Schnauzer meets Poodle and you get the Schnoodle – a lovely designer breed that developed in the 1980s. It is not yet a breed recognized by the kennel clubs, although both the Schnauzer and the Poodle breeds are. Are Schnoodles born with tails? If so, why are they docked? Is this legal? Are there any benefits to this? We look into the world of tail docking, it’s history and if it is still a ‘thing’ in 2020.
Schnoodles are born with tails but within a few days may have them docked for cosmetic reasons. This procedure is still carried out in the US although is banned for cosmetic purposes in other countries including the UK, Australia, Belgium, and New Zealand.
Do Schnoodles still have their tails docked and if so why? They are not on the list of registered dogs with the AKC so what purpose is behind tail docking? Are there any advantages to having it done? Does it cause any issues as the dog grows? Let’s investigate.
Table of Contents
About the Schnoodle
The Schnauzer Breed
There are three types of Schnauzer – Miniature, Standard, and Giant. In terms of classification, the Standard and Giant Schnauzers are considered part of the working dog group by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The Miniature is a member of the terrier group. Bred originally in Germany the term Schnauzer means “snout” and gives reference to their facial furnishings. They were bred as rat catchers and guard dogs and have been around potentially since the 14th century.
The Poodle Breed
Poodles also come in three sizes, Toy, Miniature, and Standard. The breed originated in Germany like the Schnauzer and were bred as duck hunters. Known for their low shedding they are a popular choice of breed. All three sizes are listed by the AKC and their height, not their weight defines which category they fall into. Poodles are considered to be of extremely high intelligence which is one of the reasons they are so popular.
The Schnoodle Breed
A breed considered to be low shedding and low dander, making them extremely popular as a family dog. There are varying sizes of the Schnoodle as you would expect, Miniature, Standard, and Giant. Miniature being the most common, the Standard and Giant breeds are relatively new. First-generation puppies boast a lovely soft and wavy coat, mirroring that of a young Schnauzer. As is it a not a pure bred the American Kennel Club do not recognize the Schnoodle.
Did you know? The Schnoodle is also known as a Mini Schnoodle, Miniature Schnoodle, Schnauzerdoodle, or Schnauzerpoo.
The History Behind Tail Docking
So, are Schnoodles born with tails? Tail docking has been a procedure carried out on animals since Roman times. Originally it was believed docking the tail helped against the prevention of rabies, would strengthen the dog’s back, make them quicker and less prone to injuries whilst working. The term tail docking is derived from the part of the dog’s tail which is bony, the dock. These days, of course, the reasons are now more cosmetic, and dogs have their tails docked as part of their expected appearance.
AKC description: “Tail set high and carried erect. It is docked only long enough to be clearly visible over the back line of the body when the dog is in proper length of coat. Fault – Tail set too low.” (from American Kennel Club Miniature Schnauzer Breed Standard).
A Schnoodles Tail
All Schnoodles are born with a tail and these days some are often left with their tail with no interference. This makes sense considering they are not purebred and therefore do not have to conform to a particular look. Schnoodles who do get their tail docked have this done very early on in their life, literally one or two days old.
Some countries have made it illegal for dogs to have their tails docked or ears cropped for cosmetic reasons. The UK, for example, banned the procedure in 2007. There are a few exemptions such as in some working dogs, injuries to the tail or for other medical reasons. In the US there are a few states which do regulate this activity (although more so for ear cropping) but generally, it is still practiced across the US. Sadly, it isn’t always carried out by a veterinary practice, more and more breeders cut down the costs and take on the task themselves.
How the Tail is Docked?
As we discussed earlier the procedure takes place almost straight after birth. Puppies of this age are way too young for anesthesia, so they are awake and aware of what is happening. There are two ways to perform tail docking for cosmetic reasons. One is to tie a thin piece of thread around the tail, constricting the blood flow and the affected piece of the tail will fall off a few days later. The second method is to cut it off using scissors or a scalpel.
Does Tail Docking Cause Issues?
Some breeders say that tail docking is not painful to the puppy because their nerves aren’t fully developed at this stage. There are plenty of animal welfare organizations that wholly disagree with this. Tail docking can cause long term chronic pain and a condition called neuroma in which abnormal growth grows at the site of amputation. It is also widely argued that taking away a large part of a dog’s tail affects their communication skills. The tail conveys so much about a dog and its current state of mind and without it, other dogs will not be sure of its temperament.
Those in favor of docked tails claim it significantly reduces the risk of injury to working dogs but what about pets, are there any benefits for them? It is claimed to help keep the rear end free from fecal matter and therefore has hygienic advantages. Dogs who are often walked off-leash may get into situations where their tail gets hurt, a docked tail is less likely to do so.
Other Reasons for Tail Docking
We have explored the cosmetic reasoning behind docking a dog’s tail but are there other reasons a dog may need its tail docked? Years ago, the procedure was performed on working dogs to prevent injury. Injury remains one of the other reasons for docking although it’s not very common. Technically where a tail is removed for medical reasons is called an amputation rather than docking. Reasons for this could be the dog’s tail becoming trapped, another animal biting it, or indeed the dog itself biting its tail, perhaps due to an infection or anxieties.
Other Forms of Cosmetic Treatments in Dogs
- Ear Cropping: Some breeds of dogs with floppy ears have their ears cropped in order for them to stand up straight. This is carried out between 8 to 10 weeks. The primary reason is to conform to breed club standards.
- Debarking: Surgery where tissue is removed from the dog’s vocal chords to reduce the noise levels of the barking. This procedure can have complications and can even stop working after a while.
Tail Docking in 2020 – We Explore
In the US this is still a routine procedure carried out often, despite being banned on most levels in many other countries. In the US, associations such as the American Veterinarian Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) are fighting to bring an end to tail docking.
The AKC disagree, they believe the procedure does not impact the dog’s life in any way and even brings advantages. It’s clear that more and more dogs are now just simply pets, so it’s questionable how much longer this will stay legal.
We have managed to answer all the questions we set out to investigate. We now know that Schnoodles are born with tails, but these are routinely removed for many from an early age. We’ve explored the reasons why and which countries do and do not allow the procedure for cosmetic reasons. Some of the reasoning for tail docking is believed to be hugely outdated in modern society and many other countries conform to this belief. In short you shouldn’t be surprised if your Schnoodle still has its tail.
Are Schnoodles Good Family Dogs?
Playful and loveable are two words often assigned to the Schnoodle. They make great family dogs and are generally good around children. Like with any breed early socialization is a must. They enjoy lots of walks and dependent on their size will need anything from 30 mins to an hour per day as a minimum.
What is the Life Expectancy of a Schnoodle?
This question is best answered by looking at the parent breeds. Poodles generally live until between 10 and 16 years although it does vary from size to size. Likewise, the Schnauzer can live anywhere between 12 to 14 years on average. Generally speaking, Schnoodles can live up to 16 years, although older than this is not out of the realms of possibility.