In the United States, tail docking is routinely preformed on small Yorkshire terrier puppies to prepare them for dog shows. This procedure is done to young puppies because it is less painful for puppies than it is for adults. However, in some countries it is unacceptable to dock the tail of a dog, and doing so will get the dog banned from any shows.
Where Yorkies are Docked
Yorkshire terriers do not have their tails docked in every country. In fact, some countries ban the practice. Many countries in Europe, Australia, Greece and South Africa ban the docking of Yorkie tails. Docking is still practiced regularly in the United States, and for show-quality Yorkies in the United States the tail must be docked. Occasionally, the tail is docked in the United Kingdom, but show Yorkies do not have their tails docked in the UK.
There is no medical reason to dock the tail of a Yorkie dog. The main reason that Yorkie tails are docked are for aesthetic purposes. The natural tail is long and sticks up beyond the height of the head. A docked Yorkie has a tail that sticks straight up below the level of the head, which creates clean lines when the hair is worn at show length. The American Kennel Club (AKC), Continental Kennel Club (CKC), New Zealand Kennel Club (NZKC), United Kennel Club (UKC) and the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) require the use of docked tails for Yorkies when entering the dog shows.
Yorkie dogs can be docked in two different ways. One method is done by the owner soon after birth. The owner wraps a rubber band around the tip of the tail within two or three days of the puppy’s birth. After three days, the tail falls off due to the lack of blood. The second method is done by a vet. The vet cuts the tip of the tail off with surgical scissors between two and five days after the puppy’s birth. Older dogs can have their tails docked under anesthesia after 10 weeks of age.
There are no real risks to tail docking with Yorkie puppies. When the dogs are young, they have an underdeveloped nervous system, which makes it difficult for them to feel pain. This makes the docking procedure nearly painless for young puppies. However, if the owner does not tie the band around the tail correctly, it is possible that the tail can become infected. The owner may accidentally remove too much of the tail, which can cause harm for a dog’s show quality and discomfort later in life.