Are French Bulldogs Born With Tails?

French Bulldogs, with their unmistakable bat-like ears, are often noted for another distinct feature – their tails. However, the talk of these tails sometimes generates more questions than answers. Is it natural for French Bulldogs to have a tail? If yes, why do some have longer tails than others?

French bulldogs are born with tails but they are not born docked. They are born with smaller, stump-like tails that are either straight or corkscrew in shape and sit low on the body.

Why Does My French Bulldog Have A Tail?

While many people associate French Bulldogs with having short or occasionally, wrinkly tails, there are members of the breed who have longer tails. So, what’s the explanation behind this?

The French Bulldog is believed to have descended from small, toy-sized English Bulldogs that were brought to France by Nottingham lace workers during the industrial revolution. These Bulldogs were often kept as “ratters”, dogs that chased away rats, and their small size and short tails were considered ideal. This is because they were less likely to get caught or injured in the weaving machines.

Over time, these miniature Bulldogs interbred with other breeds, including the terrier and pug, and this melange of canine genetics produced a variety of physical traits, including the longer-tailed versions of the modern French Bulldog we see today.

Types Of Tails In French Bulldogs

A dog’s tail isn’t only for wagging — it aids in balance, portrays their emotions, and acts as a rudder during swimming. However, a breed like the French Bulldog experiences a split between those sporting short, “corkscrew” or “screw” tails and those bearing longer, straighter tails.

Typically, French Bulldogs possessing longer tails face fewer tail-related health complications. Their counterparts with short, twisted tails have them due to a gene mutation referred to as the “vertebral malformation gene,” which affects the spine and tail formation.

This can lead to potentially serious issues like Hemivertebrae, a condition causing the vertebral bodies to become triangular or wedge-shaped, thereby disrupting spinal alignment and potentially giving rise to discomfort or disability.

However, lengthier tails in French Bulldogs also indicate possible risks. The tail can get injured during active play or exercises, and ‘happy tail syndrome,’ a condition where the tail gets injured by vigorous wagging against hard objects, can become a concern.

The breeding practices in French Bulldogs, particularly those influencing tail traits, have stirred controversy. Critics assert that breeding for aesthetic features like a shorter tail can bring about avoidable pain and health issues in these dogs. Supporters, on the other hand, advocate that ethical breeding practices can mitigate such risks while preserving the breed’s distinguished appearance loved by many.

So to recap, it’s the genetics that decides whether a French Bulldog will have a long or short tail. While the breed standard might favor corkscrew tails, French Bulldogs with longer tails continue to contribute to the breed’s genetic diversity, introducing variation and arguably lower health risks in some instances.

Characteristics of French Bulldog Tails

French Bulldogs typically exhibit two tail varieties, namely straight and corkscrew-shaped tails.

Straight Tails

Straight tails, also referred to as baton tails, thicken at the base and diminish in size towards a rounded tip. They generally rest on the backside of the Bulldog, barely extending beyond it. Although less common among French Bulldogs, baton tails aren’t usually linked with any health issues.

Corkscrew Tails

Contrarily, corkscrew or screw tails are more frequently observed in this breed. They feature a twisted structure that resembles a cinnamon roll viewed from above. These tails result from a deformity in the tail’s vertebrae, known as hemivertebrae. Although considered a characteristic trait of the breed, it can also potentially cause spinal health issues if the vertebral malformation extends towards the back of the dog.

Such curled tails occasionally accumulate dirt and moisture in the under-tail area or tail pocket, which could lead to infections. Hence, owners of French Bulldogs must prioritize keeping this area clean to prevent these health issues.

Regardless of the type, a French Bulldog’s tail should never determine the dog’s value or worth. Whether straight or corkscrew, each French Bulldog deserves care, love, and a healthy lifestyle. The significance of a tail lies mainly in its potential health impacts rather than its aesthetic appeal.

French Bulldogs With Long Tails

French Bulldogs, especially those with longer tails, are considered an exception due to the breed’s specific genetics. These dogs charm with their uncommon appearance, but it’s also significant for potential owners to recognize the health challenges these tails might carry.

Unlike other breeds whose tails wag freely, French Bulldogs have a specific type of tail known as a screw tail. This is due to a malformation in one or more vertebrae in the tail. In some unusual circumstances, a French Bulldog can be born with a longer than average tail.

This may be straight or have a slight curve, and while rare, these dogs are completely normal. But the implications of a long tail on the health of a French Bulldog are a matter of considerable debate.

The main concern when it comes to French Bulldogs with longer tails is tail-related injuries. A French Bulldog with a long tail is at a higher risk of injuring its tail, especially if it is an active and playful individual. Tail injuries can be quite painful and can lead to other issues such as infection if not properly addressed.

Another health issue related to tailed French Bulldogs is a condition called “screw tail”. This condition is related to the malformation of the tail’s vertebrae that leads to a tightly curled tail. This condition can cause spinal issues, nerve damage, and paralysis in severe cases.

Caring for a French Bulldog’s Tail

Because of the risks, tailed French Bulldogs require special attention to prevent or mitigate any possible issues. Regularly checking the tail for any signs of injury or infection is crucial. When cleaning the tail, it’s important to ensure it’s thoroughly dry to prevent the accumulation of bacteria and subsequent infections.

For dogs with a tightly curled or screw tail, the tail pocket — the area beneath the tail — requires regular cleaning. This is because it can easily collect dirt and moisture, leading to infections or dermatitis. Tail pocket infections may also result in discomfort, excessive itching, and require veterinary intervention for treatment.

Owners should also pay attention to their French Bulldog’s behavior. Tail injuries can cause significant discomfort and changes in behavior. If the dog appears distressed, refuses to let its tail be touched, or has lost control or feeling in its tail, immediate veterinary attention is necessary.

In the case of severe health conditions, such as persistent infections or spinal issues linked to a screw tail, surgeries might be needed. As such, opting for a competent pet insurance plan should also be considered as part of caring for a French Bulldog with a tail.

Tail Docking in French Bulldogs

The act of tail docking, which involves the purposeful removal of a dog’s tail segment, is notably prevalent among specific breeds like French Bulldogs. This procedure is typically performed when the pup is still very young.

The rationales behind this practice range from enhancing the aesthetic appeal to addressing specific health issues. In the case of French Bulldogs, tail docking is often done to prevent any chances of tail infection owing to the breed’s natural predisposition towards having tightly curled tails close to its body.

However, the ethics of tail docking have been at the receiving end of criticism in recent times, with many individuals opposing this practice due to the problems of avoidable pain and discomfort it might impose on the dog.

Why Some Breeders and Owners Opt for Tail Docking in French Bulldogs

One of the primary reasons that some breeders and owners opt for tail docking in French Bulldogs pertains to the breed’s characteristic tail. The French Bulldog’s tail is naturally short and stumpy, and in some cases, it tightly curls against the body, creating an environment where dirt and bacteria can easily build up, potentially leading to infections.

Breeders and owners who choose to dock tails argue that by docking the tail, it reduces the chances of these unpleasant and potentially harmful health issues.

Other breeders see tail docking as a measure to maintain the breed standard, which defines the preferred tail as “short, set low, thick at the base, tapering quickly towards the tip.” As such, they argue that tail docking helps to keep the breed’s uniform look and aesthetic appeal.

Ethical Concerns Around Tail Docking in French Bulldogs

Conversely, others argue against the procedure, suggesting that it inflicts unnecessary pain on the animal. They contend that tail docking is performed without anesthesia on very young puppies, resulting in acute pain and probable distress.

Some animal rights groups further argue that a dog’s tail is a significant means of communication among canines. By docking their tails, these groups posit that it can potentially hinder a dog’s ability to communicate effectively with other dogs and could also alter their balance.

Legal Aspects and Regulations Regarding Tail Docking

The legality of tail docking varies significantly across different countries. For instance, in countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, and many parts of Europe, tail docking for non-medical reasons is banned, with penalties in place for violations.

On the other hand, in the United States, tail docking is still largely unregulated and is legal, although the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) opposes tail docking when done purely for cosmetic reasons.

However, as attitudes towards animal welfare evolve, there is an increasing movement to limit or ban tail docking for purely aesthetic reasons. Breeders and owners are recommended to stay updated with their local laws and regulations regarding tail docking in dogs.

In short

The decision to dock a French Bulldog’s tail is a complex one. It involves not only the owner’s preferences but also encompasses ethical considerations, potential health implications, and legal restrictions.

While tail docking can arguably help prevent health issues related to the breed’s naturally tightly curled tail, it has also been criticized for possibly causing unnecessary pain and largely being done for cosmetic appeal. As such, current and potential French Bulldog owners should inform themselves thoroughly before deciding on this procedure.


After thoroughly exploring the fascinating aspects of tailed French Bulldogs, it becomes apparent how much a tail can influence a breed’s health, ethical debates, and in fact, its very identity. It’s essential for future owners and breeders to be fully aware of the implications tied to their tail length, just as they would for any other breed-specific condition or characteristic.

Thus, whether crowned with corkscrews, straight, or any other type of tail, these endearing creatures continue to wag their way into the hearts of people around the world.

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