Why Do Some Corgis Have Long Tails?

It might surprise you but Pembroke Welsh Corgi are born with a long tail!

But then where does the tail go? It is common to dock a newborn Pembroke Corgi’s tail shortly after birth. 

Pembroke Welsh Corgi are born with long tails, but some people have them docked (cut-off) at the age of 2 to 7 days old.

This is mainly because breed standards state that a long tail is a fault and Corgis with such characteristics get high penalizations at competitions. 

Purebred dog associations state that a docked tail is the breed standard for many dog breeds including the Pembroke.

Cardigan Corgi on the other hand has a long and fluffy tail.

Anything less than a docked tail is considered a major “fault”. This means that a Pembroke Corgi can be disqualified from a dog show for having a long tail! 

Want a Corgi and have allergies? Find out if Corgis are Hypoallergenic. 

Herding Requirements for short Corgi tail

Welsh Corgi is famous for serving the sole purpose of herding cattle and their short stature comes as an advantage.

This herding skill is embedded in them and a pet Corgi may even decide to herd humans!

It is believed that if a herding Corgi has a long tail, cattle might stomp on them during the herding process.

But, this claim has quickly been proved wrong by Corgi owners. This is because their tails naturally curl upwards, making it hard or even impossible to get stomped on.  

But despite this, many working Corgis still undergo docking in the USA. Luckily many countries observe the truth about up-curled Corgi tails and do not make it compulsory to dock working Corgis.

What Are Bobtail Corgis?

This might be the first time that you have heard about bobtail Corgis. So, what are bobtail Corgis?

A bobtail Corgi is a Corgi that has been born with a shorter tail rather than a “naturally long tail”.

The Bobtail Corgi are born because of a natural mutation and the presence of the BT-gene present in a few puppies. Puppies only need one BT gene to possess a bobtail. 

The UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory states that dogs with two BT genes may have birth defects and the Corgi should not continue with the pregnancy.

This characteristic affects both male and female puppies equally.

The length of the bobtail can vary, it may be shorter or longer, or absent. The bobtail gene is not only seen in the Corgi but is present in many other dog breeds.

Breed Standards, What do They Say? 

The AKC Pembroke Welsh Corgi breed standards state that the tail should be docked and as short as possible, no longer than 2 inches. Also, the tail is not supposed to be raised and held high. 

A natural bob (bobtail) caused by a mutation of the BT gene is acceptable only if the tail does not exceed the 2-inch limit. 

This ruling by the AKC makes it mandatory for show dogs to go through this operation. Any Pembroke Welsh Corgi owner who wants to enter their dog into the competition must dock their dog’s tail.

But if you are looking for a pet, it is different.

Getting one of these Corgis just as a companion does not necessarily mean he needs to lose his tail. Thankfully, you can let your Corgi enjoy having a long fluffy tail. 

Short-Tailed Corgis

Social media is greatly responsible for making short-tailed (docked) Corgis very popular.

People love how their fluffy butts look but rarely know what it involves. Short-tail Corgis are basically Corgis that have gone through the docking procedure.

Docking is an olden-day practice that up until a few years ago was legal and practiced worldwide.

The process of docking varies according to veterinarians, the time at which it occurs, and the method the vet selects. We will discuss this later, but first, what is docking?

What is Docking? 

Never heard about docking until today? Let us talk about what it is and how it’s done and its prevalence throughout the world.  

Docking is the process of cutting off a dog’s tail or a portion of it. 

As harsh as it sounds, this procedure was carried out on many dog breeds a few years prior to its widespread ban.

In recent years, this practice has been deemed inhumane and is banned in Australia and many parts of the world including many European countries. 

Still, in the USA, many dog breed standards declare that the dog must not have a long tail. Apart from the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, many other dog breeds must wear a short tail, nothing else is acceptable!

Dog breeds for which docking is compulsory include: 

  • Doberman 
  • Rottweiler 
  • Airedale Terrier (including many different Terrier dog breeds) 
  • Boxers

History says that the Romans were the first ones to apply this rule of removing a dog’s tail. They thought that docking would prevent the dog from catching Rabies. A theory that is definitely unproven as we know that it is definitely not possible in modern times. 

Other reasons for possibly docking a dog’s tail are:

  • To avoid injuries when fighting, herding, baiting, or ratting
  • Strengthen the back
  • Increase the speed of the dog
  • Or just to improve the overall appearance of the dog 

Method of Docking

During the docking process, the vertebrae, skin, meat, and nerves are cut. Sounds painful!

This is the reason why an increasing number of people are opting to avoid it altogether. What makes the thought scarier is that breeders complete it only a few days after birth at 2-7 days old or sooner at 2 to 5 days old. 

Docking occurs without an anesthetic or any form of pain relief, and there are two main methods to do it. Both are rather primitive methods that have not progressed with time. 

For the first one, no special machinery but just a pair of surgical scissors or a scalpel is used to cut through all the components of the tail.

This forms an actual ‘amputation’ and the wound must be clean till it heals completely. If not done properly, an infection could arise. 

The second method is to wrap an elastic around the tail and cut off the blood supply to the rest of the tail. Keeping this elastic on for many days will eventually cause the tail to ‘fall off’ as many put it.

This does plant an unappealing image in the mind and can be uncomfortable to think about. 

Docking today is necessary for show Corgis. Unfortunately, this fact gives many opportunities for Corgi breeders to charge extra high prices since they are competition and show organization-approved dogs. 

Sadly, people who enter their Corgis into dog competitions have no choice but to buy these dogs at unrealistic prices. 

Cost of owning a corgi

Docked or Undocked Tails

With every debate, there are supporters on each side. The same applies to docking. While docking is illegal in Australia and many parts of Europe, it is not so in the USA, Africa, Asia, and various other areas around the world. 

After much deliberation and protesting, European countries and Australia came to the evaluation that docking was an inhumane practice. This officially makes it illegal to dock a dog’s tail. 

The USA is one country that still deals in dogs with docked tails. The AKC backs this move. This makes it harder to find reputable breeders who do not choose to dock their puppies. 

Seeing as the process sees support from many dog show organizers, it is unlikely the USA will ban the practice in the coming years unless they give in to its clear opposition. 

Dog enthusiasts are becoming more aware of what docking is and that it’s their choice. This could change people’s perspectives on the matter. 

Read about the differences between a Fluffy Corgi vs Regular Corgi. 

Is Docking Tails of Corgi Painful?

Anyone who has just learned the truth about docking will ask this question. Does the Corgi puppy feel pain during docking? 

Although many breeders say that they do it while they are asleep and they don’t even make a sound or wake up during the process, there is bound to be pain for the next few days or more. 

Some breeders say the Corgi puppy will shriek during the process when the tail is cut. The healing process is quick since they are just puppies and a few weeks will pass till they are fine.  

Should You Dock Or Not? The Truth About Docking

The debate of should you or shouldn’t dock your Corgi comes down to a personal choice.

It also depends on where you live and whether you wish to enter your dog in a competition or not. 

For people living in Europe or Australia, there is no question about it. You will never have to dock a dog and will not find someone willing to perform the task anyway. 

But if you reside in the USA, show dog Corgis must be docked or else they would not be able to participate. In case you wish to keep one as a pet only, it is not compulsory to dock your dog.  

Because many dog show organizations endorse docking, it makes ‘docking’ a standard operating procedure. When Corgi puppies (Pembroke) are born, their breeder automatically docks them. 

So finding a breeder willing to skip this step can prove to be difficult. Those who are willing to skip the step may overcharge and are likely to be poor-quality breeders. Plus, there is the chance they are going to overcharge you.  

A prospective Corgi owner should never have to compromise between genetic quality and docking. This should be a choice every dog owner gets to make. Maybe some breeders will skip the docking procedure if you contact them well in advance. 

A Corgi is naturally born with a normal long tail and should have the opportunity to retain its tail. 


While several countries have taken steps to ban and restrict the painful process of docking, many countries including the USA continue to follow this practice.

It comes down to the preference of the owners who will adopt the dog. 

Planning to get a Corgi. Here’s a Corgi Coat Color Guide. 


Which Corgi has a long tail?

The Cardigan Corgi mostly has a long natural tail. This might confuse people since they often see Corgis with short tails. Pembroke Welsh Corgis have their tail docked, this is why they have a short tail. In other countries besides the USA, you will find both Corgi variants with long tails since docking is not compulsory.

Do Corgis tails curl?

Naturally, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi will have a tail that does curl upwards. On the other hand, a Cardigan Corgi has a long and fluffy tail that is otherwise low-worn but has a slight curl towards the end. Even on occasions, bobtail Corgis can feature a slight curl on their very short tails.