Should A Cockapoo’s Tail Be Docked? Is It Necessary?

Cockapoos are excellent dogs and make a great addition to any family. You may notice some cockapoos with their naturally long tails intact and others with short docked tails. Why do owners dock their cockapoo’s tail? Is tail docking necessary?

It’s not necessary to dock a cockapoo’s tail. Some cockapoo owners and breeders prefer to dock their dog’s tail within the first five days of birth for cosmetic reasons, cleanliness, or to prevent injury. Although commonly practiced, tail docking is discouraged by the RSPCA unless deemed medically necessary.

In this article, we’ll discuss why cockapoos get their tails docked, what age it is best to dock their tails, and how long the tail should be docked!

Why Do Cockapoos Get Their Tails Docked?

Cockapoos have had their tails docked for years. Nowadays, people will dock tails mainly to improve the appearance of the dog. Over the years, people have docked their dog’s tails for a myriad of reasons. Historically, people believed docking dog tails would prevent rabies, strengthen the back, increase speed, and prevent future injuries.

Cockapoos were bred from a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle in the 1960s to create an excellent companion dog. Both Cocker Spaniels and Poodles are born with naturally long tails that vets or breeders often dock shorter.

In the past, tail docking hunting or herding dogs were common, and many people believed a docked tail would prevent injuries in these dogs.

Cockapoos are not a recognized breed by any major kennel club, so tail docking isn’t necessary for the breed standard. For family pets, tail docking isn’t essential unless you want a particular look for your Cockapoo. Many owners choose this procedure for cosmetic reasons, and therefore, is the main reason cockapoos get their tails docked in modern times.

At What Age Do Cockapoos Get Their Tails Docked?

Cockapoos typically have their tails docked within the first five days after birth. Experts believe that puppies’ nervous systems aren’t yet fully developed the first few days after birth. Therefore, tail docking is done within that time.

However, others claim that puppies do feel pain during the tail docking process. Many studies show evidence indicating that puppies have similar sensitivity to pain as adult dogs. 

How Is Tail Docking Performed?

As mentioned previously, tail docking is typically performed on puppies a few days after birth. Vets often carry out this procedure without any anesthesia. There are two main methods of tail docking used today—tail banding and cutting.

Tail Banding

A vet or breeder will use a tight rubber band to constrict the blood supply during the tail banding procedure, causing the tail to fall off. Breeders who want to dock their dogs’ tails usually use this method, which many believe is less painful.

After the band cuts off the blood supply to the part of the tail that they’re removing, it will result in dry gangrene. After this sets in, the puppy’s tail will typically fall off about three days later. This method will still cause some discomfort for puppies but is considered less painful.


The method many veterinarians use to dock a dog’s tail is by simply cutting it off. During this procedure, a veterinarian will use a clamp to mark where the tail is supposed to end, and the veterinarian will use scissors to cut a portion of the tail off.

After cutting off the tail, they’ll stitch it and wrap it up for healing.

What Is the Correct Length To Dock a Cockapoos Tail?

According to the American Cockapoo Club, docking a Cockapoo tail should result in it being no more and no less than four inches long.

Every breed has a specific “standard” or specific looks to achieve. For example, for Cocker Spaniels, ⅓ of the length should be left. For toy poodles, ½ to ⅔ of the length should remain.

If you’re considering having your Cockapoos tail docked, you can always verify with your veterinarian the length the tail needs to be.

What Is the Importance of a Cockapoo’s Tail?

If you’ve only just heard of tail docking, you’re probably wondering if docking your dog’s tail could harm it in any way throughout its life.

The American Kennel Club believes that dog tails are essential for three reasons:

  • Movement
  • Balance
  • Communication.

Historically, a reason for tail docking was to increase the speed of the dog. However, whether this works is up for debate. Dog’s tails work to assist in skillful movement. While running, their tails help to steer them, which also coincides with balance.

Communication is another essential aspect of dog tails. Dogs use their tails to communicate with other people, as well as each other. The American Kennel Club finds that tail wagging is a learned behavior among dogs and that puppies don’t begin using their tails until they’re 30-50 days old.

Can My Older Cockapoos Tail Be Docked?

An older Cockapoo’s tail can be docked, but only under anesthesia. Docking an older dog’s tail will often result in a more lengthy healing process and more pain. Older dogs commonly require tail amputation as a result of a serious medical issue or injury.

Older cockapoos are more likely to feel more pain when docked and are more than likely scar from the procedure.

Many breeders and vets recommend waiting until your dog is old enough to undergo anesthesia before docking. However, since it’s up for debate on whether puppies feel pain within the first few days of birth, most vets recommend docking a cockapoo’s tail as early as possible. If you have an older Cockapoo and you’re thinking about docking its tail, it’s best to ask a veterinarian for advice to see if it’s a good option for your dog.

Tail Docking Pros and Cons

Deciding to dock your Cockapoos tail is an important decision, and it depends on many factors, including your environment and how and where your dog will spend most of its time.


  • It prevents future injuries. Many dogs play rough or get into terrain outside and can injure their long tails.
  • It fits the breed standard. If you’re a breeder, some buyers won’t want to buy a dog that looks different than the standard. Many people don’t even realize most breeds are born with long tails!
  • It’s cleaner. Longer tails can become matted or dirty faster than shorter tails. If you make frequent trips to the groomers, this shouldn’t be an issue. However, some owners may not be able to.


  • It’s painful. No matter how you go about it, tail docking is a painful experience for your puppy.
  • It could interfere with its balance and ability to move around. Since dogs use their tail for movement and balance, docking could result in the animal not living up to its full potential.
  • Loss of communication. As dogs use their tails to communicate with those around them, docking the tail could impair that communication. They won’t completely lose their ability to communicate, but the shorter the tail is, the less it can wag.

Final Thoughts

Cockapoos are lovely family dogs bred from a cocker spaniel and a poodle. While both the cocker spaniel and poodle breeds typically have their tails docked, it’s unnecessary to dock a cockapoo’s tail.

Nowadays, besides cosmetic purposes, there isn’t a reason for dogs to specifically need their tails docked. For cockapoos, in particular, many people choose to dock their tails to make them look like their cocker spaniel or poodle ancestors. While there are many pros and cons to tail docking in general, it’s usually up to the breeder to decide if it’s necessary to do so.

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Brent Hartman

I'm Brent Hartman. I've been a dog lover my entire life and have owned many animals over the years. When my black lab Angus passed away, I was looking for another friend to share my life with. As a result of my research, I've come to love poodles and wanted to share some of what I've learned with you. Whether you're looking to adopt a poodle, or already own one, I created Poodle report to be the ultimate guide to help you find the answers you need.

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