This photo appeared on my personal time line as a memory from 5 years ago (where has the time gone!). What struck me immediately was Rosie's tail.... As more people from around the world have started sharing and commenting on our posts, there has been a lot of interest in the fact that in South Africa registered Rottweilers are no longer docked. For once it seems that at least in one aspect, we are slightly ahead of many other countries where this practise is still carried out.
It is also fitting that this should come up today when I'm off to a workshop on Peak Performance (fitness, strength and appropriate care for sport dogs). It is so clear to me, especially in this photo, how important the tail is for balancing and general agility and coordination. I can see the difference everyday in how Rosie & Cruz run, jump, swim, work and play, compared to our big boy who was born before docking laws changed in this country. Our dearest boy Judah even needed a life jacket to help with buoyancy for swimming, as without his tail to act like a rudder, his back quarters would sink slightly.
Then I think of the social aspect, and how much easier it is for dogs to communicate their intentions with a tail. So I guess the message is, please don't support backyard breeders who dock tails and any registered breeders in SA that are still carrying out this practise in other breeds - illegally, I might add. There is absolutely no reason for docking healthy puppies. Any excuse a breeder tries to put forward is a myth. It is purely ignorance, arrogance and an inability to move with the times and place animal welfare above personal aesthetic preference. Only if the public demands undocked dogs will they ever change.
As an aside: Please remember that vets no longer dock - they will lose their license to practise if they do. So the reality is that a breeder presenting you with a docked puppy has hacked the puppy's tail off at home somehow with goodness knows what or has tied an elastic around the tail until it died and fell off. Then ask yourself what kind of person you are dealing with and if you really want anything to do with them.