The French Bulldog’s tail is a unique feature that is often misunderstood. Its short length may give the impression that it has been docked, but in reality, it is a natural trait of the breed. In this article, we will explore the truth about French Bulldog tails, debunk common misconceptions, and discuss the health issues associated with them.
Do French Bulldogs Have a Tail?
Every French Bulldog has a tail. However, for some of them, it is so short that it may seem like they do not have one.
The tail length of the breed has not always been this way. Early Frenchies possess longer tails, measuring around 3 to 5 inches (8 to 13 centimetres.)
But decades of selective breeding eventually led French Bulldog’s tails to become much shorter. Today, the tail length of Frenchies is about 2 inches long (5 centimetres).
Bullbaiting and dog fighting played a hand in this physical change. There was a large demand for shorter Frenchie tails since it lowers the risk of sustaining a tail injury during these harmful activities.
Whilst dog fighting is now outlawed, the breed standard for French Bulldogs retains their short tails.
What Types of Tails Do French Bulldogs Have?
The naturally short tails of French Bulldogs come in 2 types: the straight tail and the screw tail.
What Is French Bulldog Straight Tail?The breed standard of the Kennel Club in the UK describes the straight French Bulldog tail as a tail with a thick root that tapers towards the end. It should be long enough to cover the anus.
What Is French Bulldog Screw Tail?
The screw French Bulldog tail is a short, kinked tail. However, it should not be curled, unlike the Pug’s tail.
Just like the straight one, the screw tail has a thick base with a fine taper.
This type of Frenchie dog tail is accepted by the American Kennel Club. However, the Kennel Club does not because this trait has been linked to a congenital deformation, which we will discuss later on in this article.
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Do French Bulldogs Have Naturally Docked Tails?
No, French Bulldogs do not have naturally docked tails. As we have explained, French Bulldogs are born with short tails. However, because of its peculiar length, it is understandable why some people assume that it is docked.
Why Are Dog’s Tails Cut Off and Docked Anyway?
Tail docking has long been a controversial topic in the dog community.
It started as a preventive procedure for tail injuries in working dogs. A part or all of their tail is removed during puppyhood to keep it from getting snagged or stuck on foreign objects.
The controversy arose when tail docking was gradually used as a cosmetic procedure to conform to the breed standards.
Some people even get their pet’s tails docked even though it is not required. This has incited outrage amongst many dog lovers. Since then, public opinion about tail docking has been divisive.
Does It Hurt a Dog to Have Its Tail Cut Off?
Proponents of tail docking claim that it is a painless procedure for puppies due to their underdeveloped nervous systems.
However, recent research shows that this is far from the truth as puppies can feel pain.
Vets also warn dog owners who opt for tail docking not done by a licensed vet surgeon that their canine companions may suffer from chronic pains if the procedure is performed poorly.
The Laws on Tail Docking in the UK
The Animal Welfare Act 2006 in the UK prohibits tail docking and considers it an act of mutilation.
However, there are a few exemptions to this law. The procedure can be performed by a vet surgeon for medical treatment.
A docked tail is also allowed to be performed on certain types of dog breeds. Any spaniel, terrier, hunt point retriever breed, or their crosses are eligible as long as they are guaranteed to be certified working dogs.
What Are the Most Common French bulldog Tail Issues?
A docked tail is the least of your worries when it comes to Frenchies. What you should watch out for is tail health issues, which are very prevalent in the breed.
The most common problems Frenchie dog owners often encounter are:
1. French Bulldog Tail Pocket Infection
A tail pocket is a wrinkle or a fold of skin located underneath the tail of a French Bulldog. This unique trait in the breed can appear even up to 6- or 7-month-old puppies.
Dirt and bacteria quickly accumulate in tail pockets, making them highly prone to infections. If your Frenchie dog has a smelly and inflamed pocket tail, these are telling signs that it is infected.
Daily cleaning is necessary to avoid this problem. Use pet-safe wipes to remove gunk from his tail pocket.
Do not leave this area wet, as doing so allows bacteria to repopulate. Thus, we recommend drying it with a soft clean towel.
2. French Bulldog Hemivertebrae
Hemivertebrae is the congenital deformation of the spinal cord. This condition is typically the result of the screw French Bulldog tail.
The abnormal shape of the tail bones affects the formation of the spinal cord. It causes a painful compression in the nerves, which induces severe other health problems to develop such as:
- Loss of hindlimb function
- Urinary and faecal incontinence
Frenchies can develop hemivertebrae as early as 9 months old. Make sure to get your pet checked by the vet whilst he is young to detect this ailment during its early stage.
Close monitoring is required should your dog possess hemivertebrae. Treatment of this health issue commonly includes administering anti-inflammatory medications and surgical correction.
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A Movement for Better Breeding Practices
Many dog enthusiasts and experts in the UK are calling for changes in breeding practices to prevent hereditary tail problems from persisting in the Frenchie breed.
They are pushing for breeding back the small breed to its original straight tail. Although this will deviate from the breeding standard, it will greatly improve the health of the French Bulldogs.
FAQs About the French Bulldog Tail
1. Do French Bulldogs Have Full Tails?
French Bulldogs have full tails, but they are short in length, which makes them easy to miss. This small dog used to have a long tail, but years of breeding made it shorter.
2. What Should a French Bulldogs Tail Look Like?
The tail of a French Bulldog looks short and stumpy. It could either be straight or screwed.
However, the straight French Bulldog tail is an ideal trait since it is less likely to cause hemivertebrae or spinal cord deformation.
3. Do All Frenchies Have a Tail Pocket?
No, not all Frenchies have a tail pocket, but it is a common characteristic in the breed. More often than not, you will come across French Bulldogs with tail pockets.
4. How Do I Know If My Frenchie Has a Pocket Tail?
You will know if your Frenchie has a tail pocket by looking for it. Keep in mind that the tail pocket does not appear until the Frenchie puppies are 6 months old. So you will have to wait until your furry friend reaches this age.
Then place your finger beneath his tail and inspect for a skin fold or a wrinkle. If it is present, then it means he has a tail pocket.
The French Bulldog’s tail has undergone significant changes through years of selective breeding, resulting in a naturally stumpy tail. However, this characteristic has also led to health issues such as spinal cord deformities. To improve the breed’s health, many dog owners are advocating for better breeding practices that prioritise the welfare of these beloved dogs.
There are many interesting traits of Frenchies aside from their tails that you probably have not heard about yet. Here are 12 French Bulldog Facts That Will Blow Your Mind.