YORKSHIRE TERRIERS A TALE ABOUT TAILS by KATHLEEN KOLBERT Turyanne, AKC Reg
F or quite some time now there has been much discus- sion about tail docking in the Yorkshire Terrier. Many people oppose this practice for any and all breeds regardless of the effect that such a ban would have. In my humble opinion outlawing docked tails would be disastrous for the Yorkie. There are several things to be considered when discussing this mat- ter. First, there is the description of the Yorkie’s tail as it presently stands. According to our Standard: “Tails are docked to medium length and carried slightly higher than the level of the back.” In actuality many Yor- kies carry their tails in an upright posi- tion when gaiting and this is allowed. The Standard also states that squir- rel, gay and low set tails are all faults. The Illustrated discussion also states that: “The length of the tail will vary since breeders usually have the tails docked three to five days after birth. The tail is docked at the point where the tan vent on the underside and the black (which extends to the end) meet. A Yorkie with too short or too long a tail dock should not be penalized on that basis alone as it is a man-made fault.”
All this being said, it now becomes obvious that there are two factors in this discussion about tails. One is their length; the other is about set and car- riage. Those of you who attended the Yorkshire Terrier Specialty in New York in February of this year know that I put up several exhibits with long tails. For me, the deciding factor was obviously the overall quality of the specimen cou- pled with the fact that the tail, whatever the length, was carried as specified in our standard... “slightly higher than the level of the back” or “in an upright posi- tion when gaiting.” However, a tail that has never been docked in my opinion cannot be car- ried in the manner described in our standard. The undocked tail has four variants both of which are faults in our standard; to wit...gay and squirrel tails. The other possibility is a pseu- do Maltese tail-this lays on the back so that when the dog is moving it looks like it has three ears! Yet another is a tail carried straight out from the spine in the manner of a Setter. In my opinion acceptance of these tail carriag- es drastically alters the appearance of the Yorkie and not for the better. That alert and happy Terrier tail is one of the hallmarks of our breed.
Lastly, if breeders want to allow for a longer tail I feel that our standard must specify that the carriage of said tail must be the same as that of Yorkies with shorter tails. Not only that, if anything about the present description of the breed’s tail, (set, carriage and length), as referenced in our standard is to be changed this cannot be done haphazardly. This must involve an actual change in our breed standard. This, in turn, is only accomplished by much discus- sion; careful thought and active involve- ment of all of us who breed, exhibit and love the Yorkshire Terrier all over the world. It is up to us to foster our breed. We need to work with AKC and FCI to pro- tect the standards of all breeds and the future of dog shows and our commu- nity of breeders.
“ACCEPTANCE OF THESE TAIL CARRIAGES DRASTICALLY ALTERS THE APPEARANCE OF THE YORKIE AND NOT FOR THE BETTER. THAT ALERT AND HAPPY TERRIER TAIL IS ONE OF THE HALLMARKS OF OUR BREED.”
T op N otch T oys , J anuary 2017 • 79
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