The American Kennel Club standard specifies whether the Australian Shepherd’s tail should be trimmed or naturally bobbed. They are one of the most tailless dog breeds. However, only one-fifth of Aussies will have naturally bobbed tails with lengths greater than four inches.

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Why do Australian shepherds have no tail?

The Australian shepherd often referred to as the Aussie, is a breed of herding dog that’s thought to have originated in the 19th century. The breed is known for its intelligence, loyalty, and versatility.

A distinguishing characteristic of the Aussie is their natural bobtail—they’re born without it, which means they have no tail or only a very short one. This trait kept them from getting too close to livestock during herding activities, making them safer and more efficient at their job. As such, this characteristic was carefully preserved within the breed by selective breeding over many generations.

These days, most Aussies still have naturally bobbed tails or no tail at all due to centuries of careful breeding. This trait is determined by the presence or absence of the Bobtail gene, which can be passed down from parent to offspring. As such, puppies with no tail may come from a litter where all the other pups have full, long tails.

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Is that a problem my Australian shepherds have no tail?

While having a bobbed tail does give Aussies an iconic look, it also has some potential drawbacks for owners. For example, a tailless dog cannot communicate its intent and emotions as clearly as one with a normal-length tail. Therefore, owners must take this into account when training these dogs so that they can understand their pet’s body language better.

In addition to being bred to not have tails, Aussies need regular grooming to stay healthy and maintain their unique looks. They should be brushed at least twice a week and have their coat trimmed every few months to keep them neat and attractive. In general, Australian shepherds are loyal, hardworking dogs that make great companions for active owners who can devote time and energy to them.

Despite the lack of tail, Aussies remain a popular breed around the world due to their intelligence, loyalty, and ability to work hard. While they may not have traditional tails like other breeds, their natural bobtails still offer some benefits in certain situations. As long as owners understand how to properly train these dogs without relying on body language cues from non-existent tails, this unique breed can make a great addition to the family.

Are Australian Shepherds Born without Tails?

Australian Shepherds can either have a short tail or a long tail depending on their genetics.

The bobbed tail is one of the most distinctive traits of the Aussie. The tail of the Aussie is shorter than other breeds. Sometimes, the tail is completely absent. We know from statistics that one in five Australian Shepherds is born with a bobbed Tail.

Dog tails are made up of vertebrae that have been linked together. The vertebrae usually link together to create long tails. As the vertebrae shrink in their size, most tails reach a point at which the tail ends. Sometimes, like with the Aussies’, there are fewer connected vertebrae which result in shorter tails.



Is that true breeder’s cut Aussie tails?

One question comes to my mind when I see that Australian Shepherds can be born without tails. Why aren’t Aussie breeders breeding natural bobtailed Aussies rather than cutting their tails off?

It is difficult to breed specifically for the bobtails of Aussies. It’s most likely to result in dead puppies. Breeders who depend on selling puppies to make a living don’t want that.

Many complications can arise from having dead puppies. Spina bifida is one example. This is when the tail/anus area does not develop properly. This mutation is very common in dogs.

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Why do Australian Shepherds need to trim their tails?

Australian Shepherd puppies can feel pain or not during this process. Regardless of popular belief, there are many reasons they do it. It’s more than about cosmetics and aesthetics. These are the top three reasons.

For injury prevention

This is the main reason Aussies are so popular. These dogs were originally bred to be skilled ranchers in the western region of the United States. The terrain and environment of this area are not ideal for working dogs.

This area is home to many weeds, tall grasses, and shrubs that can pose a danger to your dog’s health. All of these can cause injury to the dog’s tail. It takes only for their tails to be clipped while they run at full speed. They run fast, I swear.

For Australian Shepherds, tail injuries can be extremely painful. It can cause severe pain and is difficult to treat. It can be avoided by docking a dog tail. This is especially useful at work.



It’s about hygiene

This may not be the best reason but it is still a reason for owners. Dogs with thick coats, like the Australian Shepherd, are more likely to collect debris on their fluffy tails.

Due to its proximity to the anus, it is common for dog feces (dog pee) to catch on the tail. It reduces the risk of this happening and improves dog hygiene by docking their tails.

It wouldn’t be so bad to spend just a few minutes per day cleaning your dog’s tail and anus. This area is easy to clean.


The Australian Shepherd “Standard”,

This standard was established because Aussies were initially bred to fulfill a specific role. It’s mentioned in the AKC breeding standard. It clearly states that must have a natural or docked tail.

It was used to prevent the second point. It’s fair enough. However, how many Australian Shepherds are still raising livestock? These points don’t apply if you are looking for a companion dog or a better environment.

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What’s the average length of an Aussie’s tail?

It all depends on the type of Aussie one is studying. There are two types of Aussies: bobtailed and long-tailed. An Aussie is considered purebred by Kennel clubs like The Australian Shepherd Club of America if its bobtail is less than four inches. A full-length tail is defined as any length that exceeds this.

Dog owners sometimes dock the tails of their puppies. The tail can be trimmed during surgery to create a shorter look. The owner may cut off the blood supply to the tail to allow it to die. Tail docking is controversial. Tail-docking procedures and surgeries have been banned in many countries.

Ranchers believe that a bobtail helps protect the Aussies against injury. Shorter tails, for example, are less likely to get caught in gates and collect burrs while shedding.




An Aussie can have a shorter tail, or none at all, depending on the breeder. It is almost always genetic breeding that causes a shorter tail in puppies born. Some puppies may have long tails. The owner or dog breeder might choose to trim these tails. The practice of docking a dog’s head is controversial because it isn’t necessary for their health and more about cosmetic appearance.


I’m a long-time animal lover and owner of two dogs and three cats. I grew up on a farm where we had all sorts of animals, from cows and horses to pigs and chickens. My love for animals led me to pursue a career in writing about them. I have been a pet care writer for over 5 years and have extensive knowledge of animal care, health, and behavior.

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