking procedure at other clubs such as the Continental Kennel Club (CKC), New Zealand Kennel Club (NKC), United Kennel Club (UKC), and the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC). 

So, if you are planning to make your little friend participate in the dog competition, then tail docking is a must.

3. For The Purpose of Beautification

Sometimes, Yorkies undergo tail docking for aesthetic purposes. Yorkies usually have hairy tails. Many people consider these tails as undesirable. Thus, to give it a more clean and elegant look people prefer to have a docked tail for their Yorkie.

This is especially true for small terrier breeds like teacups Yorkies. Due to their extremely adorable cute little sizes, their tail might be an issue in terms of aesthetics and hence pet owners might choose tail docking as an option.

4. As A Cure for Extreme Health Conditions like a Dead Tail

Also called a limber tail syndrome, this occurs when a Yorkie doesn’t waggle its tail too much. This condition usually happens when they play in the water too much or overuse their tail. The limber tail syndrome can cause limpness and weakness in the muscles of the tail.

It is possible that your vet will advice you to follow the tail docking procedure for this condition.

Here is a short video clip for you to help you understand everything that you need to know before putting your Yorkie puppy through the tail docking procedure. 

Check out this youtube link to get more information.

What Is Tail Docking?

Tail docking is a procedure performed by a veterinarian or even at home where the end of a dog’s tail is cut off. It is either done for the dog to be eligible for participating in dog shows or for aesthetic purposes. 

Tail docking is a procedure for cutting in between the bones of the dog’s tail. Tail amputation is another term for this procedure.

There is no fixed time for when tail docking should be performed on your Yorkshire terrier or any other dog. However, veterinarians suggest it be done early on in the pet’s life for example on newborn dogs. 

At What Age Can a Yorkie Puppy’s Tail Be Docked?

Why Are Yorkies Tails Docked?

Vets suggest that a Yorkshire terrier’s tail should be docked when they are a newborn i.e between 24 hours of life to 5 days after birth.  

If you are looking for a complete growth chart for your Yorkie, you can take a look at this guide.

Below are the reasons:

1. Less Painful

Newborn Yorkshire terriers are strong and can handle the pain as their nervous systems and nerves have not yet completely matured. Thus, because their senses like touch, sense, pain, and hearing are weak, they are less likely to experience pain during the procedure. 

If you plan on letting your Yorkshire terrier go through tail docking later in life, it might be a little more painful as nerves and the sensory organs mature very well. 

Thus, your puppy may feel more pain if you dock the tail at a later stage, as compared to an early age.

2. Better Healing Power

Since newborn Yorkshire terriers are still developing and maturing, their bodies develop and produce millions of new cells. These new cells will then help in the healing process of your little pet after the tail has been docked. 

Even if your Yorkie cannot get their surgery done as a newborn, you can do it after 10 weeks of birth where surgical removal of the tail using anesthesia will help your Yorkie heal better and experience less pain. 

3. Small Tail

Since newborn Yorkies are tiny little creatures, their tails too are going to be comparatively smaller. Thus, pet owners can perform tail docking at home too.

You can tie a rubber band tight enough to your puppy’s tail and you can expect the tail to fall off within 3 days. This is because the tail is shorter in length and width which makes it fall off easily. 

Should You Dock Your Yorkies Tail?

Why Are Yorkies Tails Docked?

In the past, docking a Yorkie’s tail was a necessity as they worked in shipyards and clothes factories containing rats. 

Today it is mainly done for aesthetic and appearance purposes. However, in the US for dogs to participate in dog shows, they have to get their tails docked even today.

It is highly advised to not get your Yorkie’s tail docked. But however one cannot make a blanket statement. Many countries have banned this procedure. 

Thus, many vets advise to not get it done unless some serious health condition like a dead tail. 

What Are The Risks of Docking Your Yorkie’s Tail?

Now that we have answered the question, why are Yorkies’ tails docked? at what age should it be docked and whether or not you should consider doing the procedure, let’s look at some of the risks that come along with docking your Yorkie’s tail

As dock tailing includes a surgical procedure, it can have some risks and complications like:

  • Increased risk of infections due to the surgical procedure
  • Excessive bleeding of the tail
  • Necrosis 
  • Prolonged healing time 
  • Acute and chronic pain

How Long Does Tail Docking Take To Heal?

Once the vet performs the surgery, you will need to visit the vet again after 3-10 days to take off the bandages and stitches.

If you perform the procedure at home on your newborn Yorkie, the dead tail will fall off in around 3-4 days and then it starts healing thereafter. 

There are some things you can do to encourage the healing process of your Yorkie’s docked tail: 

1. A Clean Bedding

Make sure that your Yorkie puppy’s bedding is clean, free from urine and fecal matter. We recommend using this product to get rid of any foul smell from your Yorkie’s bedding.

Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator - Enzyme-Powered Pet Odor & Stain Remover for Dog and Cats Urine - Carpet Cleaner Spray - Enzymatic Cat Pee Destroyer - for Small Animals

Also, the bedding should be dry and comfortable with enough bedding for your Yorkie to rest. 

Check out our list of the most comfortable beds for your Yorkie here.

2. Proper Bandaging

Remove the bandages with clean scissors after 3-5 days or whenever your vet tells you to and make sure you do it carefully. 

Can Tail Docking Cause Nerve Damage?

Why Are Yorkies Tails Docked?

Sometimes tail docking leads to the development of neuromas in the tail slump. A neuroma is a pinched nerve or a nerve tumor. The reason for this is the cutting off of the caudal nerves in the tail.

Neuromas cause pain and discomfort for your little Yorkies. Thus, they might get snappy when you go to touch their tail. 

Older dogs are more susceptible to this than the newborn Yorkies.

Can A Puppy Die From Tail Docking?

Tail docking is not harmful if it is done by an experience and professional vet.

However, tail docking can cause complications if it is done by any ordinary person without proper knowledge.

People believe that as they are newborns, puppies won’t experience too much pain and may skip the anesthesia but this is not always true. A pup may suffer without anesthesia and without a proper technique to perform the procedure. 

Thus, you should get the tail docking procedure done by a medical dog professional.

Is Yorkie Tail Docking Legal?

Tail docking is a legal procedure in the US for dogs to be able to take part in dog shows. However, the states of Pennsylvania and Maryland have put restrictions on the tail docking process.

However, these states have made few exceptions. Pennsylvania allows the docking procedure under anesthesia and within the first five days, a puppy is born. In Maryland, the docking procedure should be done under the effect of anesthesia.

Tail docking is illegal in many countries. This is an unnecessary and painful procedure that a dog has to endure.

Some of these countries include Austria, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Cyprus, Scotland, Switzerland, Ireland, Canada, and England. 

Is Tail Docking Ethical?

It is unethical to dock a Yorkie’s tail, as it will inflict unnecessary pain on him.

Dogs’ tails could get infected in ancient times while they were chasing the rats. Hence, people considered it ethical to dock a dog’s tails in ancient times.

But now, owners dock the dog’s tail just for the purpose of beautification. Hence, it is unethical.

Why Does The AKC Support Tail Docking?

The American Kennel Club (AKC) encourages ear cropping and tail docking in dogs. Dog breeds like Doberman pinschers, Great Danes, etc have their ears cropped. It is believed that it helps in better hearing and protects them from harmful insect bites.

When it comes to tail docking, dogs like Yorkshire terrier, Rottweilers, and Cocker Spaniels have to have their tail docked to participate in these dog shows. 

According to the AKC, docked tails make it easy for pet owners to pull out their pets from holes. 

Is It Cruel To Dock Your Yorkie’s Tail?

It is cruel to dock your Yorkie’s tail. Hence, you should not put your little puppy through the pain and suffering. Tail docking is not a necessity.

After all, nobody wants their pet to endure unnecessary pain and suffering!

FAQs on Why Are Yorkies Tails Docked?

1. What Is the Cost of Docking Procedure in Yorkies?

When it comes to the price of docking for Yorkies, the procedure is inexpensive. The price can range anywhere between $10 to $20. When you consider the total cost right from the point of your Yorkie puppy’s initial check-up to the procedure, it can go up to $100.

If you have an older Yorkie, the price will be higher as the procedure would include the use of anesthesia. Thus, the price may then range from $200-$500.

2. How Late Can You Dock a Dog’s Tail?

You should dock your dog’s tail as early as possible. You should refrain from the docking process of your dog if his age is beyond 5 to 7 years.

The vets recommend this strictly.

3. Will Hair Grow Back on the Docked Tail?

Hair is very less likely to grow back on the scar but hair grows around it. However, the skin will cover the bone. Even if hair doesn’t grow around the scar, the hair above on your Yorkie’s tail will be long enough to cover the bald part. 


Tail docking was a popular practice and people would do it quite often on their dogs. However, this practice does not have much significance now.

The current article not only addresses the question: why are Yorkies tails docked? But also answers all the things you need to know if you plan on having your pup undergo this procedure. 

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