The debate regarding docking a Boxer's tail is side by side with ear cropping. Look to our Ears - To Crop or Not to see which countries allow this and which deem it illegal.
Usually, if an owner decides to crop the ears, they will also have the Boxer's tail docked.
Docking is the process of having the natural tail of the Boxer cut. This is done to produce a short tail that stands erect.
There is quite a difference in appearance between a Boxer with a docked tail and one with a natural tail.
What Exactly is Docking
What happens when a Boxer's tail is docked? Docking (or bobbing as it is sometimes called) is a process in which the Boxer's natural long tail is cut to produce a small tail that stands erect. This is illegal in many countries; however the United States is one country in which this is legal.
Docking is done 1 of 2 ways. Both methods have created quite an uproar from animal rights activists. The first method is to cut off the blood flow in the tail with the use of a special rubber band, put on so tightly that the blood literally cannot reach the end of the tail; thus causing it to eventually fall off.
The second method is via surgery in which the tail is cut. Although this is technically a "surgery" in which a portion of the tail is cut off, anesthesia is not given when this is customarily done at the approximate age of 3 days old. It is believed that the puppy feels this amputation, since most puppies let out a very loud yelp, however they seem to recover quite quickly.
Why Do People Dock Boxer Tails?
Those who favor docking most often do so for cosmetic reasons. Long ago, it was thought to prevent rabies and increase the dog's running speed; however this has been proven false. Some believe that a Boxer should have cropped ears and a docked tail to have the "Boxer look".
Consensus among those who do choose docking, dictates that the dog looks stronger, more powerful and more intimidating with the cropped and docked appearance. Those who have a dog with a natural tail or those who have a litter of newborns and choose to forgo this procedure should feel just fine about that decision...many owners have dogs with the tails that nature gave them.
In regard to dog show requirements, the debate is still on. Some clubs do not give an advantage to a docked dog and others state that docking is expected for a Boxer to conform to requirements.
When is Docking Done?
Many Boxer breeders will have a puppy docked very early, within a week of being born. Since a dog is not sold or given to a new owner until the age of at least 8 weeks, many owners do not see the docking process or the healing process. Although this may make some cringe, if a Boxer puppy under 14 weeks old is to have their tail docked, it is usually done without anesthesia.
In states where it is legal, an owner may have their Boxer's tail docked at any age; however the older a dog is the longer amount of time is needed for recovery. In addition, a dog that is quite used to having their tail may have a difficult time adjusting to what may seem to them as an amputated part of their body.