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French Bulldog Tail: Docked Or Born Without? (Explained)

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When it comes to French Bulldogs, one of the most common misunderstandings is whether or not they have tails. 

Some people believe that all French Bulldogs are born without tails, while others think that their tails are always docked. 

In this post, we will explore the truth about French Bulldog tails – what type of tails they can have, the problems associated with them, and how to properly care for them.

Let’s jump right in.

French Bulldog Tail

Do French Bulldogs Have Tails?

Yes, French Bulldogs have tails, but they’re not the traditional tails you’d see in other breeds. Instead, they are much shorter and, to the untrained eye, don’t even look like tails.

In the past, many people point out that French Bulldogs appeared to have longer tails that were much more pronounced than they are today. Which makes them believe that French Bulldogs today don’t actually have tails.

But the common belief is that through selective breeding, breeders choose to only reproduce French Bulldogs with short tails, which is why Frenchies don’t have longer tails today.

Are French Bulldog Tails Cut Off/Docked?

No, French Bulldog tails are not cut off or docked. This is a common misconception because of their short tails. But French Bulldogs are born with short tails – they are not docked.

The practice of tail docking is when the veterinarian cuts off part of the dog’s tail for cosmetic purposes. This is mainly done in breeds that are used for hunting or working dogs. But since French Bulldogs are not used for hunting or working, there is no reason to dock their tails.

The only time you may see a French Bulldog with a docked tail is if they were born with a longer tail and the breeder had it docked to make it shorter. But this is not common, and most French Bulldogs are born with their tails already short.

What Types Of Tail Can French Bulldogs Have?

short French Bulldog tail

1) Screw-Like Tails

The screw-like tail is the most common type of tail that French Bulldogs have. As the name suggests, this type of tail looks like a screw that has been inserted into the dog’s backside.

This tail type is usually more desired because many people find it to be cuter. But it’s important to note that this type of tail can also be associated with health problems.

The screw-like tail is more prone to spinal problems because of the way it’s shaped. So if you own a French Bulldog with this type of tail, it’s important to take them to the vet for regular check-ups to ensure their spine is healthy.

Additionally, this type of tail can also be challenging to clean. Because of how it’s shaped, dirt and debris can easily get trapped in the folds, leading to infections.

2) Straight Tails

The straight tail is the other type of tail that French Bulldogs have. As the name suggests, this type of tail is simply straight and doesn’t have a screw-like shape.

It can be straight and stumpy, meaning the same thickness throughout the whole tail. Or thicker at the base of the tail and gradually becoming thinner toward the tip.

The straight tail is not as common as the screw-like tail, but it’s still seen in some French Bulldogs. This type of tail is generally healthier because it’s not as prone to spinal problems.

And it’s also easier to clean because there are no folds for dirt and debris to get trapped in.

Why Do French Bulldogs Have Naturally Short Tails?

French Bulldog bum

There are a few theories as to why French Bulldogs have naturally short tails.

Some people believe that it’s because of their genetic makeup. For example, French Bulldogs are a brachycephalic breed, meaning they have short noses and skulls. And many believe that this short skull structure is also responsible for a shorter skeletal structure and thus short tails.

Another theory is that their short tails are the result of years of selective breeding. As mentioned before, French Bulldogs in the past had longer tails. But, over time, breeders only chose to reproduce Frenchies with shorter tails until it became the norm.

Whatever the true reason may be, French Bulldogs of today have naturally short tails.

Can French Bulldogs Wag Their Tail?

French Bulldogs can’t wag their tail as other dogs will. While their stumpy little tail can move when they’re excited, the more noticeable sign of their happiness/joy is a cute bum shake.

Because they don’t have much of a tail, the whole lower half of their body will shake in excitement instead of just a tail.

They also have other ways of showing their happiness, like smiling, panting, and making little grunting noises. So, if you see your French Bulldog doing any of these things, you can be sure that if they had a tail, it’d be wagging uncontrollably.

Health Problems Associated With a French Bulldogs Tail

french bulldog

1) Tail Pocket Infections

One of the most common problems associated with a French Bulldog’s tail is tail pocket infections.

The tail pocket is the area where the dog’s anus and genitals are located. And because of this, it’s a prime spot for bacteria to grow.

If not cleaned on a regular basis, the tail pocket can become infected. Symptoms of an infected tail pocket include excessive licking, redness, swelling, and a bad odor.

If you think your French Bulldog has an infected tail pocket, it’s important to take them to the vet for treatment.

Tail pocket infections are relatively easy to treat, but if left untreated, they can lead to more severe health problems.

2) Sunburn

Another common problem associated with French Bulldogs and their tails is sunburn.

Because the hair on their tail is very fine/thin, their skin is more exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays. And, just like humans, French Bulldogs can get sunburned.

Which has the same negative side effects for dogs as it does for humans.

So because French Bulldog’s tails don’t have the same type of coverage as other dogs’ tails, they’re more at risk of getting a sunburn on their bum area.

3) Hemivertebrae

French Bulldogs with screw-like tails are believed to develop hemivertebrae more often. This is because their tail’s twisted shape puts extra stress on their spine.

Hemivertebrae is a malformed or incomplete vertebra that can pressure the spinal cord and nerves.

Unfortunately, in severe cases, it can lead to paralysis.

While there is no cure for hemivertebrae, there are a number of treatments that can help to improve the quality of life for affected dogs. Surgery is often used to correct the deformities and relieve pressure on the spinal cord.

In addition, physical therapy and acupuncture can help to reduce pain and improve mobility.

The best way to prevent hemivertebrae is to have a French Bulldog’s spine checked by a vet before breeding.

How To Take Care Of a French Bulldogs Tail & Tail Pocket

dog sitting

1) Frequent Cleaning

As we’ve discussed, the tail pocket is a prime spot for bacteria to grow. So, it’s important to clean it on a regular basis.

The best way to clean your French Bulldog’s tail pocket is to use a cotton ball soaked in warm water. Then, gently wipe the area around their anus.

You should also make sure to clean the area between their folds regularly. This will help to prevent any skin irritations or infections.

If you’re not comfortable cleaning your French Bulldog’s tail pocket, you can always take them to the groomer or vet to have it done.

Just make sure that you’re cleaning their tail pocket on a regular basis, as it’s an important part of their hygiene.

To give you an idea, it’s generally a good idea to give their bottom a wipe after every time they do their business. Just the same as what people do.

2) Limit Sun Exposure

As we mentioned earlier, French Bulldogs are more susceptible to sunburn because of their thin tail hair. So, it’s important to limit their sun exposure.

If you’re going to be outside with your French Bulldog for an extended period of time, make sure to put sunscreen on their tail and bum area.

You can also buy dog-specific sunscreen that’s designed for their delicate skin.

Just ensure to avoid any products containing zinc oxide, as this can be toxic to dogs if they lick it off.

In addition to sunscreen, you can also try to keep your French Bulldog in the shade as much as possible.

This will help to prevent their tail from getting sunburned.

During the warmer months of the year, it’s best to take them outside for their exercise either early in the morning before the sun rises or later in the evening after the sun has gone down.

Final Thoughts

French Bulldogs are a popular breed of dog that many people love. They’re known for their big ears, flat face, and short legs.

But one thing that’s often misunderstood about French Bulldogs is their tail. Many people believe that all French Bulldogs have docked tails. However, this is not the case.

All French Bulldogs are born with a tail. The difference between these dogs and other breeds is they have been strategically bred to have shorter tails.

This tail can look screw-like, short and thick, or thick at the base and gradually thinner toward the tip.

Their unique tail creates a tail pocket that does require additional maintenance, but many owners will say they’re well worth the extra effort.

Other posts you might find interesting:

8 Week Old French Bulldogs: Ultimate Care Guide

Ultimate French Bulldog Walking Guide: 26 Things To Know

6 Reasons Why Frenchies Lay Like Frogs (Sploot) + Dangers