Almost every third family has a four-legged barking pet, and some have more than one. However, adult dog owners rarely wonder about the anatomical features of their pet. But children are often interested in why a dog needs a tail, big ears, wool? Why do some dogs have their tail cut off, while others have it intact? So why do dogs need this body part?
Any researcher will agree that everything that is created on Earth has a certain meaning, and there can be no talk of unnecessary things. And even a tiny part of the body is of great importance to its owner, the same can be said about a dog’s tail. It is very important to the animal and has a number of functions.
The tail is in a mobile state almost all the time. It is a clear indicator of the dog’s mood, it can be used to determine what the dog is going to do in the near future. Almost all people know that if a dog wags its tail, then he is positive and very happy, and if the tail is between the hind limbs, the pet is scared or very ashamed.
But these are far from all the “tailed” gestures that an animal uses in communication with people, its relatives and other animals, and they are not always interpreted unambiguously. Tail wagging can also be a sign of aggression, and a dog whose tail is in a calm state can be more friendly than it might seem at first glance. The alphabet of the “tailed” language says the following:
- In a relaxed animal, the tail is located naturally – the position depends on the breed – in pugs it lies on its back, in Labradors it hangs down, in huskies it forms a ring.
- Careful wagging from side to side, a kind of waving – speaks of the joyful mood of the dog.
- Intense waving, and even accelerated movement around its axis, in the manner of a propeller, is unrestrained joy and happiness, the pet is immensely glad that its owner has returned.
- A drooping or trapped tail between the hind paws is a sign that the dog is nervous or showing submissiveness. In this mood, the dog can try to quickly dodge him. But this does not apply to dogs of the Italian Greyhound breed – they have a similar tail position is common.
- The tail is tightly pressed to the stomach – the animal is very frightened or tries to demonstrate exceptional submission.
- The high tail, which stands straight and rigid, resembling a pipe – something alerted the dog.
- The tail is raised high, and its end wiggles from side to side – usually in this position, the dog stands in one place, showing aggression, threatening people or other animals. From the outside it may seem that the dog is happy, but all other body movements speak of the opposite.
- A vertically raised tail that seems to shake – the dog is ready for a fight or for an attack.
- The dog is carrying something in its teeth and at the same time its tail is raised slightly above the body – this position suggests that the animal is confident in itself and will not give up its prey just like that.
Looking at the dog that moves, it is noticeable that the tail is actively involved in this process. It helps the animal balance when the dog walks on logs or uneven surfaces. Also, thanks to the tail, dogs can sharply change trajectories, this is especially important for dogs developing great speeds – greyhounds, hounds.
In addition, the tail helps dogs swim, because it is not for nothing that all aquatic breeds – Labradors, Newfoundlands, Irish Water Spaniels, Portuguese Water Dogs and others – have a rather long and thick tail. It helps the dog to swim long distances, dive and swim to the surface.
Read also: how dogs see the world.
Tail – flavoring
Not all dog owners know about the paraanal glands, which are located at the base of the tail. They secrete a special secretory fluid with an individual aroma. When a dog feels confident, it actively flaps its tail, spreading its own scent, notifying the whole neighborhood about its presence.
In addition, a secret is an information carrier and can tell a lot about its owner. He attracts the opposite sex and warns opponents. And if the dog is not so confident in himself and does not want to attract everyone’s attention, he tries to press his tail to his stomach, closing the paraanal glands.
Tail – decoration
In some breeds, the tail is a chic addition to the image. With long hair – in lapdogs, Pekingese, husky rings, dense in German shepherds – this is not the whole list of situations when the tail is a real decoration.
No wonder that in the standard one of the points is devoted to this particular part of the body. In the German Shepherd, it should be as long as possible, in the Labradors – in short, in the Japanese Chins and Pekingese straight and lying on the back, in the French Bulldogs it curls funny.
Each breed has its own requirements, and for some it is docking. Yes, today this procedure is controversial, but dogs of some breeds really look more impressive without this, albeit important, detail. Fortunately, modern owners have the right to decide this issue in one favor or another.
A dog’s tail is a fan, mood indicator, rudder and fin. An important organ that should not be underestimated. It is not known whether the dogs themselves are proud of having a gorgeous tail, but the owners are proud – and that’s for sure!