Do Yorkies Have Docked Tails? (Solved & Explained!)

Some Yorkies do have docked tails and yet there are those who do not. It’s almost a 50/50 split. What impinges on this is if a breeder or owner decides to dock them due to requirements for show and competitions.

However, this is a point of debate, controversy and contention because there are some people who perceive it as animal cruelty. That said, there are a few health benefits that can fall under medical expediency.

What Does It Mean to Dock the Tail of a Yorkie?

When a newborn Yorkshire Terrier comes into the world, an owner or breeder will cut down the length of its tail via amputation. Usually a vet performs this operation. It gets cut ½ of its full length to make it a medium size. This will eventually force the tail erect as the pup grows into maturity.

Why Do Yorkie Breeders & Owners Dock Their Dog’s Tail?

The only reason why Yorkies get their tails docked is because of show requirements or because the dog is an outdoor working canine. There’s really no other medical benefit to it. It’s an aesthetic and cosmetic effort, making the dog’s tail stand erect.

Which Countries Allowing the Docking of Yorkie Tails?

There are several countries that allow for the docking of a Yorkie’s tail across the board and there are others that allow it, but there are certain restrictive guidelines. For instance, it is legal to dock a Yorkie’s tail in the United States, but there are two states that have specific regulations.

Pennsylvania and Maryland insist that the dog must undergo anesthesia on puppies over five days old. But, in Pennsylvania, if a dog of at least 12 weeks of age may have it done under anesthesia and only performed by a licensed vet who deems it medically expedient.

New Zealand also has tail docking legalized but it can only be done on Yorkie puppies that are four days old or younger. Otherwise, the following list legalizes tail docking across the board without restriction:

  • Mexico
  • Bolivia
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Peru
  • Czech Republic 
  • France 
  • Hungary
  • Portugal
  • Indonesia
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Malaysia
  • Philippines
  • Japan
  • Egypt
  • Iran
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Morocco
  • Mauritius
  • Nepal
  • India
  • Sri Lanka
  • Tunisia

Which Countries Ban Yorkie Tail Docking?

There are just as many, if not more, countries that make docking a Yorkie’s tail completely illegal. Some of these include fines and jail time. However, there are certain exceptions when it comes to working gun breeds of Yorkshire Terrier.

Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Serbia and Wales do have laws against docking. But, certain breeds of working Yorkies can have a docked tail. This is because of what they do and their tail could present a hazard if left long. But, the list below contains all other countries than ban the practice outright:

  • Australia
  • Canada (illegal in every province but Ontario and Alberta)
  • Austria
  • Brazil
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Colombia
  • Greece
  • Cyprus
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • England
  • Scotland
  • Belgium
  • Luxembourg
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Netherlands
  • Switzerland
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Poland
  • Iceland
  • Israel
  • Slovakia
  • Latvia
  • Croatia
  • Lithuania
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • Turkey

Why Is It Controversial to Dock a Yorkshire Terrier’s Tail?

Many people and professionals view the docking of a Yorkie’s tail to be animal cruelty. There are many organizations that opposite and work hard to get legislators to pass laws banning its practice. Ever since 2007, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association and the European Convention for Protection of Pet Animals are leaders in this regard.

Are There Any Benefits to Docking a Yorkie’s Tail?

Unless a dog is a working canine that spends lots of time in the outdoors, there’s really no reason or benefit to docking their tail. That said, there are some adult Yorkshire Terriers that have tails on the receiving end of serious abuse. In this case they have to have their tail docked for medical reasons.

Do Dog Shows Require Docked Tails on a Yorkie?

Yes, several reputable canine clubs and dog shows require the docking of a Yorkie’s tail in order to be eligible. Per the American Kennel Club in the US, Yorkies must have their tails docked to a medium length. Other organizations that also insist on a docked tail include:

  • United Kennel Club (UKC)
  • Canadian Kennel Club (CKC)  
  • Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)
  • New Zealand Kennel Club (NZKC)

At What Age Should You Dock a Yorkie’s Tail?

Usually, a breeder will dock a Yorkshire Terrier’s tail when they’re only a few days old. This is the best time because it offers the least amount of pain and risk to the dog’s health.

However, it’s best to dock a Yorkie’s tail around 10 to 12 weeks old. This way the dog can undergo anesthesia and receive medication that will reduce the pain.

Do All Breeders Have a Yorkie’s Tail Docked When the Dog Is Young?

No, not all breeders will dock a Yorkie’s tail. They intend for the dog to be a pet and not for show. But, a great many breeders will dock the tail.

What Is the Normal Method for Docking a Yorkie’s Tail?

There are two methods by which a Yorkie’s tail undergoes docking. The first way occurs by restricting the blood supply to the tail with a ligature for a day or two. This forces the top part of the tail to fall off on its own. It starts when the puppy is a day or two old and comes off in two to three days.

The other method is by a licensed veterinarian using a surgical scalpel or scissors to cut off the dog’s tail. This is often done within the first two to five days of life without anesthesia.

Does It Hurt a Yorkie to Have Its Tail Docked?

There is a slight bit of discomfort at first for the dog. But this is why it’s done when they’re young. They’ll heal fast and won’t remember a thing. For an older dog, not only will this be excruciating, but it can also create some health problems along with infection.