Why do corgis have no tails?

Why Do Corgis Not Have Tails? (The Ridiculous Controversy of Tail Docking)

So, you’re wondering why you see so many corgis without tails. Why do they not have tails?

Did they get removed? Or were they born that way?

In this article, we’ll cover these topics:

  • The reason why corgis don’t have tails
  • Are they born with tails?
  • The controversy of tail docking
  • Pembroke and Cardigan tails
  • And more!

Sit down and let’s dive in.

Last updated: 3/7/20.

Why don’t corgis have tails?

The reason why you rarely see a corgi with its tail is because they get their tails docked.

There’s no sufficient evidence to support the reason behind this longstanding practice. But the general consensus is that since corgis were used as a herding dog, they had their tails docked to avoid being stepped on by cattle.

This would make the breed less prone to injury by giant stampeding animals.

The tail was considered a liability

They were also bred for their short and stubby height to make them harder to hit as a target.

Cattle may kick and the short overall body height of the corgi makes it harder to be attacked or trampled.

From their upbringing, the docking of the tail then was adopted by the AKC when the corgi was recognized.

And thus, the tail is usually docked for the dog to be considered registerable with the AKC.

Since reputable breeders often register their corgi puppies, this leads to the continued practice of tail docking- at least in the US.

Note that docking has been banned in other countries. The US has yet to enforce or revise this practice.

Are corgis supposed to have tails?

Yes, corgis are naturally born with tails.

Though you rarely see any corgi running with its tail intact. Pembroke corgis come with small tails known as bobtails.

After the puppies are born, vets will dock the tails when they’re just a few days old. This is considered to be the traditional approach in the US.

Cardigan corgis have fluffier and larger tails and are not docked.

Do cardigan corgis have tails?

Pembroke corgis do not have tails.
Pembrokes are the ones that often get their tails docked. Cardigans don’t.

Cardigan corgis have their tail intact and are not docked. Often Cardigan owners have to explain that their corgi isn’t a Pembroke.

Pembrokes are much more popular and famous, thus they are often assumed as the only corgi breed.

Cardigan corgis have no problems with docking as their breed standard allows them to have a tail. Thus, there’s no overseeing “rule” to cause any problems.

The majority of other countries will have tailed Pembrokes. It’s just here in the US that makes us so accustomed to seeing them with just a tiny stub.

Why do Pembroke corgis not have tails?

Corgi at the beach.
No tails on Pembrokes is still the standard in the US.

Pembroke corgis have tails just like their Cardigan counterpart.

Sometimes you may see a Pembroke with a tail- this corgi may not be raised to AKC standards, which doesn’t mean it’s a “bad” dog. The breeder may not believe in tail docking. Or the dog was raised by someone who doesn’t follow AKC rules.

Both Pembrokes and Cardigans naturally lengthy and fluffy tails.

The only difference is that Pembrokes have smaller tails compared to the large furry tails of Cardigans.

Pembroke corgis have had their tails cut off 2-3 days after birth to maximize their usage on the fields.

Since they were recognized by the AKC in this manner, the tradition still continues to this day.

If the rules were to ever change and a tail dock ban was to pass in the US, you’d see both Cardigans and Pembrokes running around in the fields with their fluffy tails.

Are Pembroke corgis born without tails or are they docked?

Pembrokes are born with tails and have a fox-like appearance just like Cardigans.

However, because the breed standard calls for a docked tail, the majority of them sold in the US have no tail to wag.

There are corgis that have no tails

Some Pembrokes are born only with a bobtail, which is a known genetic defect in the breed.

Two bobtail adults should never mate because this may result in a deformed puppy. It’s a gene that can cause some awful birth defects if both the sire and the dam have the bobtail gene.

A genetic defect may result in a tailless corgi, also known as a “bobtail” corgi.

There’s good reason to avoid breeding two natural bobtail corgis because this can result in a fatal mutation.

Pembroke corgis should never be mated if both parents have their tails intact.

Corgi tail docking ban

The US is the only country to still practice tail docking where corgis are a major market.

The UK, Australia, and more of Candan. The US is one of the last countries to allow docking.

Reports online state that over 90% of Pembrokes born int eh US have their tails intact. The bobtail defect affects a small minority of Pembroke corgis.

Docking is a heated topic in the breeding community and bobtail corgis are often spayed or neutered to prevent the gene from being passed to a puppy.

Does tail docking hurt?

Tail docking occurs shortly after puppy birth and is regarded as a painless procedure.

However, there is a surprising amount of evidence that this is not the case for the puppy.

Conversely, there have been reports that corgis are endangered because of a tail docking ban.

With the majority of other countries already banning the practice, the United States may be next.

Are there any benefits to tail docking?

Corgis are born with tails. Both Pembroke and Cardigan corgis have tails intact at birth.

Pembrokes have a long, foxy curved tail that’s fluffy on one end.

However, in the US, this is a rare sight because the AKC standard requires the tail to be docked and a long tail is a liability of being stepped on back from its herding days.

The vast majority of corgi owners are using their dogs for companionship and thus ruling out the need to avoid the tail being trampled on.

So this isn’t a “necessary” benefit of being docked.

If you see a corgi with a tail in the US, it’s probably a Cardigan or a non-ACK Pembroke.

Other than the breed standard and herding, there are absolutely no benefits to removing the tail.

Further reading

Here are some handy resources you may find useful:

And that’s the “tale” of corgi tails

Now you know a bit more about the history behind the tail docking and some of the differences between Pembroke and Corgi tails.

Does this clear up the confusion? Even a bit?

Questions? Leave a comment!

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Ljubica Howard
3 years ago

From Kennel Siggen: “Even though the scientists find it statistically likely that the bobtail gene is a lethal gen, I think that historic facts gives some support for my theory, and I still hang on to the hope of sometime finding the dog that will only produce bobtails. There is also the possibility that the bobtail gene has undergone changes over the years, and has become a lethal gene even though not being so originally.

If the conclusion of the scientists is correct, and this is the basis for our present breeding plans, this indicates that the homozygote puppies are absorbed early in the pregnancy and never will be born . The bobtail/bobtail matings will represent no problem to the breeders other than that the litters will statistically be numerically smaller, as statistically one out of four will be absorbed. In stead of expecting three out of four bobtails, with one being homozygote, one can expect two out of three, and all the bobtails will be heterozygote. In our statistic material of number of puppies in bobtail/bobtail litters produced in Norway/Sweden compared to longtail/longtail or longtail/bobtail litters there is no statistic significant decrease in number of puppies.

This of cause can be explained by the different fertility of different bitch lines, and does not exclude the possibility of the bobtail gene being a lethal gene. Our aim, in time to produce only bobtail pembroke corgis seem to be impossible. There should, however, be no reasons for not doing bobtail/bobtail matings, other than a possible ethical view that one will not produce a litter were there is a possibility that one or maybe two of the puppies will be absorbed in mothers womb, and never come to life. There should be no reason to expect any physical defects resulting from bobtail breeding either bobtail/bobtail, or bobtail/longtail.

The Scandinavian countries were the first to have the docking ban, and the breeders here have been leading the way in seriously trying to breed the bobtails back into the breed. Over the last ten years many more countries have got the docking ban imposed on them, and many corgi breeders in many of these countries have joined the Scandinavian breeders in their wish to maintain their short tailed corgis.”