Last Updated on January 4, 2022 by Griselda M.
A prominent characteristic of the English Bulldog is the short, docked tail, making people ask “Are there English Bulldogs with a long tail?” Believe it or not, the issue of the tail with English Bulldogs is much deeper than you’d think! In this article, we’ll be taking a very close look at this physical characteristic. We’ll also learn all about tail docking and whether it’s possible for your bulldog to have a short tail!
English Bulldog Tail Types
The English bulldog we all know and love today doesn’t have a long tail. There are many types of their classical, short tail – but they can’t grow a long tail.
The short tail of an English bulldog is completely natural and they can’t grow long tails!
This isn’t the result of docking – a tail-shortening process that’s now illegal in the USA, UK, and many other countries. With time, English bulldogs have simply lost their tails because of selective breeding! There are no English bulldogs with a tail, and the very few dogs that do have long tails are actually genetically lacking! The definition of an English bulldog, according to the American Kennel Club, encapsulates their short tail, stating that the tail “must be short”!
Moreover, we recognize a few different types of tails with this breed – straight, corkscrew, wavy/curved (also known as long, because it’s the closest that this breed can have to a long-tail).
Read more about Bulldogs That Stay Small.
The straight tail
The AKC defines that a bulldog must have a straight tail or a corkscrew tail! These straight tails are also commonly called pump-handle tails. They’re easily the most common tail shape with English bulldogs, and they can vary in positioning. Some tails fall down, while others rise upwards, and it should be soft to the touch!
If your bulldog’s tail is pointing upwards, know that that’s considered to be a fault by the AKC.
The corkscrew tail
Another name for this tail is simply “the screwed tail”! The AKC recognizes this tail as another variation of the bulldog’s tail, while it’s also very popular with owners. You can easily find breeders who breed exclusively bulldogs with this type of tail because so many people find it adorable. It’s extremely uncommon for the tail to point upwards, as the corkscrew usually bends down.
The bends and the kinks on this type of tail should be well-defined, with the AKC stating that they can be abrupt and knotty, but they should never be elevated!
The problem with the corkscrew tail is that it develops a skin fold – this fold can develop infections very easily! The trouble doesn’t end there, though, as the tail can reach such a high level of deformity that it prevents the dog from passing feces normally. This can not only cause problems with constipation, but it can also cause the feces to start to gather up in the skin fold – causing infections.
Vets will often recommend that you go through with a surgical correction of the tail because the only alternative is medical management. This would mean that you, personally, or your vet would have to clean your dog every single time it passes feces. Since lifetime care is difficult, it would be better for your vet to simply correct the tail.
Vets do this by removing vertebrae from the tail. This will help alleviate pain and skin folds, causing fewer infections. Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent this condition, as it’s entirely genetic.
The curved (long) tail
To define it upfront: this tail isn’t exactly long. It’s just longer than the previous two types – hence the name. This tail is faulty, according to the AKC and various other kennel clubs, while they’re also not that common. Many owners, however, like bulldogs with these tails as they can read the dog’s body language more easily!
This is the closest to an English bulldog with a long tail (except for the few genetically faulty individuals that surely exist). Real breeds or sub-breeds with long tails, however, do not exist.
Tail Removal And Docking
The removal of a tail isn’t a common practice with dogs, but there are instances where your vet will recommend it. A reason for this could be a health problem or the tail causing your pup pain because of the tight wind.
However, this is very rare and it’s a safe surgical procedure. Something else, however, needs to be talked about, and that’s tail docking!
This is the practice of cutting off a dog’s tail while it’s still a puppy!
You may think that this is cruel and crazy, but the Romans thought they were preventing various dog diseases. It was also a way for pet owners in the UK to avoid paying taxes, as owners of working dogs didn’t have to pay taxes, and all working dogs had short tails.
This completely unsanitary procedure was usually done by the breeder, who would literally just grab a pair of scissors and cut the tail of the puppy off. Breeders claimed that this wasn’t painful to the puppy as their nervous system was still developing, but vets proved this to be untrue, as the nervous system of a dog is by that point already developed.
The most shocking thing about this whole ordeal is that breeders would do this for esthetic reasons, not health. However, it’s now clear to the whole kennel community that puppies can feel pain.
Therefore, docking is now completely illegal in most first-world countries.
In conclusion, English bulldogs can’t have long tails! The closest thing to a long tail with this breed is the curved tail, which is also called the long tail. There are three types of tails: straight, corkscrewed and curved (long). The latter is a genetic deformity, while the corkscrew tail can cause a health problem. Surgical tail removal or a correction is a medical procedure that should help your dog.
Tail docking, however, is now illegal practice of cutting off a puppy’s tail for esthetic reasons. This practice is now uncommon and most breeders won’t dock a puppy’s tail.