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Flushing Whip

Sickle tails and Breeding

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Flushing Whip

A while back there was a question in regards to correcting sickle tails. It generated quite a bit of discussion and is closed now.  I'd like to bring it up again as I am interested in a specific aspect. Last year we had a very heated discussion in the NRSFTC regarding the physical alteration of dogs. It mainly centered around the clipping off of the top one or two tail vertebrae to eliminate the sickle appearance and make the dog easier to sell. As Editor of the Flushing Whip I often find myself in position to do "public relations--" or at least be an available listener when members become angry. This is an issue that creates hot discussions.  We have had breeders who routinely clipped the tails of ALL new pups at an early age (without prior evaluation) to avoid the ultimate sickle tail. The BIG issue to me is whether or not those breeders disclose the surgical intervention or not. I have had to deal with people over the years who bought a dog, loved it, and decided to breed. When the pups arrived-- many had tails that were NOT like mamas. It gets even worse when both dam and sire have altered tails and no one ever informed their owners. Sadly, they feel betrayed to learn that their dog had been physically altered.  These new owners never knew enough to ask and thus no one ever voluntarily shared the information with them.  Not ALL NRSFTC  breeders do this-- There are those who can breed and produce naturally straight tails.

This whole issue came to light last year and created a firestorm of emotions-- the club ultimately passed a resolution against physically altering dogs. In light of the previous sickle tail discussion we had here-- I'm interested in what you believe is the right and ethical way to handle this issue. If we claim to breed "to make a better dog".... shouldn't we breed for the ultimate bird dog who also demonstrates a stylish tail on point?  Shouldn't new owners be informed?  And just as an aside--  I HAVE seen young pups with curved tails which, as they developed,  were not sickle at all-- they snapped right up to 12 o'clock when scenting wild birds. Appreciate any feedback on this issue.

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406dn

I have noticed more than one Red Setter than obviously had its tail shortened a bit. Another cosmetic surgery that I've seen with them is if they were born with a white patch on the top of their head, the white area is cut out and the scalp stretched and stitched. The scar shows as a fine line where the hair does not lay exactly right. Seems a little misleading but if you look too closely,,, there are many things are fudged for one advantage or another. I'd offer the shameless moving of the whelping date for many field trial dogs as an example.

 

 

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Flushing Whip

Both of those issues are repugnant to the majority of the Board. We've adopted a resolution decrying it. It isn't as though there is even a need for someone to cheat by altering the dogs. The NRSFTC distributes a breeders pamphlet that details the Purest Challenge and discusses the markings of the dog. Read it. You'll find nothing there that advocates or encourages these kids of physical alterations. Imagine the distress for the young puppies who have their hide cut away-- or for their poor mother who is physically muzzled to prevent her from licking her pups surgical "injuries." To me these issues seems far more over the edge than fudging the whelp date numbers. Still, all of it is cheating in one way or another.  

Years ago we purchased a dog from the breeder who does these things. I saw the pups head and I thought perhaps it had tried to squeeze under a barbed wire fence and cut its head. I asked him what happened and he told me, quite matter-of-fact  that he'd "removed some of the white" for us. I was stunned. We didn't care at all about the white and were horrified at what had been done.  At least he admitted to me what had happened when I inquired. But sadly, most people don't know to inquire, especially about the tail. A tail alteration is less obvious and more easy to hide.  

 

 

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Flushing Whip

Hard to read the brochure (above)as jpegs. The file is posted on the National red Setter Field Trial Club facebook page. We are also, btw the only pointing breed club who's breed standard is performance based. Beauty is as beauty does    

 https://www.facebook.com/download/preview/111802976355775

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kgb

The board may not think there is ever a reason to cheat by altering but it is obvious there are some people/breeders/clients who do not know that to be a fact.  Maybe some of those folks will be campaigning their dogs in arenas where the alterations are considered necessary?  

 

Education of those people would be a first step, an ability to sanction them for violation of clearly stated regulations regarding puppy alterations would help, too.  There will always be cheaters, and some won't ever consider themselves to be.

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Brad Eden

Very interesting subject matter. Please keep it respectful, non judgemental and earnest. I don't want to have to babysit this and potentually moderate it. Thanks.

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Urban_Redneck

If you look at much of Europe and now, Quebec and PEI, altering (docking tails) is prohibited. I think it's great that your breed club is policing your own, lest the government is cowed into passing a law that affects all breeds, including those that traditionally have docked tails for functional reasons.

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Flushing Whip
1 hour ago, Urban_Redneck said:

If you look at much of Europe and now, Quebec and PEI, altering (docking tails) is prohibited. I think it's great that your breed club is policing your own, lest the government is cowed into passing a law that affects all breeds, including those that traditionally have docked tails for functional reasons.

I'd like to send this as a PM but can't seem to find the place to do it. I'm recovering from an accident and have a concussion-- it's a lot of work to just "think."  So-- please forgive me for asking this here. I'd like to look into the Canadian docking issues and research that a bit. My search on google didn't yield anything. Can you push me in the right direction so I can pursue that on my own and I won't inadvertently side track this discussion. Thanks

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Urban_Redneck
4 minutes ago, Flushing Whip said:

I'd like to send this as a PM but can't seem to find the place to do it. I'm recovering from an accident and have a concussion-- it's a lot of work to just "think."  So-- please forgive me for asking this here. I'd like to look into the Canadian docking issues and research that a bit. My search on google didn't yield anything. Can you push me in the right direction so I can pursue that on my own and I won't inadvertently side track this discussion. Thanks

 

My pup's breeder informed me of the ban in Quebec last year, I think it went into effect in January, 2017. My pup came from her last docked litter in 2016. My next dog will likely be a French import.

 

Try google "tail docking in Canada" I think that's where I saw the PEI info.

 

I hope you feel better, take it slow.

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Chukarman
On 5/2/2018 at 7:58 PM, 406dn said:

I have noticed more than one Red Setter than obviously had its tail shortened a bit. Another cosmetic surgery that I've seen with them is if they were born with a white patch on the top of their head, the white area is cut out and the scalp stretched and stitched. The scar shows as a fine line where the hair does not lay exactly right. Seems a little misleading but if you look too closely,,, there are many things are fudged for one advantage or another. I'd offer the shameless moving of the whelping date for many field trial dogs as an example.

 

 

I understand that some cover dog trialers 'prune' dog's tails. Mainly to minimize bloody tail tips caused by contact when running in cover.

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E.Young
On 6/24/2018 at 3:08 PM, Chukarman said:

I understand that some cover dog trialers 'prune' dog's tails. Mainly to minimize bloody tail tips caused by contact when running in cover.

 

One of mine "pruned" herself. Bloody/"whip" tail every time we ran her, no matter what, even in just tall grass. It got really bad at one point, was bleeding more than usual, but she didn't mind so I just slathered it in Nu-Stock and wrapped it with some EMT wrap. Once it healed over, we realized her tail was at least an inch shorter, maybe two, definitely stubbier on the end. She looks kinda silly, but only bleeds in really thick cover full of good sized thorns now. No complaints from me. 

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Korthaar

I've seen beagles and hounds with tails altered as adults via use of rubber bands to cut off circulation. The owners say they do it to minimize tail injury in the field. 

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