Do Boston Terriers have tails and what to expect

As lovers of Boston Terriers, you may have noticed that they come in lots of different shapes, sizes, and colors. This variety also stretches to the type and appearance of their tails. Now when you get a new Boston Terrier and you look at their tail here is what you can expect.

Boston Terriers are born with a tail. The standard shape and type of tail they will have can be all over the place. The tails range from a little curly thing all the way to a straight stick tail that looks like a wand out of Harry Potter. These tails are not docked they are born that way.

If you would like to read more detail on what kind of tail to expect when you bring home a new Boston Terrier we will go into more details below. If you are trying to figure out if what your Boston Terrier has for a tail is normal we will put your mind at ease, continue reading.

Do Boston Terriers normally have waggly tails

We have learned over the past two years that not only do Boston Terriers come in a range of options when it comes to tails even the different options have options. I know that sounded like I messed that sentence up but it is true. I have seen so many variations of tails on Boston Terriers it is almost the breed standard to be not standardized.

Our first Boston Ruby has what I like to call a pigs tail. It looks like she had a little tail and someone put a curling iron on it to wrap it around her backside. Most times it is so tight to her body you won’t even notice she has a tail. When she gets excited and wiggles it well all you can really see is the tip of her curl shake back and forth.

Ruby the Boston Terrier with a pig tail

The length of the tail is about one inch if it was able to be stretched out straight. When you touch it though you will see that stretching it out straight is not possible. When you look at her from the side it almost looks like she just has a cowlick on the top of her butt and needs to be brushed down.

Of all the tail types this one is the most similar to a Pug. If you would like to read what makes the Pug and the Boston Terrier different please check out our post on the topic, HERE.

Our second Boston Terrier has more of a nub type tail. He looks more like you would see on a dog that people would doc to make look a specific way. It’s about an inch long and when he gets excited or scared you can tell. His little nub will start going crazy when he is excited. When he is scared it will tuck as far down as it will reach.

boston terrier with nub tail

When our second Boston gets excited you will see this nub going wild. It may not be much of a tail but it is very expressive. I think sometimes his little tail gets away from him. It starts going back and forth faster and faster until his entire body is going all over the place and he has to sit down.

jojo tail image

The final and one of my favorite tails is what I like to call the Harry Potter tail. I didn’t even know this was an option on a Boston Terrier until my mother inlaw brought her new little buddy home. This tail is 2 to 3 inches long and isn’t straight. Instead, it has some slight bends in it so it reminds me of a stick.

Understanding the AKC Standard for Boston Terrier Tails

The American Kennel Club (AKC) sets specific standards for Boston Terrier tails that are important for breeders and enthusiasts. According to the AKC, the ideal Boston Terrier tail is short and set low on the rump. The tail should be either straight or screw-shaped and must not exceed two inches in length. This standard ensures that Boston Terriers retain their distinctive physical appearance, which is a crucial aspect of breed identity.

The AKC’s emphasis on tail standards underscores the importance of certain traits that have defined Boston Terriers since their early development. While the tail’s length and shape don’t impact a Boston Terrier’s ability to be a wonderful companion, they play a significant role in the show ring and breed standards. Understanding these standards can help prospective Boston Terrier owners and breeders appreciate the breed’s history and characteristics.

For more detailed information on the AKC standards for Boston Terrier tails, you can visit the AKC’s official Boston Terrier breed standards page.

Exploring the Variety of Tail Types in Boston Terriers

Boston Terriers are known for their unique tails, which come in several shapes and sizes. Understanding these variations can help owners and enthusiasts appreciate the breed’s diversity. Here are the common tail types you’ll find in Boston Terriers:

  1. Bobbed Tails: These are naturally short tails that appear as if they have been docked. However, in Boston Terriers, this is a natural occurrence.
  2. Curled or Corkscrew Tails: Many Boston Terriers have tails that curl up over their backs. This distinct feature adds to their characteristic appearance.
  3. Crooked Tail: Some Boston Terriers have tails with a slight bend or crook, giving each dog a unique look.
  4. Straight Tail: A less common variety, some Boston Terriers have straight tails that extend outwards without curling or bending.
  5. Gay Tail: This term refers to tails that stand up higher than usual, adding a perky aspect to the dog’s posture.

Each tail type adds to the individual charm of a Boston Terrier. While these variations are primarily cosmetic, they are a part of what makes each Boston Terrier unique. Breed enthusiasts treasure these differences as they reflect the rich genetic tapestry of this beloved breed.

For a visual guide to these tail types, consider visiting Boston Terrier Society’s tail guide.

The Rarity of Long Tails in Boston Terriers

While most Boston Terriers are known for their short or uniquely shaped tails, some individuals may possess longer tails. This trait is relatively rare in the breed and often sparks curiosity among Boston Terrier enthusiasts.

Boston Terriers with longer tails can exhibit tails that extend beyond the typical length defined by breed standards. These tails may be straight or slightly curved. It’s important to note that having a long tail does not affect the dog’s health or temperament; it is simply a variation in physical appearance.

Long tails in Boston Terriers can occur due to genetic diversity within the breed. While not common, these longer tails are a reminder of the varied genetic makeup of Boston Terriers. Owners of long-tailed Boston Terriers often find this trait to add a unique charm to their pets.

For more information on Boston Terriers with long tails, you might find this resource helpful.

Do Boston Terriers Have Natural Tails at Birth?

A common question among prospective Boston Terrier owners is whether these dogs are born with tails. The answer is yes, Boston Terriers are born with tails. The length and shape of the tail can vary significantly from one dog to another, as previously discussed. While some may have short, nub-like tails, others might possess longer or curled tails.

This natural variation in tail length and shape is part of the genetic diversity of the breed. It’s essential to understand that the Boston Terrier’s tail is a breed characteristic and not a result of human intervention like tail docking.

Understanding this aspect of Boston Terrier anatomy is important for appreciating the breed’s natural appearance and dispelling any misconceptions about their tails being artificially altered at birth.

For further details on Boston Terrier tails at birth, consider exploring this informative article.

Understanding Tail Traits in Purebred Boston Terriers

A common misconception among some Boston Terrier owners is that the presence of a tail, especially a longer one, might indicate a mixed breed. However, this is not the case. Purebred Boston Terriers can have a range of tail lengths and shapes, including longer tails.

The tail of a Boston Terrier does not determine its purity of breed. Purebred Boston Terriers can have short, long, straight, curled, or even corkscrew tails. These variations are all within the genetic range of the breed and do not detract from their pedigree status.

For owners concerned about the pedigree of their Boston Terriers, the most reliable method to determine purebred status is through official documentation and health screenings, rather than physical traits like tail length.

For more insights into this topic, you may find Boston Terrier Society’s detailed discussion useful.

Exploring the Practice of Tail Docking in Boston Terriers

Tail docking, the practice of removing a portion of a dog’s tail, is a topic of interest for many Boston Terrier owners. It’s important to clarify that Boston Terriers naturally have short tails, and tail docking is not a standard practice for this breed. In fact, the breed’s characteristic short tail is a result of genetics, not docking.

The American Kennel Club’s breed standard for Boston Terriers does not require or endorse tail docking, emphasizing the natural appearance of the tail, whether it’s short, corkscrew, or slightly longer.

Understanding that Boston Terriers are born with their unique tails and that tail docking is not a breed standard can help dispel any misconceptions. For owners considering tail docking for cosmetic or other reasons, it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian and consider the ethical implications and potential health risks of the procedure.

For a deeper dive into this topic, including the ethical considerations around tail docking, visit Boston Terrier Society’s article on the subject.

Although Boston Terriers are generally a robust breed, they can encounter specific health issues related to their tails. Being aware of these potential issues is essential for any Boston Terrier owner:

  1. Tail Infections: Boston Terriers with longer tails or tails that curl tightly may be prone to infections due to trapped moisture and dirt. Regular cleaning and grooming can help prevent these infections.
  2. Dermatitis: This skin condition can affect the tail area, especially if the tail is corkscrew-shaped and has folds. Keeping the area clean and dry is crucial.
  3. Hemivertebrae: This is a congenital condition where the vertebrae are malformed. It can affect Boston Terriers with screw-shaped tails and lead to neurological issues. Regular veterinary check-ups are important to monitor for any signs of this condition.

Understanding these health concerns and taking preventive measures can help ensure the well-being of Boston Terriers. For more information on tail-related health issues in Boston Terriers, visit this resource.

Effective Treatments for Tail Health Issues in Boston Terriers

Addressing tail-related health issues in Boston Terriers is crucial for their comfort and well-being. Here are some treatment strategies:

  1. For Tail Infections: Clean the affected area with a vet-recommended antiseptic and keep it dry. Antibacterial or antifungal medications might be necessary for severe cases.
  2. Managing Dermatitis: Use prescribed medicated shampoos and ointments to soothe the skin. Keeping the tail clean and dry helps prevent flare-ups.
  3. Dealing with Hemivertebrae: This condition may require veterinary intervention, including medications for pain or inflammation, and in severe cases, surgery.

Regular veterinary visits and attentive care can help manage these issues effectively, ensuring your Boston Terrier remains healthy and happy.

Answering Common Queries About Boston Terrier Tails

Boston Terrier owners often have additional questions about their pets’ tails. Here are some answers to common queries:

  • Can Boston Terriers Wag Their Tail? Despite having short tails, Boston Terriers can wag their tails to express emotions, though the movement might be less pronounced compared to longer-tailed breeds.

What dog breeds are born without a tail

For some reason when you search to see which dogs are born without a tail Boston Terriers are usually on the list. As you can see from the breed standard and the images above this statement is not true. Boston Terriers are born with a short tail and do not need it to be docked. This is why they are sometimes added to the list. There are only a few dogs that are really born with no tails.

There are actually five breeds often mentioned as having no tail, when in fact they do have short tails (called a nub or stumpy tail): French Bulldog, Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, and Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog.

Whereas some are born with short stumpy tails, these are the only breeds that can be born without tail: Brittany Spaniel, Braque du Bourbonnais, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Brazilian Terrier, and Croatian Sheepdog


When people think of a Boston Terrier they have a specific image in mind. The image is the tuxedo look of their coat. This is the reason they are called “the American Gentleman“. It is simple to understand why they have that nickname, they look like they are dressed up.

The tail of a Boston Terrier is not always as recognized as its coat. The tails can be very different between everyone you see. We have two Boston Terrier and their tails match about as much as their favorite games. One has a short curly tail and loves to play please chase me.

Our second Boston Terrier and a short nub that is as powerful as his build. Unlike our first Boston, his favorite game is anything to do with a bone. He will run with the bone or steal the bone. He will also go crazy if you hold the bone and act like you are chewing it.

If you have a Boston and thought based on its tail that it wasn’t like other Boston Terriers you have seen, well it doesn’t mean they are not a full blooded Boston.

On the other hand, if you are looking to add a Boston Terrier to your family and have finally decided on the color you want. Next you may want to look at the different types of tails. I can’t see it being a show stopper for the dog you pick but it is still good to know the options.

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