Do Yorkies Have Tails Naturally?(And Why Some Do And Some Don’t)

🦴 Updated on July 14th, 2023


If you are interested in this smaller breed, you may have noticed a significant difference in the Yorkie tail appearance. Some dogs will have shorter ones while others are longer, leaving you to question, do Yorkies have tails, or is this a mixed breeding attribute? 

However, the tail’s appearance or length has no relevance on if your Yorkie is purebred or not. It all comes down to aesthetics and what guidelines breeders follow with the litters. So let’s jump right into more details about Yorkie tails.  

Are Yorkies Born With Tails? 

Yes, like numerous other dog breeds, Yorkies do have a tail at birth. However, its length can vary, depending on if it is a purebred Yorkie or a mixed breed. Although, typically, you will see a Yorkie with a long tail right after birth. 

Even so, many breeders will choose Yorkie tail docking before puppies grow and mature. Therefore, there is a legitimate reason for performing this procedure, although some believe it is unnecessary.  

Do Yorkies Need Their Tail Docked? 

The controversy over tail docking is a significant one. Historically, some people thought docking a dog’s tail helped prevent rabies, increase its speed, strengthen its back, and keep them safer during hunting or protecting livestock and people from predators. 

As information grows, individuals realize that this procedure does none of those things for their animal, making it irrelevant. More recently, tail docking is for aesthetic purposes. 

While some pet owners prefer the traditional look of the breed and opt for a puppy with a docked tail, other dog owners may require a shorter one for competition purposes. 

Purebred Yorkies who enter competitions in some countries require a docked tail, while other locations forbid this process or restrict it to medical purposes only. 

The Case for a Yorkie Docked Tail 

There are a couple of reasons dog owners choose a Yorkie without a tail or ensure their pet goes through the docking procedure to minimize its length. 

Dog Shows and Competitions

The American Kennel Club (AKC) has a policy on tail docking and ear cropping with distinct breeds, including the Yorkie. They recognize this practice as a means to preserve the integrity and character of the breeds, preventing injuries and enhancing good health. 

Competitions and shows through the AKC prefer specific breeds to have docked tails rather than in their natural state. For example, if you wanted to own a show-worthy Yorkie in the United States, it would require a docked tail to be competitive. 

For Safety and Health 

Although this reason is more prevalent in larger breeds, some dog owners still profess this as the cause for tail docking. This rationale is that a dog can injure their long tail and cause long-term harm or ill effects. 

The procedure can help minimize the chances of injury from banging the tail on an object or hurting it while hunting in a thick brush by docking it shortly after birth.

Alternatively, some breeders and owners believe it will help keep the animal’s hair cleaner on its backside as the tail is shorter. This factor can hold true in Yorkshire Terriers with long hair. 

For a More Aesthetically Pleasing Appearance 

Yorkies are a small breed, and owners typically hold their appearance high standards. Often, these dogs are small enough to fit into purses or small handbags, making them cute and portable companions. 

Sometimes, personal preference on what an owner considers attractive is all that is necessary for a dog to have a docked tail. Breeders will continue with Yorkie tail docking if that is precisely what potential dog owners want in a new pet. 

The Case for an Undocked Yorkie Tail 

Yorkie tail docking is a controversial subject and can spur heated conversations between dog owners. However, looking at the alternative side of tail docking, many dog lovers and veterinarians build a strong case for leaving their tail in its natural undocked state. 

Dog Shows and Competitions 

As awareness grows, more countries are placing bans on tail docking. In addition, professional dog shows and competitions will accept all breeds with full tails as their way to avoid reinforcing this procedure. 

So, depending on where you live, your Yorkie may still be eligible to participate in shows even with a full tail. 

Does Not Provide Any Health or Safety Benefits 

Many professional veterinarians will attest to the unnecessary docking of Yorkies with tails as they believe it does not provide the benefits that some think it does. However, we now know that docking does not prevent rabies or make your pet’s back stronger. 

Claims from vets worldwide tell tales of dogs who live long and healthy lives with full tails. However, they reinforce by treating dogs with tail injuries that these accidents did not happen from hunting or banging them on an object, further solidifying their case. 

Better Appearance and Communication 

Aesthetics are an individual preference, especially when it comes to pets. For example, some dog owners prefer an undocked Yorkie tail, which they find an attractive part of their pet’s appearance. 

Additionally, many people enjoy watching their pet’s tails wag excitedly when they arrive home from work or take them out for a walk. The tail is a big piece of a dog’s persona that can communicate effectively with other animals and humans. 

Do Yorkies Have Tails In North America? 

Of course, different countries have varying laws and guidelines regarding Yorkshire terrier tail docking. However, in North America, including the United States and Canada, the docking process is unrestricted, therefore leaving the decision up to breeders and dog owners for Yorkie tail lengths. 

Consequently, if you reside in the United States, it is mentioned that if you want to show your dog and participate in AKC competitions, your Yorkie will undergo this procedure to be eligible. 

However, because it is common practice in North America and kennel clubs support this procedure, you may find more Yorkies with docked tails than not. 

In addition, many breeders will perform this procedure on new litters before they have new homes. So, even if you are not planning on showing your animal, you may not be part of the decision. 

How Do You Dock a Yorkie’s Tail? 

If you want to dock your Yorkie with a long tail, it is vital that you know the safest way for completing this procedure. You do not want to cause pain or harm to your pet intentionally. 

Previously, many countries would allow anyone to perform Yorkie tail cut procedures themselves while following proper guidelines. However, this process happens only with a registered veterinarian or a proper breeder to ensure sterile conditions and correct practices. 

Timing is also a critical factor in Yorkshire terrier tail docking. The best age to perform this procedure falls right after they are born, between 24 and 96 hours of age. 

The reasoning for this swift timing is that some determine the dog’s nervous system is underdeveloped at this point, so they will not feel intense pain as they would when they are older and more mature. 

There are varying opinions on whether docking a Yorkie’s tail is painful or not. Some breeders and veterinarians believe it is not as intense as we think. 

In contrast, other individuals profess that these young puppies have the same sensations and feelings as adult animals. 

However, if a pet owner wants this procedure done after this time, they will need to wait until the dog is older. They should be old enough to undergo anesthesia since the pain will be intense and is a major surgical procedure.  

There are two ways to dock a Yorkie tail correctly. 

  • Tying it off
  • Cutting it off 

Tying It Off

This docking method restricts the blood flow to the end of the tail using a rubber band or secure tie. The breeder typically does this procedure at home after the first 24 hours of birth. 

After approximately three days, the end of the tail will fall off, leaving the shorter stub. It is the least invasive way to dock a Yorkie’s tail and does not require a vet or local animal clinic trip. 

Cutting It Off 

This docking alternative requires a scalpel or surgical scissors to cut the tail at the desired length. A professional veterinarian performs this procedure in a sterile environment and typically falls between two and five days of age. 

The puppies do not undergo any anesthetic since they are too young for their bodies to handle this type of drug. Then, stitches help close the tail, and it heals naturally at home. If a dog is older for tail docking, it must be at least ten weeks old to sustain pain medication safely.   

What Are the Risks of Yorkie Tail Docking? 

Of course, any amputation procedure will carry risks. However, knowing any potential hazards will ensure that you are aware of the many aspects of this process. This way, you can keep your beloved pet safe and healthy if you choose for them to undergo this procedure. 

Infection or Ongoing Pain

Anytime amputation happens, there is a risk for infection. Bacteria can enter a wound if your pet is not in a sterile environment or if the area gets dirty while it heals. Severe infections can lead to further complications if it does not receive treatment immediately.  

Docking requires cutting through muscle, tendons, nerves, and bone and cartilage tissue connectors. If there is excess inflammation or damage to any tissues, the dog may have ongoing pain in the affected area, even long after it has healed. 

Creates an Aggressive Animal 

A dog uses its tail to communicate with other animals and humans. If it lacks a way to do this, humans or other dogs may misunderstand its intentions. 

Your pet may become nervous, anxious, and be a more vulnerable target to other dogs. As a result, their social interactions may also suffer.

Therefore, some Yorkies without tails can become aggressive since they are constantly more fearful and do not have enough positive exposure to other animals. 

Sustaining Nerve Damage 

If the docking procedure is not at the ideal spot on the tail, it could create nerve damage in the area. A Yorkie that sustains nerve damage may have a decreased feeling in its rectum and cause problems with relieving its bowels.  


If you have any further questions or concerns about tail docking, take a look at these frequently asked questions below. 

Is It Cruel To Dock a Dog’s Tail?

Some individuals believe that tail docking is cruel and unnecessary since it does not provide any benefits or advantages to the animal that they can see or understand. The interpretation of how a newborn puppy senses or feels pain also affects how people determine its cruelty. 

How Much Does It Cost To Dock a Dog’s Tail? 

The total cost of a tail docking procedure is relatively inexpensive when performing it in puppies. You can expect to pay between $10 and $20 for this procedure, but it typically is partnered with the pup’s first vet exam. 

The costs are much greater if a dog requires a docking procedure after it is older than a puppy. The animal will require anesthesia and aftercare, resulting in a vet bill ranging from $200 to $500. 

The Wrap-Up On Yorkie Tail Docking 

Tail docking is an ongoing controversial subject that can include pros and cons from both sides of the argument. Some believe there are valid reasons for this procedure, while other dog owners and veterinarians advocate for its ban. 

If you reside in an area with no restrictions regarding docking practices, choosing a docked tail is personal. However, it is vital that you adhere to safety procedures if you select this avenue for your Yorkie. 

Following proper techniques and recommendations will keep your Yorkie safe and healthy during and after the docking process. 

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Picture of Jennifer Grucci | Dog Breeds Expert
Jennifer Grucci | Dog Breeds Expert
Our talented copy editor Jennifer ensures all doggie info published on our site is accurate, clear, and perfectly suited for pet parents of all experience levels. When not reading and writing about dogs, Jennifer enjoys playing with her own pets at home.