Dog Tail Indicates Breed: What is your Dog Tail Shape?

Northern cold-weather dog breeds such as Siberian husky, Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Shiba Inu, Chow chow, American Eskimo dog, etc., have a curled tail that is normally brushed, curl forward, and sickle-shaped. 

But why this kind of tail? This kind of tail helps the dog breeds to keep their face and nose warm during the lower temperatures. The tail is almost C-shaped to help retain body heat during sleep.

What Your Dog’s Tail Means

Animals typically have some kind of tell and, for dogs, it’s usually the tail. It tells you the range of the emotions they’re going through and whether or not to avoid them in those instances.

Apart from being the anatomical feature that separates us from our canine companions, a dog’s tail is also one its endearing features. Here are some of the positions it assumes and what they could mean.

1. A Still Tail Held High

This tail position is typically a display of dominance. It’s basically dogs telling you they’re on high alert and to not try anything. That said, being shown a stiff, vertical tail by your household companion is not something you should tolerate.

2. A Wagging Tail Held High

A pooch showing you a high-held wagging tail means that it’s happy to see you, but is also somewhat in a state of alertness. Your canine friend is cautiously excited but is showing that he’s not quite ready to be messed with. Keep in mind that a wagging tail doesn’t always mean happiness.

3. Tail Tucked Between the Legs

A dog with its tail tucked between its legs is displaying submission or fear. This display is commonly known across the various dog tail types and usually doesn’t have any other interpretation.

4. A Straight-Out Tail

This means the dog is curious and is ready to take in new information. While a dog isn’t being aggressive when it does this, it also isn’t sending out an invitation to encroach on its personal space. You must still be wary if the dog isn’t yours.

Eight Dog Tail Types and What They Mean

A dog’s tail is among the indicators for dog breed and personality. Learn more about the following dog tail types to know what type of dog suits you best.

Carrot Tail

Have you seen a dog with a carrot tail? This is actually a short tail with a thicker base. It is among the custom-formed dog tail types, designed so farmers could grab their dog’s tails and pull them out from vermin holes. So, if you found a carrot-shaped tail in any dog, it is likely to be a Westland High Terrier.

Snap Tail

The snap tail is also common in dog breeds from colder climates. You will find this tail mainly in the Pomeranian ancestors, Alaskan malamutes, American Eskimo Dogs, etc. The snap tail is also more tightly curled than the normally curled dog tail.


Bob Tail

This is a very short tail that you will mainly find in dog breeds like old English Sheepdogs, Australian shepherds, and Pembroke Welsh Corgis. Some people call it a half-tail since it resembles a fatty tissue formed in the place of tails.

Saber Tail

Saber tail is found in breeds like German Shepherds, Belgian Tervurens, Collies, etc. This kind of tail is found mainly in certain herding dog breeds and is normally long and low-positioned. 

Tapered Tail

If you see a tapered tail in any dog, your dog could bear the gene of some kind of terrier, such as a Border, Airedale, Manchester. This tail shape is normally thicker at the base, held straight up, and set high on the back. You have heard about Dachshunds, Dalmatians and English Setters, which also fit under this category.

Gay Tail

The gay tail is very common among dog breeds like Beagles, Charles Spaniels, Border Collies, Wire Fox terriers, etc. It is normally thick with a very slight curve and has a small white tuft at the tip, which is very noticeable. There is no mistaking that white tuft at the tail end. 

Swimmer Tail

This swimmer tail is common mainly among sports dogs. In the case of water dogs which can swim very well, like the Labrador Retrievers or Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, it works like a rudder that controls movement during swimming. 

The swimmer tail is generally thick and has a size that’s dependent on its owner’s overall body size. It is also heavily furred with a blunt tip.

Sword Tail

Certain dog breeds that come with a swordtail are Great Danes, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs, American Staffordshire Terriers, and some breeds of Pointers. The tail gets its name from its sword-like appearance when sticking straight up.

Corkscrew Tail

The corkscrew tail is very small in size and remains twisted like a corkscrew. The most common breed which is found with a corkscrew tail is bulldogs, Norwegian Elkhound, Shiba Inu, and pugs.

How Can I Identify the Breed of My Dog?

Unless you’re a dog expert, it isn’t always easy to tell what the particular dog looking up at you is. Fortunately, by looking at the following body parts, identifying the breed of the pooch can be easier:

  • Tail: Is it straight, curly, or short? Does the dog even have a tail, in the first place? The tail might not just give away the dog’s breed; it could also tell you its behavior. 
  • Color: It can be easy to tell what a dog’s breed is by the pattern of colors on its coat. 
  • Coat: Terriers have wiry coats, while working breeds have double coats for handling the elements. 
  • Ears: Some dogs have droopy ears, while others have erect ears that give the impression of constant alertness. 
  • Head: A dog can be flat-faced, long-nosed, or somewhere between the two. 

What Breed of Dog Has Zig Zag on Tail?

Some dog breeds that can have hackles or zig zags on their tails are Mastiffs, German Shepherds, and Belgian Malinoises. These zigzags can run from their shoulder blades or necks all the way to their tails. 

What Is a Saber Tail?

Saber-shaped tails are those possessed by working breeds like German Shepherds, Border Collies, and Belgian Malinoises. These tails are long and held low when in a neutral position but also change position, depending on the dog’s feelings. Other breeds that have this tail are English Setters, Dachshunds, and Dalmatians. 

The Importance of a Dog’s Tail 

Dog tail types can give you an idea of the lineage of the dog. If you want to learn about the ancestors of your dog breed, its tail shape gives you an indication. Though whatever the case, all dogs are good companions and love their owner. 

So, whatever breed your dog is, just give him love and he will return it unconditionally. Regardless of dog tail types, a dog is man’s best companion and could remain that way for as long as the human race continues to survive.

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