Hardrada Rottweilers on Tail Docking
Tail docking is now against the law in New Zealand since Oct 2018
Tall Tail: Have you ever wondered why Rotties have docked tails?
Although several theories surround the origin of docked tails in Rottweilers, most of these only stem from misinterpretations and misconceptions about this powerful breed of dogs.
Rotties have been an integral part of human life since the early days of the Roman Empire when they were commonly used as working dogs to herd cattle. They were primarily used to safeguard cattle from robbers and wild animals. Consequently, the dogs grew up mainly in pastures, which exposed them to mud, debris and waste left behind by the livestock. Often, the encrusted debris weighed down their tails. This left the Rotties prone to infections and injuries as cattle and other livestock trod on their tails.
It became a common habit to dock the tails of the Rotties as a preventive measure against injuries and infections, especially in the absence of adequate veterinary care in those days. The docked tails of the Rotties were also considered to be advantageous since farmers could avoid a ‘tail tax’, which was a method of counting livestock by counting the number of tails.
Rotties have also been used as police dogs by the military during World War I. This has led people to misconstrue that tail docking came into practice to give the breed a fiercer appearance that suited its role of a watchdog. However, this explanation has now been proved wrong and it has been established that the Rottweiler was originally a working dog.
The practice of docking the Rottie’s tail continues in New Zealand, but has been made illegal in Australia, Mexico, and a few European countries.