Beautiful dogs with long, silky tails, Vizslas are loved for their devotion, attractive physical features, and intellect. Among the many fascinating things to know about the Vizsla, tail docking undoubtedly continues to be the most-searched and hotly debated topic surrounding the breed.
Tail docking has been embedded in the breed standard for Vizslas for a long time. Besides historical reasons, the practice continues today because it is considered to be a health necessity.
However, Vizsla tail docking has gained increasing criticism for being inhumane. Despite enthusiastic arguments from both sides, the claims for and against tail docking lack conclusive research.
Tail docking can be a difficult decision to make, but we have compiled the possible benefits and problems that will help you reach a sound judgment.
Before you read this guide, “Vizsla Tail Docking: What You Need to Know,” check out: Best 150 Vizsla Dog Names – Male and Female! (2023) and Best Vizsla Breeders in the United States! (2023).
Are Vizsla Tails Docked?
The Vizsla is one of the most exceptional dog breeds, and it has been around for centuries. However, its tail has not always been docked. Historical artworks from the 13th century onwards to the 19th century suggested that the practice of tail docking had not yet emerged.
So how did tail docking become the new normal for Vizslas? Tail docking had started to come into practice in the late 17th and 18th century albeit, scarcely.
The popularity tail docking enjoys today only came about in the 19th and 20th centuries when the Vizsla breed was starting to become endangered, prompting concerned breeders to form the first Hungarian Vizsla Club.
The club worked on developing a standard for Vizslas at which point, it adopted the practice of tail docking as a preventative measure. The standard has widely been followed ever since.
What Is the Procedure for Tail Docking?
Tail docking entails amputating a section of variable length, typically one-third of the entire length, from a Vizsla’s tail using a pair of surgical scissors. This procedure is performed on puppies when they are two to eight days old.
Puppies do not undergo anesthesia while an adult Vizsla certainly requires anesthesia because an adult dog has further developed bones, blood arteries, and nerves at this time.
Is Tail Docking Painful?
It’s crucial to remember that tail docking causes adult dogs discomfort since they have advanced neurological systems that can sense pain. There is abundant proof such as biochemical signs.
However, puppies under a week old seldom suffer pain since their bones are malleable and not fully grown.
Why Are Vizsla Tails Docked?
Besides custom and precedent, there is one main justification for docking. Distinguished by their physicality and aptitude for hunting, Vizslas were developed to locate and alert owners to prey.
Due to their drive, Vizslas enthusiastically jump into and push through dense, thorny, and typically impenetrable underbrush. However, they usually fare poorly after a day of hunting due to their bristle hair, long tails, and frantic wagging.
The first two sections of the Vizsla‘s tail are significantly thicker and have more muscle and fat for protection; the third section of the tail is considerably thinner and lacks enough fat or fur to safeguard the skin and bone from the harshness of nature.
Therefore, one-third of the Vizsla’s tail is docked to avoid tail wounds during hunting which are typically uncomfortable, tedious, and challenging to treat.
Additionally, they can face problems at home, especially if crated, due to their long tail. Due to the vizslas’ propensity for tail splitting, the main motivation for continued tail docking today is to avoid potential injury. The scope of research on this topic, however, is limited.
The other reason tail docking is still practiced in nations where it is legal is that breed standards sometimes do not permit undocked dogs to be presented in competitions. This disadvantages professional breeders who might want to breed dogs without docks. Until the Vizsla breed standard is altered, it’s unlikely the practice of tail docking will cease to exist on its own.
Moreover, tail docking at an early age of one week is not considered painful. This is why veterinarians and professionals performing tail docking are able to perform the procedure without analgesics.
There is also anecdotal information that dogs who sustain tail trauma later in life endure greater pain than pups who have their tails docked at a young age.
Why Is Tail Docking Becoming Increasingly Unpopular?
Animal rights activists, pressure groups, and veterinarians have vehemently opposed tail docking of Vizslas and other breeds subjected to tail docking for a while now.
This counter-narrative has gained increasing popularity because tail docking is often considered a cosmetic procedure. It turns Vizslas and other such breeds into commercial commodities.
The claim that puppies don’t feel pain during a tail docking procedure is also being challenged by emerging studies. The procedure can go on to permanently alter their psychological response to pain and social behavior.
Moreover, Vizslas need their full tails to communicate and support their equilibrium. Similarly, the tail may be necessary for swimming, especially for Vizsla which is particularly fond of the water.
Tail docking is also a surgical procedure that comes with concerns of aggravated medical issues. For example, it can cause severe infections, the procedural wound can take a long time to heal, and tail docking can even lead to deterioration of the muscle and tissue surrounding the tail.
Additionally, the claim of saving Vizslas from future injuries is also being contested since tail injuries occur in just 1.7% of Pointers and Setters. The most common tail injury is a little cut to the tail tip that doesn’t need crucial medical attention.
Docking Around the World
Most European and Oceanic nations have outlawed tail docking, specifically for Vizslas, for aesthetic reasons. In the UK, only licensed veterinarians are permitted to perform this procedure.
However, America and most of Asia still practice tail docking. In countries like Denmark, tail docking is allowed only for hunting dogs who risk damaging their long tails.
If you live in a state where the tail docking procedure is banned, we would strongly advise you to not break the law even if you have strong feelings in favor of the tail docking procedure.
Why Is Tail Docking Controversial?
Tail docking is a challenging subject because of wildly contrasting views on the subject. Unfortunately, there is limited medical research about tail docking to reach a definitive conclusion.
Since the majority of Vizsla owners appear to be leaving the practice of tail docking in the past, there has been a lack of interest and emphasis on the need for concrete research.
However, it’s crucial for researchers to methodically analyze tail docking with empirical evidence.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most veterinarians choose to dock a puppy’s tail at two to five days of age. Docking tails at 12 weeks or later in life is not advisable.
A dog can have its tail docked within the first five days after birth, otherwise, it’s too late.
Veterinarians continue to dock dogs’ tails depending on local laws and the breed in question. It’s best to plan ahead and contact your vet.
Conclusion for “Vizsla Tail Docking: What You Need To Know”
We recommend completing your research, making sure you are well informed, and having taken two or more expert veterinary opinions on the tail docking procedure before moving forward.
Whether you decide to dock your Vizsla’s tail or not, we are sure you will prioritize their well-being over anything and your Vizsla will have a great life with you.
If you find this guide, “Vizsla Tail Docking: What You Need to Know,” helpful, check out:
- American Vizsla vs Hungarian Vizsla: What’s the Difference? (2023)
- A Guide to The Vizsla Poodle Mix (2023)
- 13 Skinny Dog Breeds With Pictures! (2023)
Learn more by watching “Tail Docking & Vizslas” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
Why Trust We Love Doodles?
At We Love Doodles, we’re a team of writers, veterinarians, and puppy trainers that love dogs. Our team of qualified experts researches and provides reliable information on a wide range of dog topics. Our reviews are based on customer feedback, hands-on testing, and in-depth analysis. We are fully transparent and honest to our community of dog owners and future owners.