One of the unique things about French Bulldogs is their tail which is so short that some Frenchies look like they don’t have one at all. Is it docked? Is it normal for a Frenchie to have a longer tail than others? If you are among those considering adopting a French bulldog, it’s important to answer these questions.
French Bulldog Tail Characteristics
The tail is one of the things dogs use to communicate. Dogs wag their tails when they are excited or happy. In the case of French Bulldogs, they only end up wiggling because they can’t wag their tails. When Frenchies become excited, they show it by twitching their rear end.
The American Kennel Club’s breed standards for French Bulldogs say they can either have a straight or a corkscrew-shaped tail covering their anus. The right term for this is “screwed” because it is not supposed to be curly. It should be set low and short and lying flat on the buttocks.
A tail that is too long is considered a fault while having no tail at all is not qualified to the current breed standard. The tails should not be too high or abnormally short because these are already considered faults in the breed.
Frenchies were originally bred as toy-sized versions of Bulldogs and there are many reasons why Bulldogs have the shortest tails of all breeds. Some breeders opt for a shorter tail to avoid tax, to strengthen the dog’s back, or to prevent them from being bitten during fights. It is no secret that many Bulldogs suffer from aggression.
Not all Frenchies are born with the same length of tail. The majority of them have super short tails while some could have tails an inch long. As pups, their tail could appear curvy but it eventually becomes straight as the Frenchie grows older. In the normal standing position, the tail is supposed to be pointing down.
Some French Bulldogs have a tail pocket while others don’t. This indentation is not easy to see but it can be located beneath or on top of their tail. If you haven’t seen one, just imagine what their facial wrinkles look like if it’s in the rump. In most Frenchies, it only appears when the pups reached six months of age.
A Frenchie’s tail pocket is one of the sensitive areas in its body. It requires thorough but gentle cleaning otherwise, it can get infected. If your Frenchie is below six months of age and does not have a tail pocket yet, consider looking for it again after a few weeks.
When you see a tail that looks like it was clipped, it’s possible the Frenchie was already groomed. It’s for hygienic purposes and many dogs in competitions have their tails groomed. Many pet parents do this because this way, the tails are easier to clean.
Health Issues Linked to Frenchie’s Tails
- Hemi-vertebrae – it is a hereditary condition caused by deformities of the spine bones. It occurs in French bulldogs with screw-tails or those that are coiled to one side. It results in difficulty walking and incontinence. It is diagnosed through x-rays of the spine. In serious cases, the only effective treatment for this is surgery but medication is usually enough in mild cases. French Bulldogs with such condition should no longer be bred to avoid passing it to the offspring.
- Sunburn – white-tailed dogs often suffer from sunburn. It can be avoided by not going outside during peak hours, which is from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm. Because French Bulldogs are quite active, they may love outdoor walks but do this when it’s not too hot outside.
- Skin infection – in some dogs, the infection occurs on the tail and it can be very irritating. The usual treatment for skin infections is oral antibiotics. A vet may also prescribe topical treatments to fasten the treatment.
- Eczema – dogs with very short tails could develop eczema under the tail. This kind of canine dermatitis often occurs in bulldogs and breeds with wrinkly coats. It can be itchy and painful. Your vet will prescribe a medicated shampoo containing essential oils and natural ingredients to reduce the itching brought by eczema.
How to Keep the Tail Clean
There’s a myth that short-tailed dogs are easier to clean than long-tailed dogs. Frenchies are actually more difficult to clean due to their short tails almost covering their anus. The area requires special attention to prevent infection, because if not cleaned properly, it can leave the dog in discomfort.
Many Frenchie owners actually groom their pet’s tail because if it’s long enough and covering the butthole, it could easily have poop on it. Just imagine how gross it can be if the tail is not cleaned well. It can leave a nasty odor. Besides, this can also attract grime and sweat. If unclean, it makes your Frenchie more prone to irritation and inflammation.
Remove all the dirt until the entire area is clean. Just be extra cautious when cleaning your dog’s tail pocket, because this part is quite sensitive. Mild baby wipes can be used for cleaning this area and a clean cloth to dry.
It will also help to use an all-natural balm when cleaning your pet’s tail pocket. There are organic balms specially formulated to treat skin fold diseases in dogs that can be used on the tail pocket. Just make sure the area is completely clean and dry before applying the balm.
A French Bulldog’s tail must be short but long enough to cover its anus. A tail that is too long or too short is considered a fault based on breed standards. Moreover, a tailless French Bulldog should no longer be bred.