The opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Victorian Boxer Association Inc.
Both before and after the ban on tail docking was imposed a lot of misinformation has been spread by anti dog, anti tail docking and ill informed people. Sometimes motivated and perhaps well meaning people have taken up these comments and perpetrated the myth they have created.
Any comments on such an emotive and important subject should be analysed against the experience and knowledge of the author because it is so easy to become ‘expert’ on the basis of limited experience.
June 2006 Boxer Bulletin contained an article from Elizabeth Hatfield about their first Boxer with a tail. Whilst I have no difficulty with the description of their first experience with a young Boxer with a tail, there are two comments in that article that beg a response.
- “the tail is an ideal rudder” – this is one of the myths started by the anti docking lobby many years ago and it is still as unscientific now as it was then. A rudder is used to steer an object [ usually a ship or aircraft ] and to be effective it has two basic requirements; firstly a significant surface area and secondly a significant flow of water or air over that surface area. A dog’s tail does not have sufficient surface area for it to function as a rudder and no dog is capable of the speed that would be necessary for a rudder to function.
- “The full tail means the bum-wag doesn’t happen” – another myth! Whether a Boxer wags it’s bum or not is entirely due to genetics as any experienced breeder knows. It is a characteristic that some Boxers have and others do not, and it clearly establishes itself in lines as do other traits. In this kennel there are 13 Boxers, 7 docked and 6 undocked - some of the docked ones wag their bums and others do not, and of the undocked ones some wag their bums and others do not.
I enjoy interacting with the Boxers during their exercise and play and always will – but I do no enjoy being sometimes whacked by the tail as the Boxer races past you ! Another interesting point at this kennel can be observed whilst the Boxers are free running in their large exercise area – where the tail of a Boxer is bumped by another Boxer during play it invariably puts it off balance. The undocked Boxers clearly appear less agile than the docked ones during boisterous play. Should that surprise us ? Of course not – anyone familiar with the origins of the breed is well aware of the reasons why the tail was docked !
Since the ban was imposed and we were forced to keep undocked Boxers we have had two tail injuries, and I know of others, one of which almost ended a young dog’s show career.
My experience with Boxers ? I have owned and bred Boxers since 1962, and have shown Boxers since 1979. The second Boxer I purchased in 1962 had a tail and at the age of fourteen months it was docked on veterinary advice following repeated injury and nerve loss in the extremity. I have been pro docking ever since, and will remain so. I have rarely had less than four Boxers at any one time and over the last twelve years have averaged ten. The Lambda prefix has bred over 100 litters and over thirty have been titled just in Victoria.
So I believe I can speak with some authority on the subject of the Breed.