There are some interesting preconceptions about the looks and physiology of certain dog breeds and hybrids. The expectation of seeing a spaniel breed or crossing with barely any tail means that there is a surprise to see one with a long hairy tail instead. What is the case for Cockapoos – Cocker Spaniel Poodle crosses? Are they born with short tails, or are their tails docked instead?
Do Cockapoos have docked tails? Yes. While there is that assumption that Cockapoos are born with short tails, this isn’t the case at all. Cockapoos can have long tails if left to grow naturally. However, breeders often dock the tails after birth because it is seen as the desirable norm. You may also find that some new owners decide to dock their puppies’ tails or that the tail is amputated at a later date.
The Tail of The Poodle
The tail of the Poodle can look very different depending on the dog that you meet. Some Poodles barely seem to have any tail at all, which gives the impression that this is a short-tailed breed. This is true for the Standard, which you won’t see bred with a Cocker Spaniel, as well as the smaller Toy and Miniature Poodles. However, you will also see some of these dogs with surprisingly long tails. These are not hybrids. This is the natural tail of the Poodle before docking. Of course, there are also those tails with the pompom-like cuts that distort the shape entirely.
The Tail of The Cocker Spaniel
The same is true for Cocker Spaniels. It isn’t uncommon to find these dogs with contrasting tails depending on the breeder’s views or perhaps the dog’s medical history. You can find some spaniels with barely any tail at all. For some, this is the norm as many Cockers do have their tails docked as puppies. However, you can also find many of these spaniels with long tails with silky hair growing from them. These tails are either a blessing or a nuisance, depending on who you talk to.
Owners And Breeders
Not all Cockapoos are alike – it is down to the owners and breeders.
This variation is why it is common to see puppies with short tails and why you shouldn’t dismiss a long-tailed Cockapoo as a different hybrid. Some people assume that there is no such thing as a long-tailed Cockapoo simply because all the guides and photos they saw showed short-tailed animals. They don’t realize that this is an alteration at human hands. For some new owners, this can come as a shock as they understand what could have been. Others may be grateful because they feel that this is better for the dog.
Tail docking still common practice with a lot of dog breeds.
It is essential to understand that the practice of tail docking is still misunderstood and controversial in the US. Other countries, such as the UK, passed laws to prevent tail docking for breed standards and aesthetic reasons.
You can, however, still, dock a tail for medical reasons.
There are calls for similar laws in the US to prevent the unnecessary docking of tails in long-tailed breeds and hybrids such as the Cockapoo.
But, there are still those who feel that a docked tail enhances a dog’s characteristics and is safer for them.
This amputation of the tail occurs pretty quickly, often at the hand of the breeder.
In a Cockapoos’ case, you will often find that breeders remove the tails from a young age so that all their puppies meet these expectations when new owners come to buy them.
Some will do this via a vet and a more professional amputation service.
However, many more will do so themselves. There is a method of tying off the tail to stop circulation and waiting for it to fall off. They say that this doesn’t cause much distress for the dog and helps them out in the long run because they can avoid future injuries.
This is disputed.
Or, new owners can have the tail docked by a vet.
New owners who chose a pup that doesn’t have a docked tail can do this themselves.
There is the fear that the tails will become trapped indoors or underfoot with small Cockapoos or that they will impede the dog when getting around and playing.
Some owners choose to have their vet perform the procedure safely and hygienically to make things easier on the dog later in life.
Is Tail Docking A Necessity With These Dogs?
Of course, we can’t start citing breed standards from the AKC as a reason to dock the tails of Cockapoos.
These dogs are hybrids and therefore not eligible for shows.
Therefore, any excuse for docking a tail is purely out of personal choice during puppyhood. They do state that the tail of the Cocker Spaniel should be docked. They also highlight the sloping back and long coat.
This is another reason why people may assume that the spaniel has a naturally shorter tail.
Those in favor will argue that tail docking on any breed is crucial to protect the animal from harm.
This argument goes back to older ideas about docking spaniel tails to prevent injury while out working in the field.
But, this isn’t the lifestyle of a Cockapoo.
Those that are opposed to tail docking say that the tails should be natural and left alone so that dogs can enjoy the warmth and the expression that comes from tail wagging.
Final Thoughts – Do Cockapoos have docked tails?
In short, the smaller tails that you see on Cockapoo puppies for sale are not natural. Instead, this is the result of docking. Breeders know that there is an expectation for a shorter tail – either for health or aesthetic reasons – and perform the act themselves. You can find pups and rescues that have full tails.
It is up to you whether you believe that docking is essential or cruel.
More info on Cockapoos