Are all Australian shepherds born without tails?

by Lisa

Australian Shepherds are a popular breed of herding dogs that have captured the hearts of many dog lovers around the world. They are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and high energy levels, making them great companions for active families and individuals. One of the most distinctive features of Australian Shepherds is their lack of tail, which has led many people to believe that all Australian Shepherds are born without tails. In this article, we will explore the truth behind this myth and shed light on the origin of the tailless Australian Shepherd.

The History of Australian Shepherds

The Australian Shepherd, also known as the Aussie, is a breed of dog that originated in the western United States in the 19th century. Despite its name, the breed has no connection to Australia. It is believed that the breed was developed from a variety of herding dogs that were brought to the United States by Basque shepherds who emigrated from the Pyrenees region of Spain and France.


The breed’s popularity grew rapidly during the 20th century, and it was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1993. Today, Australian Shepherds are used for a variety of purposes, including herding, search and rescue, therapy, and as family pets.


The Myth of Tailless Australian Shepherds

One of the most common misconceptions about Australian Shepherds is that they are all born without tails. While it is true that some Australian Shepherds are born without tails, this is not the case for all of them. In fact, the breed standard for Australian Shepherds allows for a variety of tail lengths, including a full tail, a bobtail, and a natural bobtail.


A natural bobtail is a tail that is shorter than the breed standard but is not docked. Docking is the practice of surgically removing a portion of a dog’s tail, usually for cosmetic reasons. Docking is illegal in many countries, including Australia and the United Kingdom.


The Genetics of Tailless Australian Shepherds

The genetic mutation that causes taillessness in Australian Shepherds is known as the T gene. The T gene is a dominant gene, which means that a dog only needs to inherit one copy of the gene from one parent to express the trait.

However, not all Australian Shepherds that inherit the T gene will be born without a tail. The expression of the trait is influenced by other genes and environmental factors, which means that some dogs with the T gene may have a full tail or a natural bobtail.

Breeding Tailless Australian Shepherds

Breeding tailless Australian Shepherds is a controversial topic in the dog breeding community. Some breeders believe that breeding for taillessness is unethical and can lead to health problems, such as spinal defects and incontinence.

Other breeders argue that breeding for taillessness is not inherently harmful and can be done responsibly with proper genetic testing and careful breeding practices.

The American Kennel Club allows natural bobtails to compete in conformation shows, but docked tails are not allowed. However, some breeders still choose to dock their Australian Shepherds’ tails for cosmetic reasons, despite the practice being illegal in many countries.


In conclusion, not all Australian Shepherds are born without tails. While some Australian Shepherds are born with a natural bobtail or no tail at all, the breed standard allows for a variety of tail lengths.

The taillessness of Australian Shepherds is caused by a genetic mutation known as the T gene, which is a dominant gene that can be passed down from one parent. However, not all dogs with the T gene will be born without a tail, and the expression of the trait is influenced by other genes and environmental factors.

Breeding tailless Australian Shepherds is a controversial topic, and responsible breeding practices should be followed to minimize the risk of health problems. Ultimately, whether or not to breed for taillessness is a decision that should be made with the dog’s health and well-being in mind.


Can Australian Shepherds be born without a tail?

Yes, Australian Shepherds can be born with naturally short or “bobbed” tails, a trait that occurs due to genetics. This genetic variation is relatively common in the breed and is considered a natural characteristic rather than a defect.

Why does my Aussie not have a tail?

If your Australian Shepherd does not have a tail, it may be because they were born with a naturally short or docked tail. Tail docking, the surgical removal of a portion of the tail, is a common practice in some countries and breed standards for Australian Shepherds.

Why do they remove Australian Shepherds’ tails?

Tail docking in Australian Shepherds is often performed for historical reasons related to herding and working purposes. Some believe that a shorter or docked tail reduces the risk of injury while working and prevents tail damage. However, opinions on tail docking vary, and it is a controversial practice in many regions.

What breed of shepherd has no tail?

Several shepherd breeds may have naturally short or docked tails, including the Australian Shepherd, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and the Old English Sheepdog. These breeds may exhibit variations in tail length due to genetics or historical tail docking practices.


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