Should Patterdale Terriers have their tail docked?

Amy Green
3 min readJul 24, 2020

Breeders of working breeds such as Terriers and Spaniels have a long traditional of tail docking. There are several reasons a breeder may dock their puppies tails, but there are also guidelines that must be met to ensure the welfare of the dogs. In 2007, tail docking was banned in England and Wales for any dog not bred for work.

Tail Docking: What and Why?

Tail docking is the removal of a portion of a dog’s tail, usually leaving a handful sized stump. The practice was first introduced for working breeds to minimize the risk of tail injuries. Terriers and Spaniels especially do benefit from the procedure since they spend a lot of time in dense vegetation or in tight animal burrows.

Common tail injuries for working dogs include:

  • Abrasions
  • Lacerations
  • Happy Tail Syndrome
  • Limber Tail Syndrome
  • Nerve damage
  • Sprains
  • Fractures

Hygiene is another reason certain breeds were traditionally docked. Those with heavy feathering can suffer from faecal matting even if bathed regularly. Before the ban was introduced, docking was also done in accordance with Kennel Club breed standards.



Amy Green

Hi I’m Amy — travel blogger, dog lover, digital marketer. I write mainly about Europe, Middle East and Southeast Asia. Getting into drones!