Why Don’t Corgis Have Tails?

Corgis are one of the most loved dog breeds worldwide. What distinguishes them from other species is, among other features, their fluffy, tailless butt. Why don’t corgis have tails? Are they born that way? Let’s find out!

Do Corgis Have Tails?


Before you ask yourself why don’t corgis have tails, you should know that not all corgis are tailless. In fact, there are two kinds of corgis, the Cardigan Welsh Corgis, and the better-known Pembroke Welsh Corgis.

According to most experts, Cardigan Corgis are the older breed. Breeders modified them to create the younger, Pembroke Corgis.

Both Corgi types are born with their tails. Cardigan Corgis have large, fluffy tails, while Pembroke Corgis’ tails are so-called ‘bobtails,’ short and stubby.

However, vets whack the tails of Pembroke Corgis when they are approximately three days old. So, the main answer to why don’t corgis have tails is – because of breeders.

Still, we should go a little bit deeper inside the topic.

How Do Corgis Look?


When people say ‘Corgi,’ they typically think about Pembrokes. A Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a medium-sized dog that has a height of up to 12 inches.

Their weight rarely goes over 30 pounds. Corgis have short but muscular legs and strong chests, making them able to run around the whole day. In a few words, they are short, long, and low.

They typically come in ginger, fawn, sable, and black color, both with or without white markings on their fur. Pembroke Corgis generally are tailless, and their big, fluffy backside made them so popular.

Despite their fluffy looks, corgis are incredibly agile and quick. They are playful and full of energy, and they need a lot of activity with their humans.

Corgis are really smart, and you can train them without too much hassle.

They are independent, stubborn, and fearless, which is a surprise for anyone who isn’t familiar with the breed.

However, they need a lot of dedication, as you don’t want them to think they are the pack leader!

They are territorial, which is why they make excellent watchdogs. They even bark similarly to much larger breeds.

If you want a companion who will be cute but tough, you should consider getting a corgi.

Why Are the AKC Standards Different for Pembroke and Cardigan Corgis?


While both breeds have their tails after birth, the AKC standard allows only Cardigan corgis to keep it. This is why Cardigan corgis have tails when you see them on the street.

However, AKC breed standards require breeders to cut the tails of corgis. This is why your Pembroke corgi won’t have a tail, especially if you buy him from an AKC-registered breeder.

As the breed progressed, their genetics slowly changed. Today, many Pembroke corgis are born without tails naturally. The gene that keeps them tailless keeps spreading.

Experts expect that finding corgis without that gene will soon become next to impossible. If a Pembroke corgi is born with a tail, the breeder will dock it while they are very young.

On the other hand, Cardigan corgis will keep their fluffy tails intact. This is possible because AKC allows this type of Corgi to keep its tails.

However, Pembroke corgis are much more popular, so many think they are the only corgi type.

This isn’t true, and Cardigan corgis are just as purebred as Pembrokes. Still, many Cardigan owners have to spend hours explaining that their Corgi is full-bred.

Why Don’t Corgis Have Tails – the History behind the Practice


As we’ve already established, Pembroke corgis don’t have tails because breeders cut it off. This is because corgis were created to be cattle herders. Cattle tend to kick, so Corgi’s short height was a great advantage.

However, the tail was a liability for the canine, as cattle could still step on it. This is why breeders started removing it, and this became the AKC standard.

All breeders want to have their puppies registered – as they should be. However, because of this, tail docking became a practice, and not everyone agrees with this.

Also, some people disagree with the historical explanation that we’ve just mentioned. They claim that corgis naturally had their tails curled upwards so that cattle couldn’t step on it that easily.

You can still find Pembrokes with their tails intact. This doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t come from a good breeder.

Some breeders refuse to register their puppies as they disagree with mutilation.

So, a Pembroke without a tail isn’t necessarily a ‘bad’ dog – he simply isn’t up to AKC standards. If a Pembroke corgi still has its tail, it will be short, no longer than two inches.

Believe it or not, tail docking isn’t a new practice. In fact, ancient Romans were one of the first to cut the tails of their dogs, but for very different reasons.

They believed this would keep their pets safe from rabies.

Later in history, people thought that tails played a detrimental role when a dog would chase prey. Peasants had to dock the tails of their dogs, as they couldn’t participate in hunting games.

Owners would also cut the tails off working dogs to keep them from getting hurt. This, however, was only done when dogs had too long tails for their size.

Why Are Some Corgis Born without a Tail?


Some corgis are born without a tail or with a very short bobtail, as we’ve already mentioned. Despite some people claiming there are no such things as born-tailless corgis, they exist.

These bobtail corgis have tails much shorter than usual – so short one could argue their tail isn’t there. These bobtails occur because of a mutated T-box gene.

Puppies can inherit the T-box gene from their parents, so being born tailless is in the canine’s genetics. Both sexes have equal chances of the T-box gene affecting them.

Just one copy of the T-box gene is enough for a dog to inherit a bobtail. The exact length of the tail can depend, but it will still be much shorter than normal.

This is due to various other factors that influence the tail.

Also, a natural bobtail isn’t something exclusive to this breed. In fact, many other canines also have a bobtail. These breeds include:

  • Australian Shepherds;
  • Brittany Spaniel;
  • Blue Heeler;
  • The Schipperke;
  • Spanish Waterdog, among others.

Tail Docking in Corgis

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The exact practice of removing – or docking – a Corgi’s tail depends on the breeder and the veterinarian they’ve chosen.

This will influence the precise moment of docking, but also the tail’s length.

Typically, a vet will dock Corgi’s tail sometime between the third and seventh days after birth. Some vets do it even sooner when dogs are no older than two days.

This doesn’t matter too much, as long as the dog is fairly young.

Does tail docking hurt?

When people learn why don’t corgis have tails, they wonder whether tail cutting hurts. This is yet another question that doesn’t have an easy answer.

In fact, it has sparked a real debate.

Those who approve of tail docking claim that docking a tail so early doesn’t cause any pain. They say that the canine nervous system isn’t developed enough to feel any pain.

Those who oppose tail docking suggest the puppy’s nervous system is developed enough and that they are capable of feeling pain.

In fact, considerable evidence proves that young puppies probably can feel everything an adult dog can. However, there isn’t any conclusive evidence for either claim.

Many puppies will whine or cry immediately after the docking, which most likely shows they have felt the process.

On the other hand, others will completely ignore it. In fact, breeders cut many pups’ tails while they are sleeping without waking them up.

There are two methods of tail docking in corgis. Both are done without anesthesia or any kind of painkillers.

On rare occasions, it’s done when the puppies are awake – but typically it’s done when they’re sleeping.

The most popular method is done with a pair of scissors. They cut through skin, muscles, cartilage, and many different nerves with this method.

The second method is done with a rubber band. A rubber band is placed on a puppy’s tail to stop blood circulation. After some time, the tail will die and fall off.

Read Also: How Much Do Corgis Shed?

Bottom Line

Why don’t corgis have tails? Though the answer isn’t easy, we can conclude it all comes down to humans and breeders.

Whether your corgi doesn’t have a tail due to genetics or docking, the breed is supposed to have a tail.

If you oppose tail docking but want to have a corgi, you can try to discuss this with the breeder. If you buy a dog before his birth, some breeders might be willing not to dock the tail.

Keep in mind that this is rare and that most reputable breeders won’t agree with this. Sadly, working with breeders who aren’t reputable could be dangerous and expensive for you in the future.

You might help your future dog save a tail, but support someone who breeds sick dogs. In the end, the decision is up to you.

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