Dreibergen Rottweilers

The Truth About Rottweiler Natural Tails

by Erika Butler - Dreibergen Rottweilers

There is plenty of inaccurate information circulating on the internet about Rottweilers with natural tails, most of it written by breeders that have only owned docked Rottweilers and would NEVER consider owning a Rottweiler with a natural tail. I stopped docking in 1999 and I have owned only Rottweilers with natural tails for the past 15 years, almost immediately after the laws were changed in Germany. I have been to countless shows where there are ONLY tailed Rottweilers, including the Klubsieger Show in Germany and the IFR World Show and have seen the varieties of different tail carriages and sets.

There was a particular article on the internet that appeared when the FCI Breed Standard was first changed that described a disastrous effect the natural tail would have on our breed. The article described tail sets that don't exist in quality breedings any more than they existed prior to the standard change and depicted structure changes that would be necessary for a tailed dog that simply aren't true.

This photo is from an article on a anti-natural tail website depicting the Rottweiler that "we recognize"

This drawing describes a tail set as seen in Sweden. This tail only belongs on an Akita!

This photo describes the tail as an elongation of the topline.

A Rottweiler's natural tail is carried hanging while at rest, and often over the dog's back when excited. It normally has a slight curve. A Rottweiler does not hold it's tail in a stiff position sticking straight out from the body, but it can be captured appearing to stick straight out by a camera, with the picture taken at exactly the right moment, as the tail wags back and forth

Some additional reasons the article gave against natural tails:
"To add a long, heavy tail to the structure described in the standards would change the center of gravity, moving it towards the rear of the dog..."
"...would lessen the Rottweiler's ability as an endurance trotter, unless the croup we desire today changes."
"...the Rottweiler's presently desired croup and tail set would have to change to accommodate an undocked tail."
"I also would expect to see the undocked Rottweiler change proportion, too, and become a longer dog."

The author would have us believe that a natural tailed Rottweiler might look like this:

The truth is, this Rottweiler has a falling croup, and was born with a falling croup. Does this croup suddenly and magically change when the tail is removed?

The structure is already determined at birth, the genetics for the croup and tail set were already in place before the puppy arrived in this world. The puppy was born with a tail and a croup that croup remains the same whether left natural or docked by the breeder.
Using the author's own drawing, it is easy to see how correct structure remains unchanged, with or without a tail

Just like ANY other part of a dog, the tail structure (shape) can be faulty. The breed standard clearly describes a faulty tail as kinked tail or a ring-tail, with strong lateral deviation.

"...tail selection will suddenly move from no consideration at all to major consideration in the selection of breeding stock"

We have had many litters with natural tails and have found no need to change our breeding program to accommodate some imaginary problem with the tails or structure. Despite the fact that they were previously removed, the tails still knew what they were supposed to be if left intact. Ring tails and kinked tails do occur - in some lines more than others - however they have no impact on the health of the dog, they are a simple cosmetic fault.

"...a long tail would probably become injured by beating it against the wall, the table, etc."

A Rottweiler is no more prone to tail injuries than any other natural tailed dog. Would it be logical to argue that all dogs breeds should be docked to protect against tail injury? Tail sprains and injuries happen to all natural tail breeds but this has never been used as a reasonable argument to support docking of all dog breeds.

Docked or natural in the U.S. is purely personal preference. The presence of a tail has not, and will not change the structure of the breed, it is the breeders that change the structure of the breed. In the United States of America, ALL Rottweiler fanciers should striving for the same thing...


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