Why was the rottweiler tail docked ?

rottweiler tail docked
rottweiler tail docked

A question that is regularly asked to Rottweilerstart.nl is: “Why was the rottweiler tail docked in the past?” And is docking really prohibited?

What is docking?

Coupling is the removal of protruding body parts in an animal, such as the tail or ears. In dogs this was mainly done for aesthetic or cosmetic reasons and sometimes also to prevent damage to body parts. And it’s much easier. A dog without a tail can no longer whip the coffee cups off the table.

Also with Rottweilers the tail and sometimes also the ears were docked. They thought that was nice and cool!

How does docking work?

Coupling is no longer done now, but in the past there were various methods rottweiler tail docked. It usually happened when the puppy was a few days old. The tail was cut with scissors and the wound was then scorched or sutured. This happened without anesthesia. Another way that was used was to tie off the tail with, for example, an elastic band. The end eventually died.

Coupering is prohibited

It is not so long ago that it was forbidden to dock ears and tails. In the Netherlands it has been forbidden to dock the ears since October 1, 1996 and since January 1, 2001,rottweiler tail docked is no longer permitted. And if you want your dog to participate in exhibitions, inspections or competitions, then that is not allowed if the tail is docked.

There are still countries in the world where no docking prohibition has been introduced. Wikipedia contains two statements which indicated which countries have and in which countries currently no ban on docking of tails and ears applies. The American site  DKV Rottweilers Blog  finds a Rottweiler with tail ugly … It’s a Cruel. In the US the docking of ears and tail is still allowed and many Rottweiler breeders in that country share the same opinion as the author of the aforementioned blog.

rottweiler tail docked

Why dock?

The docking of ears and tails has a long history. For example, the Romans thought  that docking the tail would prevent rabies. It would also strengthen the back and benefit the speed of the dog.  Another explanation is that docking ears and wearing collars with spikes was a means of protection against wolves.

There were also financial reasons to dock your dog. In England people did not have to pay taxes for working dogs. And working dogs could be recognized by a docked tail. Many dogs were therefore ‘promoted’ to working dogs. This tax measure was abolished in 1796, but these docking practices continued for a long time.

Practical considerations

In addition, there were practical considerations for docking the tail. This is because much less dirt and faeces remains on a docked tail. This was especially practical with sheepdogs who remained alone with the herd for a long time, had little contact with people and rarely received fur care.

rottweiler tail docked because during hunting, the tail could be damaged by branches and shrubs. Tails damage quickly and damaged tails do not heal quickly, because the wound is constantly being opened by wagging.


Nowadays, all of these reasons no longer apply. Rottweilers are in most cases ‘normal’ domestic dogs and no longer have to protect the herd or fight with wolves. The only reason to dock the tail is because the owner likes it. So it’s a matter of taste. And ‘people cannot argue about taste’. In this case, you can certainly argue about taste, and most people think coupering is simply tasteless!


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