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A Dog’s Tail

We can tell a lot from watching a dog’s tail.  Their tail is one of the most expressive parts of their body and is used to communicate different emotions.  Learning these different “tail tells” can help us understand how a dog is feeling, and how we should react in a situation.

What are the different tail meanings? We look at the different positions and movements of the tail to determine each.

  • Tail high, wagging back and forth: Usually means happy and content.
  • Tail between legs: Frightened/nervous of something.
  • Tail rigid and straight: Interested/curious about something.
  • Tail low, wagging back and forth slowly: Worried or insecure.

A dog’s tail is so amazing that we thought we’d share a few fun facts with you!

  • Since the tail is used to communicate, a dog probably doesn’t wag their tale when they are alone.
  • A dog’s tail is used for balance, especially when running/jumping/turning.
  • Purebred dogs have tails that are bred for specific purposes:
    -Dogs who have longer, thinner tails are usually fast runners (ie. Greyhounds).
    -Dogs who have longer, bushier tails are usually bred for swimming (ie. Labradors, Newfoundlands).  Their tails can act like rudders and their tails are “otter” like.
    -Dogs who have long, furry tails can also be bred to help withstand colder weather. Tails can be used as insulation as they use their tails to help keep their faces warm by covering it with their tails (ie. Nordic breeds like Huskies, Samoyeds).
  • Some dogs don’t have tails! They use other means of communication like their ears and of course can wiggle their bums too!
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