Natural bobtail – Disqualification Fault!


natural bobtail is an animal’s tail which due to a mutated gene grows unusually short or is missing completely. The genes for the shortened tail may be dominant or recessive.

According to a study in Sweden, no dogs were found to be homozygous for the C189G mutation, suggesting that the homozygous condition is lethal, also suggesting that no dog were naturally born without tail and that, “natural bobtail” is the result of centuries of docking. Docking is considered in many countries unnecessary, painful, cruel or mutilation. EU banned docking and you’ll find many of the cited breed to have their tails in these countries.

Because of legislation restricting or preventing docking, natural bobtails are growing in popularity among the dog fancy or some traditionally docked breeds. With this comes the fancy price, and the main focus of the breeding become the NBT stumpy tail and the general focus on overall quality diminishes.

In order to breed NBT’s you require an NBT and a tailed dog to do the mating and not all pups comes out with stumpy tails, and for this reason NBT breeders will add another few thousands to the price tag for the tail missing, remembering that the tail is an extention of the spine and a requirement for movement and balance.
Studies also found that the dogs with NBT’s have a higher chance of having and developing spinal deseases such as Spina Bifida, which is a congenital defect of the spinal cord in dogs.

In the Rottweiler this NBT are not recognised as accepted in the Country of Origin Breed Standard Germany and there is valid reason for it.

A mutation in a gene called the T-box transcription factor T gene (C189G) accounts for natural bobtails in 21 dog breeds, but not in another 5 breeds, for which the genetic mechanism is yet to be determined.

One study found 17 of 23 newly studied breeds had the gene, in addition the Pembroke Welsh Corgi identified in previous research. This study counted Rottweilers as not having the C189G gene, after extensive testing.

Why not to dock tails

It is no longer allowed in all countries. Findings have shown that it is not healthy to dock the tails and is also cruel to the animals. We follow, as everyone should, the country of origin of our breed which the German standard for the Rottweiler breed where it is against the law to crop a tail. The Rottweiler needs the tail for better movement and balance. It is also important to note that dogs with cropped tails cannot be shown in most countries, and this is currently being reviewed by ANKC and with the National Rottweiler Council of Australia as many state breed clubs push to fall in line with the rest of the world.

Evidence indicates that puppies have similar sensitivity to pain as adult dogs. Docking a puppy’s tail involves cutting through muscles, tendons, up to seven pairs of highly sensitive nerves and severing bone and cartilage connections. Tail docking is usually carried out without any anaesthesia or analgesia (pain relief). Puppies give repeated intense shrieking vocalisations the moment the tail is cut off and during stitching of the wound, indicating that they experience substantial pain. Inflammation and damage to the tissues also cause ongoing pain while the wound heals. There is also the risk of infection or other complications associated with this unnecessary surgery.

Tail docking can also cause unnecessary and avoidable long term chronic pain and distress to the dog. For example, when a chronic neuroma forms at the amputation site. Neuromas are often very painful.

The dog’s tail serves a critically important role in canine social behaviour. The tail is a major communication tool between dogs. The tail’s position and movement can indicate friendliness, a desire to play, submission or a warning signal, among many other messages. Thus the tail also serves as a protective mechanism for dogs, part of the various strategies employed by dogs to communicate with one another; establish boundaries and to avert aggressive encounters.

The tail also communicates important messages to humans during human-dog interactions. The action of the tail can help humans to interpret a dog’s body language and to determine what sort of interaction is appropriate for a particular dog. Thus the tail plays an important role in public health and safety.

Removing the tail impairs a dog’s ability to communicate properly, leaving them highly vulnerable to being misunderstood by other dogs and humans and placing them at a distinct social disadvantage. The docked tail is something of the past.

For more information on the Rottweiler Breed Standard check out the page here