Dogs are one of the animals in the animal kingdom that have tails. Bushy, long, thin or short stubs – these types of tails are delicate extensions of the spine that is used by the dog in a lot of ways. Dog tails, no doubt makes a dog more beautiful. A long, curved and well feathered tail is certainly the pride of a Japanese Spitz and an American Eskimo Dog. However, enhancing the appearance is not the only purpose of a dog’s tail.
A dog’s tail has one very important role – as a balancing tool. Hunting breeds of dogs are very fast runners. Hunting dogs have to be fast and lithe to capture the prey. Tightrope walkers use balancing bars, dogs use their tails when trailing their prey on narrow ledges. Without the tail serving as a counter balance, a dog running at great speed that has to make an abrupt turn will surely topple over. Water retrievers make use of the tail as a swimming aid.
Dogs don’t have the ability to talk but their tails can do the talking efficiently. The tail is used by the dog to communicate not only with dogs but with humans as well. A person doesn’t have to be a dog expert to be able to understand that a wagging tail means a friendly dog. A tense dog with bared teeth and stiff tail held aloft is aggressive.
Dogs understand each other simply by the way the tail is held. Additionally, the tail is the dogs’ one of a kind ID system. Anal gland secretion is stimulated when the dog raises its tail. Dogs use this unique scent to identify each other. In a pack, the tail is a tool that shows the rank of the dog. The leader of the pack is one whose tail is held high and stiffly wagged. A tail held lower and wagged slowly signifies that the dog is lower in rank.
The tail is used for comfort as well. Similar to a cow’s tail, a dog’s tail is used as a swatter that will drive pesky flies and other insects away. A tail is the dog’s very own muffler that is used as protection against extremely cold temperature. A bushy tail that is draped on the face allows Northern dogs to sleep comfortably in the snow.