The tale of a dog’s tail

Dogs are one of the animals in the animal kingdom that have tails. The tail can be short stumps, well feathered, long or short – all the same, this extension of the spine has many purposes for a dog. Dog tails, no doubt makes a dog more beautiful. Japanese Spitz and American Eskimo Dogs are two breeds most admired for their beautiful tails. A beautiful tail certainly enhances the appearance of the dog but the tail is used by the dog in many other ways as well.

A dog’s tail has one very important role – as a balancing tool. Hunting dogs are acclaimed for their speed. 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 rudder that makes swimming easier.

Dogs can’t talk but their tails can speak volumes. Dogs have an efficient tool in communicating with humans and other animals – the tail. A person doesn’t have to be a dog expert to be able to understand that a wagging tail means a friendly dog. Bared teeth and a stiff tail held high is as good as a written sign that the dog must be approached with caution.

Simply by the way the tail is held, a dog can communicate with other dogs. Furthermore, the tail serves as a unique ID system for dogs. By raising the tail, the anal gland is stimulated to secrete. Dogs use this unique scent to identify each other. Dogs are pack animals and the tail is an efficient tool in recognizing the rank of the dog. The leader of the pack is one whose tail is held high and stiffly wagged. Dogs lower in rank can be easily distinguished as the tails that are held much lower are wagged slowly as well.

A dog’s tail is used for comfort too. Another purpose of the tail is to drive insects that pester the dog. A tail is the dog’s very own muffler that is used as protection against extremely cold temperature. Northern dogs that sleep outdoors uses the tail to protect the face, especially the nose from cold.


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