Docking refers to the process of removing part of the tail of a dog. It is common with small dog breeds like the Yorkshire terriers. With yorkies, the procedure is performed when they are newborn pups. At this age, they have less of a developed sensation of pain and heal quickly which makes it the safest time for the procedure.
It is a very controversial procedure with strong points for and against it. In America, it is common practice to dock yorkie puppies.
Here are some of the main reasons why:
To meet American Kennel Club standards
The American Kennel Club requires that yorkie terriers have their tails docked to medium tail length. This leaves a short tail stub that raises slightly above the level of the back. It is considered a marker for the breed and is particularly important for yorkies in the show dog scene.
This applies to Parti and teacup Yorkies too, but not the Biewer Yorkie, which is considered a different breed to the traditional Yorkie.
This is one of the main underlying reasons behind the popularity of tail docking in Yorkies both in and out of the competition world. The long and high-riding tail of an undocked Yorkie is considered undesirable in terms of visual appeal. This is mainly the case with long-haired doggies. Shortening the tail gives the dog a more compact and appealing look.
This is especially the case for teacup Yorkies, where dog owners often pursue a teddy bear hair cut to amplify the cuteness of their pooch, and the tail is thought to affect the cuteness factor.
To protect from hunting injuries
Yorkies were initially bred and are still occasionally used as hunting dogs. Those with undocked tails tend to suffer more tail injuries especially when retrieving in shrubbery or holes. As a result, owners prefer to spare their dogs the pain and just shorten it to a manageable and less accident-prone length.