Do Maltipoos Have Docked Tails? [The Facts and The Tales]


Maltipoo wagging his tail

If you are looking at adopting a Maltipoo puppy, then you might have noticed that some of these dogs have short tails while others have a tail that appears to be normal. This can confuse new Maltipoo owners, especially when they do not know what docked tails are.

Tail docking is the procedure that is responsible for these short tails in Maltipoos. Although the Maltese is not a dog breed that commonly has a docked tail, some Maltipoo breeders will give their puppies docked tails because it is within the Poodle breed standard.

Here we will explain everything that you need to know about docked tails in Maltipoos and whether it is normal for Maltipoos to have them or not.


What Is A Maltipoo?

Before we get into what tail docking is and the controversy around it, it might be helpful to know what a Maltipoo is. The Maltipoo is a combination between the Maltese and the Poodle. Usually, toy Poodles are used for breeding Maltipoos. These small companion dogs were initially bred sometime in the 1990s when designer breeds grew in popularity.


What Is Tail Docking?


Tail docking is the process of cutting off part of a dog’s tail, usually when the dog is about three days old. A licensed veterinarian should always carry out this process, and the procedure is generally completed at the breeder’s home or facility. This is said to limit the puppies’ stress and exposure to germs commonly present at a vet clinic.

The procedure itself is pretty simple, but it can be carried out in several different ways. Many vets in the past have just cut off part of the tail with just a scalpel or a pair of surgical scissors. However, nowadays, more vets dock tails using the banding method. This method involves putting a tight band around the tail. This will cut off blood supply to the end of the tail, eventually leading to it falling off.


Why Do We Dock Dogs’ Tails?

Usually, only working dogs and dogs that will be shown in dog shows will have docked tails. Working dogs such as hunting and herding dogs will commonly have docked tails to prevent the dog from injuring themselves while working. For example, a herding dog may be in danger of getting a long tail stuck in farm equipment or being stepped on by livestock.

Meanwhile, many dogs shown in official competitions must have their tails docked because they are included within the breed standard. For this example, we will use the Poodle. Although most Poodles are not working dogs in the sense that hunting and herding dogs are, many kennel clubs will require docked tails when entering competitions. However, this is changing in some areas due to the controversy around the tail docking process.


Is Tail Docking Painful?

It has been claimed that tail docking is not painful as long as it is done correctly by an experienced vet before the puppy is five days old. This is because the nervous system has not been fully developed at this point, and this is why the procedure must be done before this time.

However, if the puppy’s tail has not been appropriately docked or if they develop an infection due to their tail docking, this can cause a lot of pain. It is also painful for puppies any older than five days old to have their tail docked, and it is mandatory in most places that any tail docking performed past this age be done with the dog under anesthesia because of this. In addition, some tail docking has led to chronic pain in dogs later in life due to nerve problems that occur as the dog grows.


Are Docked Tails Illegal?


It is illegal in many places to dock your dog’s tail at all, and in some others, it is only permitted for working dogs. As a result, many countries have removed tail docking from every breed standard for dog shows. This way, your purebred can still compete in dog shows even if they do not have a docked tail. Here are some countries where tail docking in dogs is either wholly banned or tightly regulated.

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • England
  • Ireland
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

As of now, tail docking is not illegal within all of the United States. However, many states have rules and regulations surrounding this practice, and most American vets do not condone this practice for aesthetic reasons. Many states are even considering passing a state law making the procedure illegal within their state. As a result, most reputable Maltipoo breeders will not dock their puppies’ tails for these reasons.


Is It OK To Not Dock My Maltipoo’s Tail?


It is completely OK if you do not want to dock your Maltipoo’s tail. Let’s face it, Maltipoos were not bred to be working dogs, and most Maltipoos live their lives being family pets and companions. As a result, most people choose not to dock their Maltipoo’s tail because it would only serve an aesthetic purpose. Many Maltipoo breeders do not even dock their puppies’ tails at all anymore.


Do Other Poodle Mixed Breeds Have Docked Tails?

As mentioned previously, a docked tail is a common part of the Poodle’s breed standard in many countries, including the United States. As a result, many doodle breeders have docked their puppies’ tails to follow the Poodle breed standard and sometimes the breed standard of the other breed included in the mix. Here is a short list of some different Poodle mixes that sometimes have docked tails.

Of course, you may also find some of the above mixed-breed dogs without a docked tail, especially in areas where tail docking is illegal or discouraged.


Should You Dock Your Maltipoo’s Tail?


It is recommended that you do not dock your Maltipoo’s tail. This is not only because it is unnecessary and only serves an aesthetic purpose, but it can potentially cause long-term problems for the dog.

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