Flat $0.99 or FREE shipping over $39 purchase

Dog Tails: Docks, Crops, Spirals, Curls, And More

dog communication dog tails


As dog guardians, we love to see those happy tails wag. But how many have wondered about dog tails and their many shapes and sizes? There are names for tails and their shapes, similar to the names we give haircuts. Every dog is one-of-a-kind, and their wiggly waggly tails are one of their most adorable features.

For anyone wondering Why Dogs Wag Their Tails, we’ve got the answers, here.

A dog’s tail is actually an extension of their spine. It has vertebrae, muscles, and tendons, all of which make the tail flexible and help it move. The ways tails move are a form of nonverbal communication that we are only beginning to understand. A wagging tail doesn’t just mean a dog is happy. We have to be able to pick up on subtle clues and movements to translate the intricacies of dogs and their communication, including their body language and tail vocabulary.


Dog-Tails-Vet-Organics A dog who is born with no tail is called a bobbed tail, rather than tail-less. It’s a cute little nub and wagging their tails often just means they wiggle their butt. However, there’s no shortage of understanding. They are still able to communicate with us and with other dogs, although perhaps they come across a bit muted.

Some breeds that are commonly born without a tail include: 
Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Australian Shepherds, Brittany Spaniels, Jack Russell Terriers, and Schipperkes.  


Dog-Tails-Vet-Organics Some breeds are born with a bobbed tail. Some dogs go through a procedure to remove their tail. In this case it’s called a docked tail. Docked, or amputated tails began in ancient Rome as a way to identify dogs that belonged to the poor, and as a misunderstood effort to prevent rabies. Over time docking became a cosmetic tradition that continues for purebreds and dogs shows today. Some working dogs are also docked for safety. It is thought that docking will minimize injury.
Breeds that often have their tails docked are: Dobermans, Boxers, and English Pointers.

Ring, Curly, Corkscrew

Dog-Tails-Vet-Organics A ring or curly tail is one that curves around in a ring shape. It’s typically held up and can look like the curl is sitting on the dog’s rump. A ring-shaped tail is often a shorter tail, giving it the look of being a single ring. Corkscrews are typically longer tails that extend past the closed ring.
Dog breeds best known for ring, curly, or corkscrew tails include:
Pugs, Bulldogs, and Basenjis.


Dog-Tails-Vet-Organics A sickle tail is one that curves back towards the dogs back and points towards the head of the dog. This is very similar to curly tails, but without quite so much curl. It’s more of a curve or an upward semicircle, hence the ‘sickle’ reference. Also, the sickle tail tends to be more soft and flexible .
Akitas, Chihuahuas, Chow Chows, Malamutes, Pomeranians, Siberian Huskies, and Samoyeds.


Dog-Tails-Vet-Organics A dog with an otter tail is one that has a thick, rounded tail. This rounded look is usually because of a thicker coat. The tail is pointed down, usually with a small c-shape, or it remains fairly straight. This is a great tail for water-dogs because they use it as a rudder while swimming.
The most common dogs with an otter tail are: Labrador Retrievers, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, and Otterhounds.

Whip or Carrot

A whip tail is similar to the otter tail, but tends to be thinner and often belongs to short hair breeds. It tapers off at the end and looks like, you guessed it, a whip. It is also called a carrot tail, for similar reasons. It is shaped this way because these breeds with this tail would be used to hunt underground. The farmer would grab them by the tail to pull them out of a hole, if necessary.

Common breeds with whip or carrot tails are: Manchester Terriers and Border Terriers, Dachshunds, Dalmations, and English Setters.

There are more, but these are the most common and represent the majority of common dog breeds. Which kind of tail does your dog have? Send us a picture on  Facebook or Instagram and use #VetOrganics. We would love to hear from you. 

Michelle Lievense

Michelle is a writer and ghostwriter, specializing in wellness, sustainability, and global social change. She is particularly fond of serving ethical organizations who contribute to a better life for people and animals through humane and environmentally responsible missions. At Vet Organics, Michelle uses her time as a vet tech, her academic studies in animal science and behavior, and nearly a decade working on a ranch teaching animal husbandry to write on a variety of cat and canine health topics. When she isn't writing, Michelle can be found hiking in the mountains of Colorado with her dogs or snuggled up with a good book and her cats.

What Customers Are Saying


EcoEars by Vet Organics fixed our girl's ears in the first couple of days & she was a whole new, happy dog again. THANK YOU Vet Organics!!!*

Nikki Wiedmer


EcoEars is a great product! I used it in my Lacey's ears and we haven't had any problems since.

Bonnie Schweitzer


Thank you for the peace of mind that my dog is not in discomfort anymore, thank you for this product being organic and good for our dog's ears, and seriously thank you for giving us an...

Melissa Block Demant


I used this product for my Boston last summer. Worked awesome. In 2 days, I've seen a improvement. Within 4 days, the infection was gone. My pit bull started having an issue with his...

Tina Neupauer


This stuff really works--after spending money at the vet @ $25 a bottle, it's saving me a lot of money.

José Olivo

*Results may vary based on factors such as age, size and physical condition of your pet.