German Shepherds are a very distinctive breed of dog. They are well known for their large ears which are often pointed but can sometimes be floppy.
They have a relatively slim body and average-length legs, which gives them a well-proportioned appearance and a very recognizable silhouette. They also have long, fluffy tails.
But what if your German Shepherd has a curly tail? Are curly tails a cause for concern? How can you tell if there is something wrong with your dog’s tail?
You find yourself starting to panic, worrying that your dog is unwell and you don’t know what to do.
We have put together some useful information to answer these questions and help put your mind at ease when it comes to your German Shepherd’s tail.
Do German Shepherds Have Curly Tails?
There are generally two types of tails that German Shepherds have.
The first type is the standard kind of tail shape which has a slight curve- the tail is straight but it is often more comfortable for the dog to hold the weight of their tail in a curved position rather than let it hang straight.
The other kind of tail shape is a curly tail. This is when the tail forms a full curl rather than a gentle curve from the base, and it often sits in quite a high position even when the tail is relaxed.
This can be caused by genetics, as some German Shepherds have naturally curly tails.
It could also be due to the position of the puppy when it was in the womb, or even due to an injury or breakage during birth or later on in the dog’s life.
Is A Curly Tail A Genetic Fault?
It is very normal for some German Shepherds to have a curly tail- it is an inherited trait that some dogs of this breed have. However, it is considered a genetic fault by the AKC standards.
This means that if your German Shepherd has a curly tail then they might not perform as well in dog shows and competitions when it comes to the judgment of their physical appearance.
Your dog could be disqualified from the dog show or placed very low due to the shape of its tail.
However, a curly tail does not mean that your German Shepherd is not a pure breed. This trait can occur even in purebred German Shepherds and it is not the fault of the breeder.
Even if both of the parents have straight (slightly curved) tails, they could still carry the gene for a curly tail so it is impossible to know whether the puppies will be born with curly or straight tails.
Can You Reverse A Curly Tail?
If your German Shepherd has a curly tail then you might feel tempted to try and get it corrected.
Some certain procedures and practices are carried out in an attempt to straighten a curly tail, but they are mostly unsuccessful and are considered to be medical malpractice in the veterinary world as they are cruel and unnecessary.
The procedures- such as breaking the tail or damaging the tendon in the tail- do not improve the quality of life of the dog, and they put the animal through unnecessary pain.
Curly tails are not more prone to issues or complications, so there is no need to correct the curl aside for cosmetic reasons.
It can be unfortunate if you have reserved a German Shepherd puppy to show the dog and the puppy is born with a curly tail, but it will still be a healthy, purebred German Shepherd with a good quality of life.
Even if the curly tail is a result of an injury at birth or the position of the puppy in the womb rather than a genetic trait, it is still unlikely that one of the procedures mentioned above would correct it.
If your German Shepherd has a curly tail then it might be more difficult to read their body language.
If their tail is straight or held in a higher position this usually means that the dog is alert or excited, and a low tail position indicates fear or nervousness.
If your dog has a curly tail that is often in a higher position than usual and isn’t relaxed, it can be tricky to understand them.
What Issues Can German Shepherds Have With Their Tails?
There are several tail conditions that German Shepherds are prone to. It is best to be aware of them so you can spot the signs and get your dog the help they need if any of these issues arise.
This is a condition that affects around 84% of German Shepherds. It is a progressive disease of an inflammatory nature that causes issues with the skin around the base of the tail and the anus.
The disease is inherited from the dog’s parents, depending on whether the parent has the genetic trait. It can be avoided with genetic testing of the parents and a selective breeding process, but it is a very common problem faced by German Shepherds.
In this case, a curly tail might lessen the symptoms of anal furunculosis.
The disease thrives in warm areas with limited airflow and a build-up of moisture – like the base of a fluffy tail that is in a low position. A curly tail in a higher position would cause fewer issues.
Even if your German Shepherd does not suffer from anal furunculosis, they could still experience skin irritations, especially around their tail.
German Shepherds have sensitive skin that is prone to irritation and infection. Look out for signs that your dog is in discomfort- they could be nibbling their tail a lot or struggling to find a comfortable sitting position.
Limber Tail Syndrome
This is another common issue faced by German Shepherds and other working dog breeds.
If the muscles of the tail are over-exerted it can lead to this painful, inflammatory condition which causes a limp tail, swollen tail tissue, and pain when touching the tail.
Over-exertion can be caused by swimming, especially in cold water temperatures, intensive exercise, or exposure to very warm temperatures.
And there you have it, a complete guide about German Shepherds and their curly tails!
While it can be normal for your German Shepherd to have a slight curly tail if you are worried we recommend taking your dog to the vet to have a professional check them over. After all, it’s better to be safe!