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How to Crop a Rottweiler's Tail

| Updated August 11, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Docking band, obtained from veterinary clinic, soaked in antiseptic solution diluted to hospital strength.

  • Very sharp nail or cuticle scissors (new for each litter)

  • Cotton swabs

  • Disposable rubber gloves

  • Clean towel

  • Tincture of Iodine, 2.5%

  • Vet, as needed


  • Check your local laws before docking as it is illegal in some countries. Never perform docking on your own the first time. Always seek the advice and guidance of an experienced vet and breeder to assist and mentor you. Ensure the area you keep your puppies in is scrupulously clean.


  • Do not wait past a few days to dock a puppies tail. Check regularly that the band hasn't slipped (it shouldn't if tied firmly). Apply iodine tincture twice per day.

Rottweilers are believed to descend from the drover dogs of ancient Rome. These dogs were used by the Romans as cattle dogs, also used to guard camps, such as their namesake Rottweil in Germany. Rottweilers are territorial and highly protective, which requires a high degree of training on the part of an owner. Rottweilers are a medium-large breed, with great strength, agility and power. Typically, Rottweilers have their tails docked at birth, which means that the tail is cut very short. This was historically done in working dogs to prevent injury to the tail. There is a movement against docking, suggesting in modern times this practice is no longer necessary. In fact, some countries such as England and Germany have made docking illegal.

Take your puppies to the vet if this is your first litter. Do not try to dock puppy tails on your own if you have never done this before. Alternatively, seek out the assistance of an experienced, reputable breeder who is recommended by the American Rottweiler Club.

Wait until the pup is between 24 hours old and 3 days old. At 24 hours old, some find the pup is less concerned with the process, and tying can occur quickly, sometimes before the pup even wakes up.

Under the guidance of a vet or experienced breeder, locate the area of the tail which is just above the anus. A properly docked tail will be very short, between the first and second vertebrae.

Have someone hold the pup for you.

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Use your docking band to tie the first knot loosely around the tail and move it to the length required. The knot should be firm but not too tight. Use a reef knot (square knot) so it is hard for the mother to undo. This is achieved by holding the two sides of the strand in each hand. Take the right side and bring it over and then underneath the left. Holding both sides up, now take the left side and bring it over and then underneath the right side.

Tie a second knot. Again, tying a firm reef knot that is not too tight that it makes the pup squirm.

Cut the ends of the docking band off to 1/2 inch long.

Apply iodine twice per day using a cotton swab. This will keep the skin around and underneath the band clean and sterile.

Ensure that you keep the conditions around the puppy sterile and clean in order to minimize chances of infection. This is important for your puppies, regardless of whether you choose to dock or not.

Monitor the puppies carefully. Should you have any concerns, contact your vet. The tails should shrivel and fall off within a few days.