Docking Tails and Cropping Ears
I was reading a discussion online today. Someone wanted an Australian Shepherd puppy but didn't want the tail docked so he would need to pick out the puppy as a newborn. He was asking for advice on doing that. Lots of people gave the advice to not worry about the tail docking and wait to choose the puppy later. Some said he should get a Border Collie because they were just like Australian Shepherds with tails. 8| Some were adamant that the puppy needed to have a docked tail because that was the breed standard.

My thinking is if a docked tail is the breed standard wouldn't that make any puppy born with a tail not to standard and not eligible for registration? I know it doesn't work that way but it seems silly to have to alter the look of a puppy to meet the breed standards.

I wish the US would go the direction of the UK and let our pups keep their ears and tails natural, I wonder if that will ever happen.
WOW, isn't this a huge subject with so many facets. Personally I think the "Breed Standard" in respect to tails and ears should be that which is initially naturally occurring in the dog at such times as the breed was initially accepted and registered as a breed. I had for a long time assumed that was the case with the Aus Shep just as the bobtail in the Smithfield Cattle dog (relative to ACD) is naturally occurring. I think it may have been by GM on this forum that I came to know otherwise and I was genuinely shocked. I hate the idea and although supporters present all manner of justification particularly in respect to working breeds, at the end of the day I feel that if you can't create a breed suitable for the task without mutilating it, then rather than respecting the canine for it's attributes you are exploiting it.

I do not wish to offend anyone with my opinion on this and make absolutely no judgement on others. Since following a few US training and breeders groups I have come to realise the enormity of the distance in mindset between different cultures.

I grew up with docking being the norm in many breeds, cropping was never seen anywhere in Australia. I think this may largely be due to C & D being already outlawed before certain breeds became popular, although Dobermans and Danes were already popular. I have never even seen a dog in the flesh that has cropped ears and I am not a young woman.
When it was first outlawed it was of course strange seeing dogs getting around with tails that had previously been docked. I admit that when I first saw a Rottweiler or Doberman with a tail I didn't like it at all. It challenges what you think you know as being "normal and correct". 15 years later and I like many, many Australians just love all these dogs with their beautiful expressive tails and the mindset in respect to C & D is pretty much one of being appalled that it ever came to be let alone still happens.

I don't know a lot about Aus Shepherds, which should be American Shep, as that is where it was created but they were a breed that I considered briefly when I decided not to continue with German Shepherds. Aesthetically the "no tail" was where I stopped. I know aesthetics are not the be all and end all but hey, if you are inclined to becoming addicted to a breed you may as well like the look of it.

I can really appreciate the possible benefits of choosing a pup from an existing litter for perceived temperament but personally I think knowing the pups Dame and Sire is of equal if not more benefit. I would never support a breed where C & D was the norm but for the sake of discussion if I did I would absolutely not buy a pup that was docked. If I had to choose before the breeders scheduled amputations I would definitely do so. I would prefer to decide how committed I was to having that breed, come to personally know the breeding parents and develop a good relationship with a prospective breeder. I would do as I did with Jasper and am now doing in respect to my next pup and make a choice based on a particular mating. i.e. I chose Jasper based on the Sire and Dame I had come to know and I have again booked a pup from the same Sire. Max and Jasper are from the same Dame and their respective Sires temperaments have shone through in both of them to a high degree.

I can't speak for Americans but from what I see on various forums I would guess that changes to the C & D situations are unlikely. The majority seem to support it and are passionate in their argument for it, so no, I don't think it will happen in the foreseeable future.
Sadly I don't think the systems changing would happen in my lifetime if it does it will take a lot of time and changing of people in positions to make changes?

They altar some of these puppies breeds before conception. I was told I would have to cover the pink in back of Keller's nose with something if I wanted to put him in the shoe ring. They go that far for standard to please a judge? No I do not show him I am a firm believer in neutering if not going to take breeding seriously.

As for choosing a puppy at birth...I would be nervous. You can't be sure of the temperament at that phase of a puppy's life can you? After a temperament problem with a previous dog I would not do it. Could go sadly wrong for everyone.

I don't think the two breeds are identical then again no two dogs are alike whether they are from same breed or even from the same parents.
P.S. I looked it up the Aussie tail dock has been standard from start for prevention of damage because of their rough life and job in the west of America.
I never saw cropped ears untill I moved to Canada. It was illegal in England. Though docking was still prevalent then, though I believe this is not the case now. I was in Germany from 1997 -2004 there I saw dogs that were usually had docked tail have their full tails.
Personally I would choose to see the dog in its natural state.
Both docking and cropping is mutilation for no reason. Also dogs use their ears and tails for communication and their tails are used for balance.

My friend who breeds Australian Shepherds, said she would stop breeding if docking became illegal. Shocking statement.
This is partly because, The breeders have no idea what they have bred in as regards to the tail. If they suddenly are not able to dock their next generation couldnhave a high likelihood that the tail carriage is wrong. This could take quite a lot of breeding to correct or starting over.
Ah the beauty competitions!
Interestingly she would not leave a dog undocked because even if she had someone pick a pup on day one, this is not going to happen because this pup might end up being her pick pup. Many breeders also feel that even though they can still show in confirmation that they would be at a huge disadvantage. I am slowly seeing some breeders now choosing not to dock. I do think in time North America will feel the pressure to follow in Europe's footsteps. This is because there is such a growing anti pedigree feeling,
This may sound breedist but I won't choose any breed requiring said practices. I am so used to seeing the dogs looking that way around me I actually would feel my dog looks abnormal without it. And as it has been stated it is a form of mutilation as it has no health benefits. I don't declaw my kids cats. They need their toes. I agree with QD tails and ears have purposes...but my brain could not get past what I have known all my life.
Ear cropping has always been banned in the U.K. and tail docking has been banned since 2006, there are just a few working breeds that are still allowed. Aussies can be born with a naturally short tail, but not all are and if you breed 2 dogs with naturally bobbed tails it can result in puppies with spinal issues.

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Both docking and cropping are losing favor here in the States, but as far as the standard goes, it is for showing and no dog needs to live up to the standard if they aren't being shown. There is a movement within a few of those breeds to not require cropping and docking to show, but if cropped and docked is all the judges will put up, then that is what those people will do. I love me a natural dog!!!

Some Aussies are naturally bob-tailed, but not many and some of the ones that are have the genetic spinal issues that some bob-tailed dogs have. And Aussies are very different than BCs, personality-wise.
Gotta love 'em.
Keller, I agree with you. My daughter once expressed an interest in getting an Aussie and I told her that we could only get a puppy from a breeder that didn't dock tails, otherwise we would need to get an Aussie from a rescue, I just can't support tail docking. We had an Aussie in our agility class for a while that his owner had purchased in France. He had the prettiest tail and it really added to his personality.

Gideon's Mom, I also thought the suggestion was odd. I like all the Aussies I have met but they were very different from a BC.

I met a lady who does agility with her Doberman. She has a puppy that is five months old, he was neutered and had bandages on his ears from cropping. I couldn't figure out why. I would never crop ears but why crop when the dog will never be in a conformation show?

For people not living in the US, cropping and docking is part of the culture. I know of a couple of "oops" litters where one of the parents had a docked tail so the puppies' had their tails docked. Why?! Dock the tails of a mutt? (and, just to let you know my feelings, mutt is said endearingly). I just don't get it.

I have read of Aussie breeders that breed for sport and don't dock tails and I overheard a trainer at an agility trial that questioned whether there was a purpose to docking tails so I hope the trend will slowly change.
Animals should stay the way they were born.  The ears and tails must have a purpose or they would not be there.  I had an Aussie/Golden Retriever cross once who had a beautiful tail.  It was a natural Aussie tail.  Why would anyone cut it off?

It is not just dogs in the states that have their tails docked.  I am an American who actually thought that sheep either had no tails or had stubby ones.  Then I moved to the Republic of Ireland.  The first time I saw sheep with tails I was in shock.  Sheep with tails?  Were they some kind of special Irish sheep?  My son was with me that day and he at first thought the sheep had five legs.  Then we realized sheep have long natural tails.  And for some odd reason, Americans dock them at birth.

The Irish raise sheep for both wool and food.  Sheep tails are actually sold in butcher shops for making soup.  Such a novel idea for animals to be allowed to stay in their natural state!

Unless an animals has a diseased or injured tail and cutting it off is they only alternative for saving the animal, tails belong where tails belong.

Docking ears is another matter.  Both cruel and stupid.

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