Docking of Dog Tails: Have Your Say

In Scotland since 2007 shortening  the tails of young dogs has been banned. This legislation is currently under review and the  Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee would like to hear the views of the public on this issue.

If changes to legislation are approved, puppies could have their tails shortened where a vet believes they are likely to be used as a working dog and are at risk of serious tail injury in later life. This would allow two breeds of working dogs – Spaniels and Hunt Point Retrievers –to have their tails removed by up to a third within five days of being born.

Currently there are exceptions to the docking of a puppy’s tail in England and Northern Ireland and the practice is still common in the USA & Canada. It is banned in Australia and across most of Europe.

“There is a lot of debate as to whether or not surgical tail docking is painful. Many defenders say that the nervous system of a puppy isn’t developed enough to feel pain. However, multiple studies prove that while the pain a puppy feels during tail docking isn’t quantifiable, it is almost certainly present.”


The SSPCA is opposed to all tail docking of young dogs.

If you would like to contribute your views:

The deadline for responses is by 12 noon on Thursday 1 June 2017. Evidence received after this deadline will be published on the Committee’s website but will not be considered by the Committee as part of its scrutiny of the draft Regulations.

Before making a submission, please read the  policy on treatment of written evidence by subject and mandatory Committees. Written submissions will be made public on the Committee’s webpage. If you do not wish your response to be made public, please contact the clerks to discuss.

Written views can be in English, Gaelic, Scots or any other language.

Responses should be sent electronically in Word format to:

You may also make hard copy written submissions to: Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee T3:40 Scottish Parliament  EH99 1SP

Reporter: Fiona Grahame 

Categories: Uncategorized

Tagged as: , , , , , ,

3 replies »

  1. Personally I think blood sports are cruel, but if we have to have grouse shooting etc, why use dogs to retrieve the dead and injured birds? Why not pay the peasants to collect them? This would provide more jobs for working people and help to repopulate Scotland’s underpopulated areas.

  2. It’s cruel and un-neccessary.
    It’s a simple enough idea – only inflict pain if it’s really necessary to do so.
    I don’t believe this practice to be to do with possible tail injury later in life – I believe it to be because some dog owners like the look of a docked tail.
    I’m always pleased to see a happy little Jack Russell, wagging it’s complete tail. I must admit, a dog can still express a lot with a stump – but why should they have to?
    I’ll take part in this consultation, and I hope that any one else who is prepared to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves, will do so too – dog lovers or not.

  3. PS
    Labradors and Retrievers don’t have their tails docked, and they are very much working dogs. I suspect because they wouldn’t look so good with their tails docked. That’s what it’s really about – and tradition – that terrible thing – pointless tradition.

Leave a Reply