Recognized for his jutting jaw and perpetual frown, the short stocky bulldog can appear tailless to the casual observer. This is not a docked breed, however, and the little nubbin of a tail you see today was what the bulldog was born with.
At birth, the bulldog puppy’s tail is already starting to resemble what it will look like when he is an adult. Puppies from the same litter can have different shaped tails. The American Kennel Club favors the straight tail and the corkscrew-shaped tail. The straight tail is soft at birth -- broad at the base and gently tapering downward to a short triangular tip.
Corkscrew tails are as common as straight tails and just as acceptable to the AKC as long as they wrap downward from the base of the tail and do not extend upward. At birth, the corkscrew tail already has a wrapped appearance, but is still flexible. As the bulldog grows, his tail will stiffen in that position, looking very much like a cinnamon roll stuck on his rear end.
Long or Wavy Tails
The AKC finds fault with the occasional longer, curvy or wavy tail on the bulldog, but don’t let looks fool you. Tail shape doesn’t affect the puppy’s personality and you can find a wonderful friend for life, if you choose to adopt a bulldog with a non-standard tail.
Tail Care Tips
A corkscrew tail that nests against the bulldog’s rear end can create a health problem. The dimpled area under the tail should be kept meticulously clean to remove debris and gunk, which can lead to irritation and infection. Unscented baby wipes are great for daily wiping around and under the tail. After wiping, dry the area with a soft absorbent cloth. Frequent rear end rinsing with warm water helps keep the area clean as well. If you notice a foul smell, or if your bulldog’s tail area seems overly sensitive, he might have a tail infection, which requires a prompt visit to your vet.
If a bulldog’s tail interferes with his ability to use the bathroom or it causes repeated infections, a vet might recommend having the tail surgically removed. This issue occurs most frequently in corkscrew tails that sit so tightly against the bulldog’s rear end that they have an ingrown appearance. This is the only time it’s acceptable to remove a bulldog’s tail.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Glenda Taylor is a contractor and a full-time writer specializing in construction writing. She also enjoys writing business and finance, food and drink and pet-related articles. Her education includes marketing and a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.