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Tail docking


 When visiting your vet for docking purposes the picture shows the correct length to be cut. Leave on over half but under two thirds.


This slightly short tail of tail dock (compared to a Springer spaniel) allows more rapid tail movement giving the cocker its "merry image".


The docking procedure is relatively painless when done at three days old, because the tail

has not hardened into proper bone, and the pups are back with there mother, suckling

contentedly, with minutes.



You have been given a certificate proving that the puppy you have purchased was docked legally. You need to keep this certificate safe, as you may be called upon by the authorities to prove that the puppy was docked legally, at any time in the future. If you need to transfer ownership to another person at any time, please ensure that the certificate accompanies the sale.


At the time of docking, the breeder believed that some, or all of the litter would be used or sold, with the intention of being worked in accordance with the regulations connected to the Animal Welfare Act



The law appreciates that not every puppy docked will grow up with the necessary attributes and may never eventually work. It therefore follows that if you do not work your puppy, neither you as the owner, nor the breeder, will be liable for prosecution, provided you can produce the certificate. Please bear in mind that your puppy is not sold as a “show” dog and the regulations covering this aspect, are shown below.


An overview of the regulations

 The docking of dogs' tails will be banned in England from 6 April 2007 and in Wales from 28 March

2007 but with exemptions from the ban for certain working dogs, and for medical treatment. A total ban in Scotland will take effect 30 April


There will also be a ban on the showing of docked dogs (all dogs docked after the commencement date of 6 April/28 March) at events to which members of the public are admitted on payment of a fee. However, this ban does not apply to dogs shown for the purpose of demonstrating their working ability.


The exemption for working dogs allows a dog that is likely to perform certain specified types of work to have its tail docked by a veterinary surgeon. The dog will have to be less than 5 days old and the veterinary surgeon will have to certify that he or she has seen specified evidence that the dog is likely to work in specified areas. Puppies being docked must be micro-chipped, either at the time of docking or when the vet considers they are old enough. ( i.e. Some vets will dock the tails, but do not agree with micro-chipping a pup at the age of  8 weeks). If this is the case once you and the vet considers

the pup is old enough to be micro-chipped he or whichever vet who micro-chips the dog, must sign the legalized docking certificate for proof of microchip.The types of dog that will be allowed to be docked and the types of evidence needed, is detailed below.


Puppies from certain working dogs may be docked if evidence is provided to the vet that it is likely to be worked in connection with law enforcement, activities of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, emergency rescue, lawful pest control, or the lawful shooting of animals. It is accepted that in a litter, not all puppies docked will be found suitable for work.


The owner of the dog, or person representing the owner must make a signed statement that, the dam of the puppies to be docked is of a type which can be certified as set out below, the date on which the puppies were born and that it is intended that they will be used, or sold, for one of the working purposes set out in the regulations.


The vet must sign a declaration that the requirements of the regulations have been satisfied i.e. that he has been given the necessary declaration by the owner or person representing the owner and has seen the evidence required.


The vet must have a completed statement, signed and dated by the owner of the dog (or by another person whom the veterinary surgeon to whom it is presented reasonably believes to be representing the owner), made in the form set out in the regulations. The vet must see the dam of the dog and a further piece of evidence such as:


a current shotgun or firearm certificate issued to the owner of the dog, or to the agent or employee of the owner most likely to be using the dog for work in connection with the lawful shooting of animals

OR a letter from a gamekeeper, a land occupier (or his agent), a person with shooting rights, a shoot organiser, a club official, a person representing the National Working Terrier Federation, or a person engaged in lawful pest control, stating that the breeder of the dog whose tail is to be docked is known to him and that dogs bred by that breeder have been used (as the case may be) on his land, or in his shoot, or for pest control.


Although the procedure is the same, the list of dogs which can be docked are different between

England and Wales. There is a total ban on docking in Scotland. In England the following can be docked:

1. Hunt point retrieve breeds of any type or combination of types.

2. Spaniels of any type or combination of types.

3. Terriers of any type or combination of types. In Wales the following can be docked:

Spaniels of the following breeds:

English Springer Spaniel, Welsh Springer

Spaniel and Cocker Spaniel, but not combinations of breeds


Terriers of the following breeds:

Jack Russell Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Lakeland Terrier, Norfolk Terrier, but not combinations of breeds.

Hunt point retrievers of the following breeds:

Braque Italian, Brittany, German Long Haired Pointer, German Short Haired Pointer, German Wire Haired Pointer, Hungarian Vizsla, Hungarian Wire Haired Vizsla, Italian Spinone, Spanish Water Dog, Weimaraner, Korthals Griffon, Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer, Large Munsterlander, Small Munsterlander. Showing of Docked Dogs

A dog docked before the 28 March 2007 in Wales and 6 April 2007 in England may continue to be shown at all shows in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland throughout its natural life.


A dog docked on, or after, the above dates, irrespective of where it was docked, may not be shown at shows in England and Wales where the public is charged a fee for admission.


However, where a working dog has been docked in England and Wales under the respective regulations set out above, it may be shown where the public are charged a fee, so long as it is shown “only to


demonstrate its working ability”. It will thus be necessary to show working dogs in such a way as ONLY

to demonstrate their working ability and not conformity to a standard.


A dog legally docked in England, Wales, Northern Ireland or abroad may be shown at any show in

Scotland or Northern Ireland.

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