Springer Spaniel Docking

Springer Spaniel docking is something that really divides people and can be very contentious as with all the arguments around springer spaniel docking.

In some countries it is now illegal to dock all dogs while in others the practice is still allowed in working dogs.

I thought long an hard whether I should write this page as it may cause some people offense or outrage, but then I thought I am writing a site about springers and how to raise and care for them and this is a key part of it. So this is based on my opinions that I have built up after living with springers for 25 years.

Why Dock a Springer Spaniel?

A springer spaniel is traditionally docked because the springer tail is fairly fine boned and can break very easily when working in the brush; it is far kinder to dock a tail of a pup a few days old that to have to amputate a tail of an older dog.

I personally agree with this argument as I have seen a springer with a broken tail and it was a horrific site. This in my opinion is docking for practical reasons and not aesthetic reasons.

Docking for aesthetic reasons I do not agree with, but if you have a springer that is going to work and you live in a country where you are allowed to dock then I would consider it.

Can they still communicate without a tail?

Some argue that springers that are docked are not as able to communicate as their tailed brothers and sisters. Well George is docked as he came from a working litter and he can wiggle his stump, in fact what he doesn't have in a tail he makes up by wiggling his bum and has now been given the nick name "Mr Wigglesworth"

I see no lack of ability to communicate in George just because he has a stump he just has a very wiggly bottom.

How far down the tail to dock?

You sometimes see springers with longer stumps and others, that because the usual rule of thumb is to dock leaving a flash of white so you can see them working in the brush.

When to dock?

When they are only a few days old, contact the vet before they are born to find out if they dock and what you need to do to prepare before they are docked.

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