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Dog Tail Types

By Paige

There are a variety of tail shapes and sizes in the canine world. Here is a brief description of the basics and examples of breeds with each tail shape.

*There are more tail shapes, (lots of them) and we think we have cataloged the main basics here. If that’s not the case, we’d love feedback from anyone who knows their tail.

Bob Tail

Bob tail dog

Image from visualazn

A naturally occurring short stump of a tail.

Example of breeds with bob tails: Australian Shepherd & Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Corkscrew or Screw Tail

Corkscrew tail dog

Image from kindagetmego

Short and twisted like a corkscrew.

Example of breeds with corkscrew tails: Pug & Bulldog

Docked Tail

Docked tail dog

Image from Matthew Boyle

Shortened through surgery a few days after birth.

Example of breeds often found with docked tails: Doberman & Boxer

Flagpole Tail

Flagpole tail dog

Image from natashalcd

A long, straight tail carried erect.

Example of breeds with flagpole tails: Beagle

Rat Tail

Rat tail dog

Image from thekennelclub

Tail has very little hair (if any) and resembles the tail of a rat.

Example of breeds with rat tails: Irish Water Spaniel & Afghan

Natural Tail

Natural tail dog

Image from _tomanthony

Distinguishes the wolves from domesticated dog, natural tails are held low to the body and are thick with fur.

Example of breeds with natural tails: Wolf

Saber Tail

Saber tail dog

Image from pwcorgigirl

Carried in a slight semicircle, like a saber.

Example of breeds with saber tails: German Shepherd

Sickle Tail

Sickle tail dog

Image from huskyboy

Carried in an upwards semicircle, like a sickle.

Example of breeds with sickle tails: Chihuahua & Siberian Husky

Learn More About Shape

Dogs ears come in a variety of shapes and sizes too, if you like the tails, why not check out ear shapes too?

22 Responses to “Dog Tail Types”

  1. trae james says:

    Hiya, I’m starting up a site and I’ve started creating somewhat varied articles for it. Would you object if I blog about this? Obviously I will provide you and this post full acknowledgment.

  2. Paige says:

    Hi Trae,

    Sure you can blog about it, all we ask is that you link to us as the source. Also please note that the images are not ours, they are used under a creative commons license & credit for them should be given to the photographers. (Under each image is a link to their source).

  3. Rolf says:


    I recently adopted a brindle colored dog that may be part “Mountain Curr” or “Plott Hound”. She has rather short hair overall.

    Callie’s most unique feature is her tail. The fur on her tail (also quite short) grows at different angles creating a rope-like texture-pattern. At the tip of her tail the fur there comes out with a curve and like a rope there are three tufts of hair curling in 3 directions. It literally looks like a rope or braid pattern!

    I have never seen nor heard of such an unusual tail. I wonder if it is unique to certain breeds, and if so, what breeds might have such a tail.


  4. BenM says:


    My dog has the same braided pattern on his tale. We adopted him from a shelter. I’m on the East Coast (NY/NJ). Most dogs in shelters anywhere around here are born in the Southern States of Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, South Virginia, and North/South Caroliner. 99% are mix breads, and most are working dogs good for hunting with. My dog is a mix (at minimum) Vizla (Hungarian hunting dog) and a Chocolate Lab. Some people say they see a bit of Pit Bull in him, which I don’t get, but they have owned Pitbulls, so maybe. (I don’t see the need for a DNA test. They usually comeback with a large number of breeds in the lineage. Anyway, I came across this post because I am trying to find some breed of dog that has such a tail. If you’ve had any luck identifying it, please let post it here. Thanks.

  5. Alisa says:

    I think that the plume tail should be added? One dog that has the plumed tail is the Pomeranian. It’s kind of long and very fluffy.

  6. John says:

    We have a five month old black Plott hound mix with a braid pattern in the fur of her tail. The “braid” ends at the tip of her tail with the three tufts sticking out like a devil’s pitchfork. Everyone comments on it when they see her.

  7. Kimmie says:

    Rolf, we have a 3/4 English bulldog and 1/4 mountain curr with the same type of tail! He is also brindle.

  8. Brandi says:

    Another very common dog breed tail type is the whip tail, mostly sight hounds have them or mixes. Very similar to the saber but curl a bit more and well, are whip like.

  9. Kate says:

    There is another common type; the labrador retriever’s tail. It is called an otter tail, and is little different from the Flagpole Tail.

  10. Rolf Taylor says:

    Hello Folks,

    the last time I tried to post here, it didn’t work.

    Callie outgrew here cool tiles and now has a whip tail. I am fascinated by the fact others have seen this braided tail as well.

    If this post works I am curious if any of the other dogs has outgrown (lost) this feature.

  11. Rolf says:

    Testing… this site no onger accepts my posts??

  12. Rolf says:

    Hello folks,

    Several times I have tried to reply as other people have responded to my comments about “rope” tails. Sadly it disappeared from my dog as she moved into her second year.

    However I am more fascinated than ever given others have reported it too. Has anyone had this feature persist on their dog into adulthood?

  13. Katherine says:

    I have seen a dog from a shelter with a beautiful long tail, and there was about a sheet of white hair about a foot long hanging from the tail. That kind of tail wasn’t mentioned in the above so I was wondering what it is. Does anyone have suggestions?

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  15. Carolyn F says:

    RE: Katherine’s information. I adopted two dogs through a Michigan no-kill shelter, from Beruit Lebanon and both have extremely long “feathers” on their very long tails. My dogs are definitely mixed breeds but I, too, would like more information on a specific breed of dog this tail really goes with.

  16. Denise says:

    I found this page while searching to learn more about my foster puppy’s strange tail pattern. Her tail seems to be similar to Callie’s tail above: a rope-like texture pattern. She is six months old, so maybe she will grow out of it as Callie did. She is a Golden Retriever or a Golden mix.

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  18. Gigi says:

    Hi everyone!
    I just adopted a 4 months old rescued puppy…supposedly lab and Pitt mix with a rope tail …I would love to know where this comes from…

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