To leave a tail on just one puppy in a litter.
So I decided instead of having to type out a novel each time I was asked, I would provide
my opinion and point of view here for everyone to read over to make their own decision.
Do breeders ever leave tails on just one puppy? Yes some of them do.
Would I ever leave a tail on for a family? If the situation was amicable and everything agreed
upon and understood, and the buyer was comfortable with the risks involved in the selection
process. Then yes I would at least entertain the idea, however most people will agree that the
risks are not worth it and will in the end opt to take a docked tail or find a different breeder who
is just out for money. Yes I said it, the only reason a breeder will actually leave a tail on one or a
couple of puppies in a litter is money and not for the welfare of the puppies or the best interest
of the buyer.
To know the risks and the agreement please read this entire page.
To start off I should explain that as a breeder, I breed almost every litter with the hope of keeping
a puppy back for my own breeding program. When puppies are born there are occasions when
I know 100% I will not keep certain puppies. If they are mis marked with the wrong colour or
colour pattern then I know they must be sold as a pet and I "could" leave a tail on one of those.
If I know 100% I am not going to keep a certain gender or colour or combination based on what
I have to breed to it in the future, then I "could" leave a tail on one of those.
If however I know I want a " black tri female" from this cross, and I have 2-3 in the litter, then it is
in my best interest to not leave a tail on something I am hoping to keep. If it is a litter that I hope
to keep a couple of puppies from, with co-owners lined up, or other breeders and show homes
who have shown interest, then it is not in my best interest to keep tails on any puppies from that
litter. So choosing which litter and which puppies I "could" possibly leave a tail on, is a very
The next problem is that this breed is often born with NATURAL BOB TAILS.
This means that for every 4 puppies born, at least one has a natural bob tail that I may not have
to dock. Some of my blood lines do not carry this gene and I know I will get full tails on every
puppy born, but other lines ( anything going back to Token) do carry the bob tail gene so a lot
of their puppies "could" be born with natural bob tails. If you are looking for a long tail, then in
many situations I couldn't help you because puppies were not born with long full tails to begin
with. If you are simply looking for a natural tail of any length that was not docked, then that is a
bit easier, but it very well may look just like a bob tail because thats the length it was born with.
It may also be half length, twisted and kinked, natural bob tails are not always the most attractive
tails in the world. Knowing exactly what you want makes it easier to know if I could possibly
even offer it to you.
Next comes the big problems your going to face. HEALTH. At the tender age of less than 3 days
old, you do not know if that puppy is healthy. It may have a congenital defect and it may not live
to 8 weeks old. Then you have put money on a puppy with a specific trait that you can not get
in anything else in the litter because by then all the tails would have been removed. So it is a
shot in the dark to choose a 100% healthy puppy at that age. Breeders loose puppies. It's just
natures way of keeping us humble. While it is not an every litter occurrence, it does happen and
we can never guarantee that every puppy from every litter will make it to 8 weeks. So by choosing
a puppy at under 3 days old, your hoping you've chosen the healthiest puppy with no way to
know for sure except to let them grow up.
Next is cosmetic flaws. If you have it in your mind that you want a puppy with the perfect flat
against the head aussie ears. That isn't something we can guarantee at that age. Some
aussies develop prick ears and we can not see that develop until the puppy is older and
maturing. Some dogs develop over or under bites where their jaws do not line up properly.
Sometimes it's minor and not something you really notice and other times it can be extreme.
At under 3 days old, this is not something that is visible. The puppy has to grow in order for us
to notice if the jaw is not going to line up properly. Again while this isn't a common problem, it
is not something that we can see or guarantee prior to the age we dock tails. These are all flaws
that in a regular docked tailed puppy we may discount the price, but if you are leaving the tail
on, there is no discount for any reason.
Then comes personality. When puppies are born they do not have personality, they have
survival instinct to eat and sleep. You don't know who is the barker, who is the shy puppy, who
is the bully, who is the submissive one, who is the defiant one etc. No two puppies have the
exact same personality and we try and match puppies with homes that they will fit into the best.
So all of the personality you may be hoping for would be a shot in the dark. You could get a
friendly love everyone puppy just as easily as you could get a shy reserved not great with
strangers puppy. That would be out of my control completely.
Health Testing. We test all of our puppies eyes with an ophthalmologist at 7 weeks and some
puppies do fail with minor or major problems which is why we test them. Not a lot fail, but a
few each year do pop up with problems such as iris colobomas which make them sensitive to
bright light, cataracts which could make the puppy go blind at a young age etc. If you knew you
wanted a puppy with 100% clear eyes at 8 weeks old, that would not be something I could
guarantee when you picked out your puppy at a day or so old. Since it would be the only puppy
with a tail, you wouldn't have a back up puppy to fall to like you would if you were picking based
on colour and gender.
We also get a vet check done to listen to hearts and make sure all hearts are functioning properly.
I have only had a few heart murmurs in all my years of breeding, but again it is always a possibility
that I am obligated to let you know about. Minor heart murmurs almost always go away, major
ones can be life threatening and can severely alter the puppies ability to play day to day
without causing undue stress on the heart. At birth murmurs are not evident, this is something the
vet's look for at an older age and is just one reason we go for a vet check. We also check for
loose knees so your puppy will not come up lame and require thousands of dollars in surgery.
For all those reasons it is a bad idea to try and choose a single puppy at less than 3 days old.
Even my buyers who have deposits on the one puppy of their colour/gender selection in a litter
know full well there is a 50/50 chance they don't get that puppy, that they have to wait for a
better match in a different litter.
Leaving a tail on just one puppy is a risk for us as a breeder. I can not keep this puppy to do
anything with. I can not show it in conformation if it is a nice quality dog, I would not breed it
because I could not show it. So if for some reason you choose not to take this puppy, I am stuck
with a puppy that is much harder to sell. Not only is it harder to sell a puppy with a tail, but it is
also harder to sell a puppy that is 8 weeks or older because the majority of my clients enjoy
watching the puppies grow up over several weeks. So if I were to leave a tail on just one puppy,
there would be additional costs and conditions for the risks and work involved.
So the terms of me leaving a tail on....
(you would be required to sign a form agreeing to these terms)
#1. Getting your deposit in as soon as possible will give you a better chance of getting the
colour/gender you are hoping for. I reserve puppies by colour/gender based on the order
deposits come in. So if you are not the first deposit on a litter, you would have to hope that
the people ahead of you didn't want the same colour/gender combination as you did. Most of
my litters have several puppies spoken for before they are born, so if you want a
"blue merle female" with a tail, you may be looking at a few litters into the future before I have
one that I could leave a tail on.
#2, the puppy is chosen by both of us (dependant on other deposits already in and what I hope
to keep). You do not get to tell me what litter you want or what puppy you want. I will tell you what
litters are possibly an option and what puppies within the litter I may consider leaving a tail on
and you can accept that selection or not. But you absolutely do not get to dictate to me much
more than that. You get way less selection than the average buyer and maybe no selection at all.
#3. The puppy is paid for in full by cash/email money transfer or direct deposit before I do tails
which is within 48 hours of the last puppy being born. I do send pictures via email and I do
post pictures on my web site within hours of the puppies being born. So you would get a lot
of opportunity to see what was born before making your selection. We do NOT allow visitors at
that age, so you are picking based on only the pictures I send you. I will not send you pictures
of puppies I refuse to leave undocked. So again you get very limited selection.
#4. The puppy would be priced at a higher price of $2000 for Tri's and $2500 for merles,
for the inconvenience and risk of me being stuck with a puppy with a long tail and would still
be sold on the same non breeding contract as other pet puppies. The extra cost also goes
towards me doing everything in my training ability to mould the puppies personality to what
the family is looking for. Some things are beyond my control but if you wanted a quiet dog
and it was a barker, I would try my best to lessen that behaviour so the puppy would not be
as likely to be rejected by the owner.
#5. No money is refundable for any reason at all. If you choose not to take the puppy in question
for any reason such as the puppy growing up not to be what you are looking for, whether it's a
slightly incompatible personality, a cosmetic flaw like prick ears, or a failed health test that was
not life threatening, you would forfeit 50% of the puppies purchase price as an inconvenience of
me now having to try and sell a puppy with a tail (which I do not get a lot of interest in). The other
50% of the purchase price would be put towards another litter of puppies in the future that might
have what you are looking for. The remaining 50% of the new puppies purchase price would be
due when we choose which puppy to leave a tail on in a future litter. But again, I can not stress
enough that we NEVER refund money for any reason at all, not illness, loss of job, death in the
family, change of mind etc. We NEVER refund money and you sign a legal contract agreeing
to these terms. Once you send money to us, you are committed to the terms in the contract.
So essentially you are risking the loss of $1000-$1250 each time I leave a tail on for you.
#6. As the breeder, if you fill out the questionnaire and tell me you want a quiet calm mellow
couch potato type of puppy and your puppy at 8 weeks old is very obviously the opposite of what
you are looking for (and I would always provide both video proof and in person proof of what
I am witnessing) then I would not place this puppy with you and at that time if the decision is
mine to not place the puppy with you, $300 of the purchase price would be forfeit for the
inconvenience of trying to place a puppy with a tail and the other $1700-$2200 would be put
towards a future litter with the same stipulations as above and the final $300 would be due
when we choose which puppy to leave a tail on in the future. I will not place a puppy that I know
will not be a good fit, my first responsibility is to that puppy to make sure he is in a home who
can meet his needs. If he is a barker, and the most active puppy I've had this year and you are
a calm mellow family, you will not be happy and neither will the puppy. I ALWAYS reserve the
right to decline placing any puppy with any family regardless of the tail issue.
In the end my #1 responsibility is to make sure each puppy goes to the best home suited for
that puppy's needs. My second obligation is to make sure that each family will be happy with
the puppy I place with them and that means not only in physical appearance, but in personality
and health as well. It has to be a complete package for both the puppy and the buyer.
Any breeder who is willing to let you pick the puppy at a day or so old with no regard for matching
you up, in my opinion, is in this for nothing more than the money you hand over.
I am a very different type of breeder and I don't care if you buy my puppy or not, I care
that the puppy ends up in a great home and I am not willing to budge on my ethics and practices
to please anyone but my puppies.
So it is a big risk and I don't sugar coat it at all.
If your comfortable with the risks, your welcome to contact us and discuss your needs and see if
there is a litter coming up that would be a candidate for leaving a tail on a puppy. The sooner
you contact us the better because it will probably be a couple of litters in the future before we are
able to accommodate you. If I have a litter due in a few days, that is not usually a feasible litter
because a lot of those puppies will likely be spoken for. You are likely looking 6 months or
longer, I will not guarantee any time frame, so please do not contact me to leave a tail on if you
are looking at a "summer puppy". There is no way I can meet all the above criteria as well as a
time frame. I am not a miracle worker.
Thanks for thinking about us in your quest to find a new family member, I hope the information
above makes sense. If you have any questions you can call any time or email me. I'm happy
to answer any questions you may have to make sure your comfortable with the decision to
choose us as the breeder for your new puppy.