Do Boston Terriers Have Tails?

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Boston Terriers have signature perky ears, round eyes, and black and white coat. You start to think: do Boston Terriers have tails? Because sometimes they appear short, long, or non-existent. I’m going to dive into some anatomy, breed characteristics, and canine diseases to understand whether a Terrier has a tail.

Do Boston Terriers Have Tails?

Yes, Boston Terriers have tails. Most of them feature bobbed or screwed tails that are genetically short. This is pretty standard for this breed, so don’t worry about missing a tail unless it’s cut at a young age. 

Types of Boston Terrier Tails

While Boston Terriers have tails, the length may also depend on the parent genes. Knowing these types of Boston Terrier tails enables me to ensure that my pets have healthy body features.

Boston Terrier sitting in the ground with his tails sticking out
  • Bobbed Tail: Boston Terriers often sport bobbed tails, which are short in nature. Because of their nub-like appearance, I easily confuse them with docked tails. Fortunately, a Terrier’s anatomy allows it to live with short tails without the need to cut. 
  • Curled or Corkscrew Tail: Also known as ‘ingrown tail’, this type of tail is usually one to two inches long and curls up against a Terrier’s bottom tightly. It requires more cleaning attention as the curled tail becomes susceptible to a skin infection. 
  • Crooked Tail: Long-tailed Boston Terriers have this type of tail, which is typically two to three inches in length. The tail tends to turn about halfway, causing it to point in the opposite direction. A crooked tail for Terriers may sometimes imply spinal issues. 
  • Straight Tail: Although possible, it is rare for Boston Terriers to get straight tails. A straight tail points down because it’s set low on the dog’s rear. Terriers with straight tails shouldn’t have more than one-quarter the distance between the tail’s root to the bend of the hock above the lower hind leg.
  • Gay Tail: A gay tail is a position where the tail sits much higher than a Boston Terrier’s standards. Since the tail points upwards, it creates the appearance of an extremely cheerful dog, hence the name. This type of tail may not be desirable for bulldog competitions.

Anatomy of a Boston Terrier Tail

The canine tail generally consists of six to 23 vertebrae enclosed by musculature that enable dogs to move the tail. It also uses tendons to attach muscles to the tail vertebrae. 

According to the American Kennel Club, the breed standard features a muzzle, wide-set eyes, and lack of a long tail. Boston Terriers are part of the bobtail breed due to the crossbreeding between White English Terrier and English Bulldog. 

Most purebred Boston Terriers have tails that do not exceed two inches in length. Meanwhile, there are rare cases when Terriers can feature full-length tails like other breeds.

Health Factors Affecting the Growth of Boston Terrier Tails

Are some Boston Terriers born with tails or all of them? The existence, appearance, and length of a Boston Terrier’s tail mainly depend on ancestral standards and parental genes. While these two factors can ensure a Terrier’s tail at birth, my dogs can still encounter injuries as they grow. 

Boston Terrier with a sweater on

Tail wagging on hard surfaces, rough playing with constant tail chewing, and even tails that get caught on closing doors are some of the things that can happen every day. However, the tail lacks robust muscles to cushion the impact of such actions. 

Hence, these injuries and diseases can influence whether your Terrier will have a tail at some point in their life.

  • Alopecia: Since Terriers have exceptionally short tails, the fur helps me see the tail’s position. Dogs with Alopecia may have a loss of hair on the tail due to ringworms. About 60% of dogs undergo hair regrowth within months of diagnosis and treatment.
  • Trauma: Some tails suffer from dislocations or fractures of the vertebrae, as well as wounds to the soft tissues that may cause paralysis in some cases. 
  • Cauda equina syndrome: The syndrome causes pain in the lower back, resulting in weakness or lameness on the limbs. Since the tail is an extension of the spine, your pet may find it hard to wag its tail. 
  • Dermatitis: This is a common hereditary disposition that infects the skin, including the tail. About 20% to 30% of dogs may suffer from dermatitis due to food and flea allergies. 
  • Tail tumors: Like me, Terriers can experience warts, cysts, infected sebaceous glands, or benign tumors. For the skin, there could be a malignant tail tumor in the hair follicle. 

This is why it’s crucial knowing my Terrier’s type of tail in preventing injuries and diseases like these. In this way, I can provide the appropriate grooming and care to keep the tail healthy and safe. 

Simple Tips for Caring for Boston Terrier Tails 

Learning essential cleaning and maintenance lets me help my Boston Terriers keep their tails. Start by trimming the hair around the tail regularly to avoid tail infection and skin irritations. You can also apply coconut oil to the skin once you notice any rashes. 

Boston Terrier lying on the carpet with his tail out

Aside from routine baths, it’s important that you dedicate time to cleaning your Terrier’s tail after defecating. Remember that Terriers can have curled tails, leaving enough space to trap feces, dirt, and other matter. 

Furthermore, avoid tail docking unless the vet recommends amputation for severe tail infections. Otherwise, cutting the tail will only put your beloved Terrier in unnecessary pain. If your Terrier feels uncomfortable due to its tail, it would be wise to reach out to me for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Related Questions

Finally, before I wrap up this article, let’s take the opportunity to address some of the most common questions I receive about Boston Terriers.

Can Boston Terriers Be Born Without Tails? 

It’s unlikely for Boston Terriers not to have tails when they enter the world. With a Terrier puppy, I may sometimes think it doesn’t have a tail. However, Terriers genetically have extremely short tails that set close to the bottom.

Is My Boston Terrier Full Breed If It Has a Tail?

Boston Terriers can have tails longer than the breed’s standard, and I can still consider them as full-breeds. On the other hand, there’s a higher chance that your Terrier is a mixed breed if the tail is longer than six inches.

Boston Terrier Dogs 101: Boston Terrier Facts and Information


Boston Terriers are born with short tails at birth. The tails may grow in different forms as they age, depending on the dog’s genes and health. Regardless of your Terrier’s tail type, how I provide the best care for your pet should be the highest priority.  

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