Dogs are one of the denizens of the animal kingdom endowed with a tail. The tail can be a short stump, 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. A well feathered tail that curves on a Japanese Spitz’ or an American Eskimo Dog’s back will not fail to gain the dog admiring attention. However, enhancing the appearance is not the only purpose of a dog’s tail.
One of the important uses of a tail is to be the dog’s balancing device. Speed is an all important asset of a hunting dog. Hunting dogs have to be fast and lithe to capture the prey. Not unlike balancing tightrope walkers, dogs uses the tail to maintain balance when they need to walk on narrow ledges in search of prey. The tail serves as a counter balance that prevents the dog from toppling over when they need to make a sharp turn. Water retrievers make use of the tail as a rudder that makes swimming easier.
Dogs don’t have the ability to talk but their tails can do the talking efficiently. The tail is used by the dog to communicate not only with dogs but with humans as well. It is a common knowledge that a loosely wagging tail is a sign that the dog is friendly. 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. Additionally, the tail is the dogs’ one of a kind ID system. By raising the tail, the anal gland is stimulated to secrete. The scent of the secretion is distinct in every dog thus it is used by dogs to recognize each other. In a pack, the tail is a tool that shows 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.