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Home » Do Poodles Have Curly Tails? When Should You Worry

Do Poodles Have Curly Tails? When Should You Worry

Curly tailed poodle

Do Poodles Have Curly Tails?

Poodle’s tail may vary in a lot of different ways such as color, coat, and length. When a poodle is a puppy it’s hard to notice what kind of tail they have because of its short length, but as your dog grows you will notice if it grows up to be a curled tail, a straight one, or somewhere in between.

Poodles can have curly tails, and it’s normal, a natural and undocked poodle tail is usually full and long and may curl to some extent.

Some poodles may have a curly tail as puppies and as they grow up, their tail becomes straight, while others may have a straight tail as a puppy and it becomes curly as they mature. This variation is perfectly normal and does not affect the health or well-being of the poodle.

Why Do Poodle’s Tails Curl?

Poodle’s tails curl due to a genetic mutation that causes the tail to grow in a spiral shape rather than straight. This mutation is present in the breed’s genome and is passed down through generations of breeding.

Usually, puppies born to parents with a specific type of tail will have it themselves, although that is not always the case.

Some experts believe that the curly tail may have been an adaptation for certain types of work, such as swimming and retrieving from water, but it is not clear if this is the case.

Does a curly tail affect their health?

While a curly tail itself does not generally affect a poodle’s health, there are some potential issues related to their tails that owners should be aware of. For example, poodles with long, curly tails may be more prone to matting and tangling of their fur around the tail, which can lead to skin irritation or even infections if left untreated.

Additionally, poodles can be prone to a condition called “happy tail,” where their tail may repeatedly hit hard objects or surfaces and become injured, which can be especially problematic for poodles with curly tails as their tails may be more easily caught or snagged. However, with proper grooming and attention, most of these issues can be prevented or effectively treated.

Caution: If you notice that your dog’s tail is very curled compared to his size it might be a good idea to check it with your veterinarian.

Can Poodles With Curly Tail take part in a show?

Yes, poodles with curly tails can take part in dog shows. The American Kennel Club (AKC) and other breeding organizations have specific standards for the poodle’s tail, which include that the tail should be long and curly. Poodles with curly tails that meet these standards are eligible to participate in shows.

Poodle dog at a lake

Can a tail be straightened?

Straightening a dog’s tail is not a recommended practice by most experts. Some may try to straighten their dog’s tail due to personal preferences or aesthetic reasons. However, this practice can cause a significant amount of pain and discomfort to the dog. Therefore, it is generally considered unethical and not recommended.

Rather than attempting to alter the natural shape of the tail, it’s recommended to focus on proper grooming and care to maintain the poodle’s tail in good condition. Regular brushing and trimming can help prevent tangles and matting, which can lead to discomfort for the dog. Additionally, proper hygiene practices can help prevent infections and other health issues related to the tail.

It’s important to remember that tails play a crucial role in a dog’s life. They allow them to communicate with other animals, express their emotions, and maintain balance. Altering the tail’s natural shape can negatively impact a dog’s ability to perform these functions, leading to physical and behavioral issues. As such, it’s generally best to leave a poodle’s tail as nature intended and focus on proper care and maintenance to keep it healthy and happy.

Good to know: Tails allow Poodles to express their emotions, communicate with other animals, and help them balance.

Tail injuries

Poodle tail injuries can occur due to a variety of reasons. Poodles have long, curly tails that are susceptible to getting caught in doors, stepped on, or pulled. They can also get injured during playtime, especially when playing with other dogs.

Symptoms of a tail injury in a poodle may include limping, reluctance to move, pain or sensitivity around the tail, and swelling or inflammation. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to take your poodle to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Treatment for a poodle tail injury will depend on the severity of the injury. In some cases, the vet may recommend pain medication, rest, and immobilization of the tail. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the damage.

Preventing tail injuries in poodles involves being cautious and aware of their surroundings. Keep doors closed, be mindful of where your poodle is in relation to other dogs during playtime, and be gentle when handling their tail. Regular grooming and proper care can also help prevent tail injuries by keeping the tail healthy and free of tangles or mats.

Poodle with a curly tail in a dog competition

Poodle Tail Standards In different Dog Organizations

Breed standards for poodle tails detail the length, shape, and whether the tail should be docked or left natural. The American Kennel Club (AKC), the United Kennel Club (UKC), and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) are just a few organizations that have specific guidelines for poodle tails.

Here is a table that outlines the poodle tail breed standards for each organization:

Dog OrganizationTail Standard for Poodles
American Kennel Club (AKC)Docked to a length proportionate to the size of the dog; straight, set high, and carried erect
United Kennel Club (UKC)Docked to a length proportionate to the size of the dog; straight, and set high
Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI)Docked to a length proportionate to the size of the dog; carried erect, not curved over the back, and covered with long hair
Canadian Kennel Club (CKC)Docked to a length proportionate to the size of the dog; straight, set high, and carried erect

Regardless of the organization’s guidelines, it is essential to properly care for your poodle’s tail. Regular grooming, including brushing and trimming, can help keep your poodle’s tail healthy and free of tangles. Additionally, poodles are prone to certain tail-related health issues, such as infections or injuries, so it is important to monitor their tail for any signs of discomfort or abnormalities.

Curly Tail Grooming

Grooming a poodle with a curly tail is an important part of maintaining its health and appearance. Regular grooming can help prevent tangles and mats in their tail, which can be uncomfortable and even painful for the dog. Here are some grooming tips for poodles with curly tails:

  1. Brush regularly: Brushing your poodle’s tail regularly can help prevent tangles and mats. Use a slicker brush or comb to gently remove any knots or mats.
  2. Trim hair around the tail: Trimming the hair around the base of the tail can help keep it clean and prevent mats from forming. Use scissors or clippers to carefully trim the hair.
  3. Clean the tail: Clean your poodle’s tail regularly with a damp cloth or baby wipe. This can help remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated in the tail.
  4. Consider professional grooming: Professional grooming can help keep your poodle’s tail in good condition. A professional groomer can help trim the hair around the tail and prevent tangles and mats.
  5. Use a detangler: If your poodle’s tail is prone to tangles and mats, consider using a detangler spray. This can help make brushing and grooming easier and prevent discomfort for your dog.

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Other Tail Styles

Straight Tails

A straight tail refers to a tail that is not curled or kinked but instead grows straight.

In some dogs, a straight tail is considered to be unusual, as many breeds have tails that are curled or kinked, a straight tail can be the result of a genetic mutation, selective breeding, or can be a result of docking.

A straight tail can also be seen in other dog breeds as well, such as the Boxer, Doberman, and Great Dane, which are also known for their straight tails.

Docked tail poodle

Docked Tails

A docked tail refers to the surgical removal of a portion of a natural tail, typically performed when the dog is a puppy. Docking is a controversial practice, and in some countries, it’s been banned. docking is performed for cosmetic and practical reasons. Some people believe that docking was done to prevent injury or infection and to make the dogs look more aesthetically pleasing.

Docking is generally done by a veterinarian, and it’s done under anesthesia. The puppy’s tail is cut to a specific length. Docking is considered to be a painful and traumatic procedure for the puppy, and it can also have long-term behavioral and physical consequences.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) states that tail docking is not medically necessary and it should only be performed when the puppy’s tail is injured or diseased.


Why does my poodle have a curled tail?

Poodles have curly tails which is a defining characteristic of the breed. The curls in their tails come from their ancestral roots as water retrievers, where a curly tail allowed for easy swimming and a way to keep water from entering their nose while retrieving.

Are poodles supposed to have curly tails?

Yes, poodles are supposed to have curly tails according to the breed standard. In fact, the curly tail is one of the defining characteristics of the poodle breed. The tight, curly tail serves as a distinctive feature of the breed and is highly desired by breeders and enthusiasts alike.

What is the breed standard for a poodle tail?

According to breed standards, poodles should have a straight and sturdy tail, set high, and carried proudly. The tail should be proportional to the rest of the body and should be docked to approximately 50% of its original length. In countries where docking is illegal, the natural tail should be curly, set high, and carried proudly.

What does a curly tail on a dog mean?

A curly tail on a dog can have different meanings depending on the breed. For poodles, a curly tail is a defining characteristic of the breed and has its roots in their history as water retrievers. For other breeds, a curly tail can signify different things such as playfulness, excitement, or even a possible injury or medical condition.

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