Natural Ears and Tails

Natural ears and tails !!! crop or dock? What should we do?

March 25, 2011 – As a breeder of 23 [now 30] years, I have to admit I've always cropped and docked all of my dogs. It is the preferred look of our breed, and as with everything we tend not to want to go out of the box or change things if we do not have to. A few years ago I attended the World Dog Show (WDS) in Bratislava with friends and other breeders. I even had my dog Frankie entered. It was my first adventure to see what difference there was in seeing all the breeds with natural ears and tails. Some looked pretty strange to my eye, as only a few brave SS breeders in the states had tried showing this way. Many dogs have finished with their ears and tails, but so many owners and breeders have been frustrated when penalized and even excused from the ring for having a dog with a natural tail. It has taken years to finish some nice dogs just because of their tails.

Our SS Breed Standard is worded in such a way that it makes judges interpret it that we have to have our tails docked to no less than 1" and no more than 2", and it is to be a fault, not a reason to disqualify or excuse a dog with a natural tail.

I think it is time for the SSCA to rethink this wording and make a change in our standard. As far as I know, the AKC standard is the only one in the world that does not accept undocked tails. We are now even being banned from showing at the World Dog Show, as it is stated that no docked or cropped dogs can compete. How can it be a WDS if the USA cannot attend?

Importing dogs into our country can only help widen our gene pools. That is the future of our breed. I have several European breeders that would be willing to send dogs over to the US to be shown and bred to, but they understand it is a long haul getting a championship on their dog. This has nothing to do with the structure of the dog. My bitch that was excused is one of the nicest dogs I own, so do I just keep her at home and breed her? Or fight the system to try and show her? Money and time is always a concern. If I wait to finish her here, will she be too old to show?

The German Pincher club standard reads, "Tail typically docked," and other standards read, "Docked tail preferred". In my opinion, this is how ours should read.

I hope as breeders and schnauzer lovers you can see that this needs to be changed. We should have the right to decide if we want to show with natural ears and tails, or have them cropped. I do not think cropping a dog at an older age is right. My bitch is 2 years old and the tail is part of her character.

Please write to the AKC delegate and the president of the SSCA and support changing the words concerning the tails.


Update on Natural Tails

March 25, 2011 – In the January 2011 SSCA newsletter we have news about the natural tails. As it takes some doing to get our standard changed, the SSCA has appointed several well-qualified breeders to re-word the standard to include natural tails. It would read: Tail set moderately high. Tail is traditionally docked to not less than one inch or more than two inches in length and carried erect. When the tail is not docked, a saber or sickle carriage is preferred. Fault: Squirrel tail.

As now planned, a mailed ballot will be sent out to the membership in the spring of 2011 to approve the change in the breed standard. 35% of the members in good standing must vote by mail, and of those voting, 2/3rds must approve the change. Should the revision receive approval, AKC rules dictate that the SSCA will not be allowed to change the Breed Standard again for five years.

Surely there are arguments on both sides of this issue. Through discussion, we believe members will come to a conclusion that will represent the majority thinking of the club. The important thing is for each member and everyone of you to become informed on the issue and to vote. — Taken from SSCA news letter

Again, my point is that we should have the right to choose to let our dogs be natural or have them cosmetically altered. Please vote for this amendment, as more and more of us are importing dogs from other countries to widen our gene pool. It may not be what you prefer, but in the future you may be glad you did.

(signed) LeAnn


Second Update

May 28, 2012 – Vote for the change of our AKC standard has been put on hold until after the national specialty show over the fourth of July. Our national will be held at the Big E in West Springfield Mass. Hope to see you there!


Third Update

(Undated) – A vote was sent out to all the members in the SSCA and it came back that most members would not like to see our dogs with tails. What a shame we cannot show our dogs natural here in the USA where we are to have freedom. Maybe next time…