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Tails and Ears Please!

May 12, 2011
Mini Schnauzer with no ears and tail

Chopped ears and tail

Many people think schnauzers are scary, but when they see ours they go goo-goo-ga-ga. We don’t have his ears and tail removed like the majority of schnauzers in North America. He has natural pendent ears and a long-haired curly tail, and Americans don’t recognize the breed as a result. When told, they say, “Oh! Of course! How cute that tail is! Why would they cut that off? It is so happy.”  Fig wags the entire time that people talk in his direction.

Americans think cutting off ears and tails is normal, but if we are keeping up with the Jones’ we’d quit. this practice is outlawed in most of Europe.

In Germany, where the schnauzer originates, they no longer allow schnauzers with missing appendages to compete in dog shows or be sold by breeders. Docked schnauzers are banned from shows, even when the dog is foreign. In spite of this, North American breeders still customarily removes tails and ears, and you still must secure a breeder contract before your pup is born to get a miniature schnauzer with its tails and ears.

I love our pup’s tail. It instantly tells us from a distance when he is happy, nervous, fearful, or playful. It’s his flag.

Scientific research (Ref 1Ref 2) confirms docked tails contribute to dog miscommunication. Dogs approaching a  happily wagging dog are relaxed. When approaching a dog with only a stub, the approaching dog was hesitant, defensive, and aggressive. There are proportionally more fights involving dogs with docked tails in America, than those with undocked tails. Perhaps docked pits and boxers fight and attack more frequently because they have trouble communicating with other dogs and are on guard more frequently.

Our pup’s ears are naturally floppy. He cocks his head back and forth when he listens. His floppy ears keep bathwater and bugs out. I wonder if flapping ears also buffer loud urban noises that hurt my own ears because he hardly flinches when my ears bleed. I didn’t find a study on the response to ear clipping, but Alaskan dogs are more often attacked because they have high ears that are close together and floppy eared dogs have ears that are far apart.

Below are a few black mini schnauzers with ears, tail, and varied hair cuts:

Jolly, Danish Champion


Fuzzy Little American from Fotorunn

Related story: 10-reasons-to-fight-for-tails


From → Firsts, Health

  1. gail permalink

    We had a salt & pepper miniature w/ cropped tail & natural ears for 15 yrs. Our new puppy is all black; natural tail & ears. The breeder mentioned that the puppies cry for quite awhile after having their tails docked & I felt “why”? would I knowingly put my dog thru this so hence … his natural tail. I agree, the tail has SO much personality. Wish I could send a picture; our dog’s tail is even longer than the ones shown here. We don’t clip the fur close but rather it’s quite feathery.

  2. We are new MSCA owners of a beautiful black female Abby G. Her tail is full and has beautiful ears. We had pups and we are refusing to crop and chop, they are cute and lovable just like God made them. Norm and Grace

  3. Priscilla permalink

    We also have a black Mini-Schnau…no cropping or chopping….and he is the cutest thing ever.

    • Paul Brigido permalink

      Hello, I’m thrilled to hear so many schnauzer-lovers are getting dogs with natural ears and tails but I cannot seem to locate breeders to contact. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!
      -Paul B.

      • Any breeder should do it, if you ask BEFORE born. I know there are a few breeders in Oregon who wait to dock so you can get with tails. There is a local show group that would have contacts but I don’t have them. A few people in this show group are working to get undocked schnauzers as an accepted standard nationally. If you are in CA, I can recommend “Big Dog Rescue” if you just want a family pet. They typically get a few month old undocked black schnauzers, that are dumped by a breeder at a kill shelter, a few times a year.

      • Anonymous permalink

        Thanks, Heather. Good idea. Though I did contact a breeder last year and received a very curt answer. I felt like, ‘how dare you even think to ask such a request’. I will continue to ask.

      • Just start calling it European style – with ears and tails. I live in a metro area and aside from schnauzer owners, only Europeans jump to say “schnauzer!” because their childhood pup had it’s appendages. It’s illegal to cut them in most places and you can’t even show a tail-less, ear-less schnauzer in Germany…where they originated. It’s pretty much the Americas that are behind the times these days.

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