Why Do Some American Bullies Have Short Tails?

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Personally, I am a bully owner. I have a standard American Bully with a medium to long tail. One day, while at the dog park, I noticed another American Bully with a remarkably short tail, which caught my attention. So, I started researching to know more about it.

So, why do some American Bullies have short tails?

After researching, I found that some American Bullies can have small tails due to various reasons such as docking (cutting off the tail), genetics, or congenital defects.

In this article, we’ll discuss these reasons in more detail. We’ll also explore the ideal length for an American Bully’s tail and provide guidance on breeding to achieve the proper tail length according to breed standards

So, keep reading to know everything about the bully tail!

What Is the Ideal Tail Length and Appearance of American Bullies According To Breed Standards?

american bully side view

The American Bully breed has a specific rule about how their tails should be. According to ABKC, The ideal tail is supposed to be straight, without any twists or kinks, and it should reach down to the hock joint when the dog is relaxed. This tail isn’t just for looks—it needs to be structurally strong and balanced with the rest of the dog’s body.

When you’re checking out an American Bully, you want the tail to be a natural extension of their back, not too high or too low, but in line with their spine.

If the tail has any weird twists or curls, it’s considered a flaw and takes away from the breed’s strong appearance.

Additionally, the tail shouldn’t be too long or too short—it should reach the hock joint but not get in the way of how the dog naturally carries it.

It is important to know that your American bully should have a tail length according to breed standards if you want to take them for competition.

But, if you just want to own an American bully as a pet dog and you don’t bother about the tail size then you can simply own an American bully without worrying about the tail.

Reasons Why some American bullies Have Short Tails

You may observe that some American bullies exhibit shorter tails due to various factors.

Docking Tradition

In the dog breeding world, some American Bullies have short tails because of a practice called tail docking.

This is a surgery done when dogs are very young, mainly for health reasons, looks, or to meet breed standards.

Tail docking has been a long-standing tradition in dog breeds, where a part of the tail is removed shortly after birth.

Supporters say it helps prevent injuries in working dogs and keeps certain breeds looking unique. In the past, it was believed that tail docking prevents rabies as well as increases stamina and many other things which is not at all true.

However, Today many argue that it’s more about appearance and carries some risks with minimal health benefits.

In recent times, changes in laws and public opinions have led to a decrease in tail docking, with a focus on animal welfare and appreciating natural traits.


Some American Bullies have short tails not just because people cut them(docking), but because of their genes. Certain bloodlines naturally have this trait due to a gene mutation.

This gene, called brachyury or ‘bobtail,’ is inherited, meaning it can be passed down from parent to puppy. Scientists found this mutation in the T-box gene, which is essential for making the backbone and tail when the dog is still developing inside its mom.

It’s important to know that not every short tail is because someone cut it. If you’re picking a puppy, check out the parents’ tails to get an idea if the puppy might naturally have a short tail. Genetic testing can also confirm if the puppy has this gene mutation.

Congenital Defects

Some American Bullies have short tails not just because of their genes but because of problems during development.

These issues happen when the tail doesn’t form correctly while the dog is still growing inside its mom. Things like exposure to certain drugs before birth, not enough good food for the mom, or unusual genetic changes can cause these problems.

It’s important to know that these defects can bring health troubles for your American Bully. Short tails from these issues might come with problems in the spine or nerves, which could affect how well your dog can move and live comfortably.

Being a good pet owner means keeping an eye out for any signs that your dog might be in pain or having trouble moving and getting them to the vet if needed.

Selective Breeding:

Some breeders intentionally choose American Bullies with short tails and breed them to get puppies with small tails. (although it is considered a flaw).

This practice, driven by a desire to enhance the breed’s visual appeal, has led to a widespread preference for shorter tails among dog enthusiasts.

Fans of the breed argue that a shorter tail emphasizes the American Bully’s muscular physique and compact, powerful appearance, contributing to the breed’s distinctive look.

Things To Consider When Breeding American Bullies for Long Tail According to Breed Standard

happy american bully puppy

When you want American Bullies with tails of the correct length, follow the breed rules that say the tail should be medium length, reaching the hock. It should be slim, without kinks, or deformities, and not too thick or thin at the base.

To get this, choose parent dogs with genes that show they’ll have the right tail length. Check both their physical traits and genetic potential for tail length. Look closely at their family tree and genetic history.

Watch out for any signs of tail docking in their family history, as this can hide the true genetic expression of tail length. Keep good records to be clear about following the rules.

Avoid inbreeding to prevent amplifying unwanted traits, including those affecting tail length. Having a diverse set of genes in the breed helps keep the puppies healthy and makes sure their tails meet the breed’s standards.


What Type of Tails are considered as a fault in an American Bully?

Docked tail, corkscrew tail, Gay tail, Kinked, challenged and natural bob are tail types which are considered as a fault in American bully according to breed standards.

Is Tail Docking Legal in the USA?

Yes, tail docking is legal in the USA, but it should be done by a vet. In several other countries, tail docking is banned as many consider it a cruel and inhumane practice.

Final Thoughts

Finally, we have reached the end of this article, and we hope that you all have obtained a very clear answer to your query. It can be concluded that the tail can become short either due to human practices (docking) or as a result of health-related issues.

Whether the tail is short or long, it should not hinder your love and care for your furry friend. Always keep an eye out for any health-related issues and consult your vet to ensure a happy and healthy life for your pet.

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