What’s the first thing you think about when you hear the word “wagging”? I’m willing to bet you’re thinking of an excited or happy dog wagging their tail like a maniac. Maybe, you’re thinking of your dog chasing it’s tail. Either way, in our minds, dogs and tails go together.
However, you might be surprised to know that there are currently 34 breeds of dogs that are born with either very short tails or no tail at all. These are referred to as bobtail breeds.
Now some of these breeds are consistently born without tails and some are born without tails at varying odds. Either way, due to known and unknown genetic factors, these breeds can be born with bobtails.
Let’s take a look!
34 Dogs Born Without Tails
1. Australian Shepard
The Australian Shepard, or “Aussie” is a medium-sized dog originally breed for herding livestock.
Despite the Aussie’s name, they are actually a breed with American origins. The breed was developed on American ranches in the 1800’s.
Aussies are highly intelligent dogs that are incredibly versatile. They excel at agility, Frisbee, and obedience competitions. They are also successful and skilled workers in herding, search and rescue, disasters, detection, and as service dogs.
2. Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog
Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs, sometimes called “Stumpies”, are a medium sized cattle dog related to the Australian Cattle Dog. They are NOT just a short tailed version of an Australian Cattle Dog.
Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs are crosses of several European herding dogs (including Smithfield herding dogs and Smooth Collies) and native Australian Dingoes.
These dogs were developed in the early 19th century to help herd cattle. They are alert and watchful dogs. Australian Stumpy Cattle Dogs can compete in agility, flyball, tracking, frisbee, and herding events.
3. Austrian Pinscher
The Austrian Pinscher is a medium-sized dog from Austria. These dogs were orginally farm dogs tasked with keeping rats out of barns and serving as a guard for the home, livestock, and drovers.
After World War II, the Austrian Pinscher almost died out, with only one registered female named Diokles of Angern (it feels like there should be a Madam in front of that name), remaining in 1970. Careful breeding of this dog with other dogs identified as old pinscher type in the local area has brought the breed back. However, as of today there are 6 – 12 breeding animals who are being carefully bred to retain breed type and health.
4. Berger De Savoie
The Berger De Savoie, or in English- the Savoy Sheepdog, is a medium-sized farm dog originating from southeast France. These dogs were used for all sorts of tasks around the farm including guard dog duty, pulling carts, and herding sheep, goats, and cattle.
They are an intelligent, hard working, loyal breed well suited for many tasks. These dogs tend to be extremely active and need lots of exercise.
Today, the Savoy Sheepdog is rare and on the verge of extinction. Currently, there are breeders, farmers, and veterinarians working to restore the Savoy Sheepdog.
5. Boston Terrier
The Boston Terrier originated in the United States in Boston in the late 1800’s. They were originally breed for pit fighting and had the early name of Boston Bulls.
It is believed that the breed is a cross between Bulldogs and the English White Terrier, which is now extinct. Those Boston Bulls were bigger than there modern descendants.
Subsequent early breeding with French Bulldogs gave the smaller stature to today’s Boston Terrier.
6. Bourbonnais Pointer
The Bourbonnais Pointer is a breed of hunting dog developed in 15th century France in the historic province of Bourbonnais. The formal name of this breed is actually the Braque du Bourbonnais (pronounced brock-do-bor-bon-NAY).
Bourbonnais Pointers were in danger of dying out in the early 20th century. In 1925, the first club was started and helped the breed thrive again. Unfortunately, after World War II there was a decline in interest of the breed. There were actually no registered dogs from 1963 to 1973.
The Bourbonnais were saved from disappearing again in 1982 by the formation of a second Braque du Bourbonnais club. By 1985 the breed had been revived.
The Boxer is a medium to large dog developed in Germany. Boxers are the result of crossing the English Bulldogs with the now extinct Bullenbeisser (“bull biter”).
The Bullenbeisser was the prized big-game hunter in Germany during medieval times. German political shifts in the 1800’s saw the break up of noble’s estates leading to the end of lavish hunts. By the mid 1800’s the Bullenbeisser was left without a job.
In the late 1800’s, through crossbreeding with English Bulldogs, the Bullenbeiser faded away and was transformed into today’s boxer.
Upbeat, playful, and protective when they need to be, it’s no wonder Boxer’s are popular family dogs and considered great with children. The Boxer is one of the top ten most popular breeds in the United States.
In 1992, geneticist Dr. Bruce Cattanach introduced the bobtail gene into some Boxers by crossbreeding. This was done in order to maintain the bobtail look since the practice of tail docking is now illegal in most parts of the world. This gene does not guarantee bobtail litters.
8. Brazilian Terrier
The Brazilian Terrier is medium-sized terrier originating from Brazil in the 1800’s. The Brazilian Terrier is not a registered member of the American Kennel Club, but are one of two breeds internationally recognized as native breeds of Brazil – the Fila Brasiliero being the second.
The exact origins of the breed aren’t know, but it is believed to be developed from some or all of the following: Jack Russel, Fox Terrier, Miniature Pinscher, Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz, and Ratonero Valenciano.
Brazilian Terriers were developed to hunt small prey independently or in a group.
The Brittany Spaniel, or just “Brittany”, is a medium sized gun dog bred to hunt birds. These dogs carry the name of Brittany because they were developed in the French region of Brittany.
Images of Brittany looking dogs were found in painting and tapestries from the 1600’s.
It’s rumored that somewhere in the mid 1800’s that the modern Brittany was bred with English Setters. The “Spaniel” was dropped from the official name in 1982. Even though Brittanys look similar to Spingers and Cockers, they are closer to pointers and general hunting dogs.
10. Croatian Sheepdog
The Croatian Sheepdog is a low to medium height dog bred for working with sheep and cattle. They are very agile, brave, and helpful herding dogs.
The Croatian Sheepdog was developed over several centuries in the area of the Republic of Croatia. The earliest mention of this dog was in 1374 by bishop of Djakovo, Petar Horvat. A few hundred years later, in 1719, Bishop Peter Bakic, then bishop of Djakovo, wrote that the breed had not changed appearance from the original description in 1374. This demonstrates how consistent the breeding of these dogs were.
In 1935, Veterinarian Professor Stjepan Romic (referred to as the “father of the breed”) starting a selective breeding program for the Croatian Sheepdog. In 1969, the breed was finally recognized by the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale), an international federation of kennel clubs around the world.
11. Danish-Swedish Farmdog
Like it’s name suggests, the Daninsh-Swedish Farmdog originated in Denmark and southern Sweden. This farmdog is popular all over Scandinavia and is an old native breed of the area.
Known affectionately as the “Little Big Dog”, the Danish-Swedish Farmdogs serve as guard dogs, hunting dogs, and rat catchers. These dogs love to work and are up for any challenge. They also do very well as a companion dog.
As the number of farms shrank in Scandinavia, so did the population of Danish-Swedish Farmdogs. In 1998, the first official breeding program was established in the United States. They were first recorded in the American Kennel Club in 2011, but have yet to be fully recognized by the AKC.
The Donggyeongi (I have no idea of the proper pronunciation) is a rare dog native to Korea. The Donggyeongi is believed to have been depicted on clay dolls excavated from the sixth century.
Unfortunately, during the Japanese rule of Korea (1910-1945) the Donggyeongi was slaughtered because they allegedly looked similar to Japanese figures called Komainu (the lion-dog statues found in Japanese Shinto shrines).
Today, the Donggyeongi is still struggling to recovered. As of 2012, there were only 460 of these dogs in South Korea.
13. English Bulldog
Also known as the British Bulldog, or just Bulldog, this hefty breed originated in England.
Bulldogs were originally used in the port of bull baiting – an old and outlawed practice of pitting a bull against another animal for sport. It was this practice that caused the development of the stocky build, big head and jaws, as well as, their infamous ferocious temperament.
Once bull baiting was outlawed in England in 1835, the Bulldog was no longer useful for its original job. Over the years the Bulldog has changed it’s size and structure.
Today’s Bulldog cannot preform their original job as they cannot grip with their shorter muzzle and cannot withstand the physical running required. Additionally, modern Bulldogs are significantly less aggressive.
14. English Shepard
The English Shepard is a medium-sized herding dog from the United States. These dogs were developed from various collie breeds brought to America by English settlers.
The English Shepard is used on farms in the eastern states, mainly filling the role of sheep and cattle herding. However, English Shepards are also watchdogs, ratters, and all around companion dogs.
The English Shepherd was originally named the American Farm Shepherd by the United Kennel Club and is cousins with the Border Collie, Scotch Collie, and Australian Shepherd. This breed is not recognized by the American Kennel Club.
15. Entlebucher Mountain Dog
The Entlebucher Mountain Dog, Entlebuchar Sennenhund, or just “Entlebucher”, is a medium herding dog from the Swiss Alps region in Switzerland. Originally bred for guarding and herding, today’s Entlebucher is usually kept as a companion dog.
The breed is rumored to have descended from drove dogs brought by Romans during the first century B.C. However, there isn’t much evidence of the Entlebucher as a separate breed until the late 1800’s.
The breed seemed to disappear after World War I. However, a handful of Entlebuchers were found in 1927 and advocates were able to carefully restore the breed.
16. French Bulldog
The popular French Bulldog is a small breed created in Paris during the 1800’s. The French Bulldog was developed by breeding Toy Bulldogs from England with the local ratters.
Eventually this small crossbreed was recognized as it’s own breed and was named the French Bulldog. These dogs became a fashionable sensation from the beginning. In the 1800’s, many people in Parisian society sought after these dogs as an accessory companion.
French Bulldogs are just as popular as ever and are consistently in the top five most registered breeds around the world.
17. Jack Russell Terrier
The Jack Russell is a small-sized terrier who’s origins like in fox hunting in England.
The Jack Russell is a descendant of the now extinct English white terrier and was developed in the 1800’s by Reverend John Russell, after whom they are named.
The Jack Russell was developed from John Russell’s desire to have a dog that was distinguishable from the foxes they were chasing. Additionally, Russell wanted a dog that had enough drive to flush out a fox, but was tempered enough not to physically harm the fox and end the chase.
The Jack Russell is sometimes confused with the Parson Russell terrier and the Russell terrier.
18. Karelian Bear Dog
The Karelian Bear Dog is a larger, Spitz dog from Finland bred to hunt large game including moose, wild boar, wolves, and you guessed it, bears. They are regarded as a national treasure in their homeland of Findland.
Karelian Bear dogs are fearless, quick, and focused hunters. They have been known to keep prey cornered for a long time. Karelian Bear dogs work well running around large animals and barking in order to distract while their human hunting partner can catch up.
Karelian Bear dogs have been used at Yosemite and Glacier national parks to help with bear control. Additionally, these dogs have been used at other parks and locations internationally to help reduce bear incidents.
19. King Charles Spaniel
The King Charles Spaniel, not to be confused with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is a toy spaniel developed in England in the late 19th century by breeding toy spaniels with Asian toys, most likely Pugs and the Japanese Chin.
The King Charles Spaniel has more of a domed head and flatter face than a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Ironically, the King Charles Spaniel is different from the traditional toy spaniels beloved by King Charles I, whom the King Charles Spaniel is named. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, with a longer muzzle, is actually closer to the traditional toy spaniel of England.
20. Mcnab Dog
The Mcnab is a herding dog developed in Northern California, specifically around modern day Hopland, California. Alexander McNab, a Scottish immigrant rancher who settled in the area, was looking to create a herding dog to handle the heat, brush, and tough terrain of the are.
Mcnab crossed his Scottish Collies with the rugged dogs used by local Basque sheepherders (early ancestors of the Australian Shepherd) to produce the Mcnab.
Over time the Mcnab Shepherd proved to be a superior herding dog with ranchers in California. Today, the Mcnab is becoming popular all over the United States and Canada, with some even in Germany and Japan.
The McNab is not currently recognized by any major kennel club. Breeders and enthusiasts have established a breed registry and are working to have the breed recognized.
21. Miniature Fox Terrier
The Miniature Fox Terrier, also referred to as the “Mini Foxie”, is a small terrier originating from Australia. Miniature Fox Terriers were developed as a hunting dog and pest catcher.
These dogs are believed to have been developed by crosses of Fox Terriers, Toy Terriers, and Whippets. These smaller bodied, speedy terriers proved excellent against rabbits, rats, and snakes on Australian Farms in the 19th century.
The Miniature Fox Terrier’s tenacity, vigilance, small size, and affectionate ways, resulted in the breed gaining popularity in the cities as well. By the 1920’s this dog had reached iconic status in Australia and is still popular today.
22. Miniature Schnauzer
The miniature Schnauzer is a small dog originating from Germany in the mid to late 19th century. This breed is thought to have been achieved by breeding smaller Standard Schnauzers or by cross breeding Standards with one or more smaller breeds. The breed was developed by farmers who wanted a small dog who was great at ratting.
These spunky and aloof dogs are also great as guard dogs.
The Miniature Schnauzer was introduced to the United States in 1924.
The Mudi is a herding dog originating from Hungary. These guys are bred for sport, work, companionship, and show.
This dog was first discovered as a breed in 1936. It was known in Hungary as the “driver dog”. Unfortunately, many Mudi were killed during World War II.
The Mudi is often regarded as the dog breed that barks the most and are actually not recommended for your typical dog owner. These guys need to work.
Today, the Mudi still works as a herder in Hungary, working with flocks of populations up to 500 sheep.
24. Old English Sheepdog
The Old English Sheepdog is a large bodied breed of herding dog developed in England from other early types of herders. Not much is known about the exact ancestors used to develop the Old English Sheepdog, but many believe the Bearded Collie was among one of them.
The Old English Sheepdog was actually used as a drover and not a sheepdog. They moved cattle from the farms to town markets.
These dogs are kind, intelligent, and courageous. They are patient and protective, making them great companions for children.
The Old English Sheepdog is a popular show breed due to its full flowing coat, fun personality, and strong gait.
25. Parson Russell Terrier
Like the Jack Russell Terrier, the Parson Russell Terrier is named after Reverend John “Jack” Russell. The Parson Russell shares a common history with the Jack Russell until the early 1980’s.
The Parson Russell Terrier has longer legs than a Jack Russell and is predominantly white with a broken coat – meaning generally smooth coat, but with longer hair on the head, face, legs, or body.
26. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi, or just Corgi, is a popular breed whose origins, believe it or not, are in cattle herding. These dogs, as their name suggests, originated in Pembrokeshire, Wales.
The Corgi is actually descended from the line of northern spitz-type dogs and have been traced as far back as 1107 AD.
The Corgi is a popular breed in the United States and often competes in agility trials, flyball, tracking, obedience, and herding events.
Despite their size they can run up to 25 miles per hour.
27. Polish Lowland Sheepdog
The Polish Lowland Sheepdog, also referred to as a PON (the acronym of their polish name: Polski Owczarek Nizinny) is a medium sized, shaggy sheep dog native to Poland.
The PON can be traced to at least the thirteenth century in Poland where they have been used in working sheep for centuries.
Unfortunately, like many other breeds on this list, the PON was almost driven to extinction during World War II. Dr. Danuta Kryniewicz worked to save the breed using her dog Smok. Smok is considered to be the
father” of the modern PON as he was the ancestor of all PONs today.
28. Pyrenean Shepherd
The Pyrenean Shepherd is a medium to small breed of herding dog native to the Pyrenees mountains of Europe. These dogs have been breed since medieval times to work herding sheep along side Great Pyrenees dogs who acted as the flock guardian.
After World War I, the Pyrenean Shepherd gained recognition in France for their work as couriers, rescue dogs, and watch dogs.
There is some belief that the smooth faced version of the Pyrenean Shepherd may have been one of the foundation breeds for the Australian Shepherds.
29. Rat Terrier
The Rat Terrier is a small terrier bred to be a good farm dog and hunting companion. As their name implies, they excel at ratting.
The Rat Terrier was developed in Great Britain from the Smooth Fox Terrier and Manchester Terrier in 1820. Rat Terriers arrived in the United States in the 1890’s.
American breeders crossed them again with the Smooth Fox Terrier, adding the Beagle and Whippet to the mix. The Beagle increased the thickness of the breed, while the Whippet added speed and agility.
Rottweilers are a medium-large to large breed of dog originating in Germany. This breed was originally bred to herd livestock and pull butcher carts.
The Rottweiler is one of the oldest herding breeds. There is some speculation that the Rottweiler is a descendant of the ancient Roman drover dogs, who were a mastiff-type with great guarding instincts.
The Rottweiler was used by traveling butchers in the middle ages to guard money pouches. During World War I and World War II, Rottweilers were used a service dogs for messenger, ambulance, and guard duties.
It may surprise you to see Rottweilers on this list. While tail docking is a breed standard in the United States, they are sometimes born with short tails.
The Schipperke (pronounced “SHEEP-er-ker”) is a small dog breed from Belgium. They originated in the early 16th century. These dogs gained fame as rat and mice catchers on ships. Additionally, these small dogs were fearless watchdogs that guarded ships and businesses.
The name Schipperke translates to “little captain”.
In addition to being known as great watch dogs, Schipperkes are also known to be funny and mischievous. They are not a boring breed.
32. Spanish Water Dog
The Spanish Water Dog is a medium-sized, curly haired dog used int Spain as a general purpose sheepdog. They also serve as guard dogs and have even been used as gun dogs for water retrieval.
The Spanish Water Dog shares ancestry with the Portuguese Water Dog.
The Spanish Water Dog is an athletic breed that was just approved in 2008 by the AKC to participate in herding, agility trials, obedience, and tracking competitions.
33. Swedish Vallhund
The Swedish Vallhund a small-medium breed of dog from Sweden originally breed as a drover and herder for cattle. The Swedish word Vallhund means “herding dog” in English.
This breed is at least 1,000 years old – dating back to the eighth or ninth century during the Viking settlement of England.
The Swedish Vallhund and Pembroke Welsh Corgi share some similarities. It is believed that either the Vallhund was taken to Wales or the the Corgi was brought to Sweden.
The breed faced near extinction in 1942, but due to careful breeding and publicity by the Swedish National Kennel Club, the breed was revived.
34. Tenterfield Terrier
The Tenterfield Terrier was developed in Australia from Terriers that accompanied British settlers to the Australian continent. These small ship terriers were fantastic ratters in small spaces.
The Tenterfield Terrier shares some of its early history with the Miniature Fox Terrier. Although the two look similar they have actually been developing along side each other for over 20 years and are now two separate breeds.
The Tenterfield Terrier is recognized by the Australian National Kennel Club (ANKC) and the New Zealand Kennel Club (NZKC).
As you can see, there are quite a lot of different breeds that can be born without tails. Some of the dogs above have known genetic mutations that cause the short tails, while other have unknown genetic traits that result in their bobtails.
As the practice of tail docking is illegal in many countries, some breeds have begun to introduce the known bobtail genetics into breeds – as is the case with the boxer. This is a way that breeders and breed enthusiasts can achieve breed standards without engaging the the practice of tail docking.
So, the big takeaway is that while most dogs have tails, there are still a fair number of breeds that don’t. These naturally occurring bobtails are unique and different. Either way, whether your dog has a big tail to wag or has to resort to the full on wiggle butt, a happy dog is one of the most joyful things to see!
***Be sure to also check out The Better Dog Life’s Complete Guide to Short Tail Dogs: Genetics vs. Docking ***