Dobermann’s natural tail is fairly long, but individual dogs often have a short tail as a result of docking, a procedure in which the majority of the tail is surgically removed shortly after birth.
The practice of docking has been around for centuries and is older than the Dobermann as a breed. The historical reason for docking is to ensure that the tail does not get in the way of the dog’s work.
Docking has always been controversial, however. Docking and cropping (see below) have been written out of the Breed Standard by FCI and IDC, and dogs born after 2016 will not be allowed to participate in FCI or IDC shows without a full tail and natural ears.
This is mirrored in most EU and Commonwealth countries. In the UK, dogs with docked tails have been banned from the show for a number of years and the practice is now illegal for native-born dogs.
Veterinary Certificates are required as proof to avoid prosecution on imported animals. It has also been made illegal in many other European countries, as well as Australia.
The American Kennel Club standard for Doberman Pinschers includes a tail docked near the 2nd vertebra. Docking is a common practice in the United States, Russia, and Japan (as well as a number of other countries with Dobermann populations), where it remains legal.