Does a Boston Terrier Have a Tail When It’s Born?

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One common question asked about Boston Terriers is whether they had tails when they were born. This is due to their naturally pretty short ones. Perhaps, you have the same question.

To learn more about a Boston Terrier’s tail, continue reading. I will discover more about this fascinating type of dog’s tail.

Does a Boston Terrier Have a Tail When It’s Born?

Yes. A Boston Terrier has a tail when it’s born. However, it is very short because of the gene mutation. The gene mutation can even cause an absent tail in some cases. 

Graphic image of a black and white Boston Terrier that states that Boston Terriers normally have short tails when they are born

Boston Terriers Have Short Tails Upon Birth

Boston Terriers have naturally short tails upon birth. This breed of dogs has natural bobtails like other breeds of dogs, such as the English Bulldog.

A mutated gene is responsible for this natural bobtail. Some people try to dock their dog’s tail to qualify their dog to register in American Kennel Club. This kind of practice is cruel and cheating. 

The American Kennel Club (AKC) disqualifies your dog’s registration if it has a docked tail. AKC registered Boston Terriers ensure that your dog is pure-bred or full-blooded. The standard set by the AKC of your Boston Terriers’ tails includes:

  • Tail set on low
  • Fine and tapering
  • Straight or screw
  • Carried above the horizontal
  • Length no longer than one-quarter from the base of the tail to hock

If your Boston Terrier has a longer tail than the set standards, your dog may have a mixed lineage. However, if both parents are AKC registered, puppies with long tails are pure-bred Boston Terriers. 

Boston Terrier with short tail

Different Types of Boston Terrier’s Tails

Boston Terriers are known to have different types of tails influenced by some factors such as the bone structure and their genetic makeup. 

Bobbed Tail

Bobbed tail is the standard tail as described by the American Kennel Club. It looks almost unnoticeable. As mentioned earlier, this is due to the mutated genes known as C18G or the T-box transcription factor T gene.

You can find this gene in other dog breeds such as Jack Russell Terriers, English Bulldogs, Rottweilers, and Australian Shepherds. You can also find this type of gene in some breeds of cats. 

Crooked Tail

A crooked tail usually measures between two to three inches. This type of tail occurs when their bones are abnormally shaped. It can cause pain and spinal issues on your Boston Terrier, depending on the intensity of the crookedness.

One spine condition that is associated with this type of tail is what they call Hemivertebrae. The bones do not correctly align to their adjacent spinal bones. It can cause pain. Worse, your dog can lose its hind leg function and its ability to control passing feces and urine. 

Screwed or Curled Tail

Curled or screwed tail is the most common tail among all types of tail. The length characterizes by one to two inches and shaped like its name suggests — screw-like or curled. This type of tail can be prone to infection because of its shape.

Boston Terrier lying in the rug

It can partially obstruct the anus. What makes this even more dangerous is its proximity to feces that can worsen the existing infection. If your dog got an infection, contact your vet for proper medication such as antibiotics or medicated wipes and soaps.

Straight Tail

This type of tail rarely occurs on Boston Terriers. The tail points toward the ground and sets low on the rear side. Straight tails allow Boston Terriers to wag their tails more. It is the healthiest tail among all types. 

Gay Tail

I’ve mentioned earlier the standard starting position of the tail accepted by the AKC. Gay tail is located higher than the tail’s standard starting point, but shouldn’t go beyond the dog’s back. The tail is usually pointed upwards, which makes the dog look gay or extra happy. 

Boston Terriers with Long Tail 

Full-blooded Boston Terriers usually have short tails not longer than two inches. However, there are Boston Terriers that acquire longer tails than usual. Boston Terriers with longer tails should have one-third of their body length.

If ever the tail’s length goes more than one-third of its body, your dog’s history might have something mixed in its lineage. 

Boston Terriers with long or noticeable tails bring one common misconception — being not full-blooded or mixed. Although not common, some Boston Terriers exist with long tails. It doesn’t make them a less pure-blooded breed, especially if both parents are AKC registered. 

Boston Terrier in the beach

I need to address the long tail misconception because it can lead to some harmful practices of some dog owners. Since the long tail is not commonly associated with pure-bred Boston Terriers, people might perform tail docking to make their dog meet the set standard. It can be harmful to your Boston Terrier. 

Related Questions

What Should a Boston Terrier Tail Look Like?

A Boston Terrier’s tail is usually short, low with a straight, bobbed, crooked, screw-like shape or even gay. The length from the base of the tail to the hock is no more than one-quarter. The length of the tail itself should not be longer than two inches. This is the standard tail of a pure-bred Boston Terrier. 

How Long Are Boston Terriers Tails?

Since the genetic makeup of the Boston Terrier produces a short tail, the length is generally not longer than two inches. Usually, the tail has a bobbed shape. On some rare occasions, there are Boston Terriers with long tails with either straight or corkscrew type. 

Are Boston Terriers Tails Cropped?

Cropped is a term commonly used to refer to removing some part of the dog’s ears. Docked is the tail counterpart of this term. Boston Terriers’ tails are not docked. The genetic mutation allows this short tail occurrence to happen naturally. Vets prohibit docking tails for aesthetic purposes.

Dogs 101 - BOSTON TERRIER - Top Dog Facts About the BOSTON TERRIER


In summary, Boston Terriers are born with tails known as bobbed tails. The tails are just too small to notice. This tail feature is due to the genetic makeup that makes them naturally small. Their tail serves as one indicator if your Boston Terrier is a full-blooded one, but not all the time.