Why Do Dogs Have Tails?

Have you ever wondered why do dogs have tails?

Most of the animals that you see around you have this thing on their back, known as tails. Even humans have been believed to also sport these tails before evolving into the physique that they have today. Dogs also have tails, with some being thin and long, others are very bushy while the rest are short, small nubs.

The dog’s tail is a very delicate part of its body, considering that this is actually the extension of the animal’s spine. A tail has a lot of uses although this is primarily meant for communicating and balancing. Since dogs don’t talk, communication with fellow dogs, humans and other animals is done through body language with the use of the ears, head and the tail.

Why Do Dogs Have Tails

Why Do Dogs Have Tails? Two Primary Purposes:


More often than not, the tail is being used for communication purposes. A dog that wags his tail is perceived as a friendly dog. Meanwhile, a wagging tail is not usually a definite sign that a dog has good temperament. A tail held up straight with just the tip wagging is a sign that you have to approach the dog with caution. It is a sure sign of an aggressive dog.

Dogs also use their tail for communicating with other dogs. Even from a distance, dogs wag their tail as a way of showing the other dogs either their submission or dominance. A tail held high is a sign that the dog is either dominant or confidence. One held too low or placed between the hind legs is a sign that the dog is frightened and submissive.


A dog’s tail is also used for balance. When a dog runs after a prey and has to turn on a curve quickly, his tail is used as a form of counterweight in order to avoid getting toppled over. Dog breeds such as puffin hunters and Lundehund need to run through steep cliffs when hunting birds.

They use their tail to balance every time they walk on narrow ledges similar to how a tightrope walker uses his balance bar. The pointing dogs searching for birds in thick underbrush also use their tail to point to the hunters the location of the bird.

Other Purposes

Retrievers as well as other breeds also engage in lots of swimming with the use of their tail that serves as a rudder for them to easily steer in the water. The northern dogs such as the Siberian Huskies and Samoyeds have long and busy tails. These are the dogs that have to work in very cold places, braving the snow even when they sleep.

As sled dogs, they curl in a ball and make use of their bushy tail for them to stay warm. The tail is also used most of the time for covering the dog’s nose. Tails are also their personal insect and fly swatter. Like cows, dogs also make use of their tails to shoo away flies and other kinds of insects.

The video below tells you 10 things about dog’s tail that you didn’t know about:

Obviously, the answer as to why do dogs have tails is the obvious fact that they serve special purposes. See also why do dogs chase their tail?

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