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Confusion on docked dog rules


After our report on the boxer Angel, who cannot compete in agility because of the damage to her tail, we can now report that the tail has had to be docked and so Angel will no longer be able to compete at any KC licensed event where members of the public have to pay a fee to go in.
Angel is not alone, it seems, since having read about Angel, Matt Smith contacted Our Dogs to tell us about the anomaly he has with his dogs, both of whom have “docked” tails.

When Matt and his family, who live in County Durham, decided to get a dog they purchased a legally docked English Springer spaniel, KC name Beefy’s Boy. Matt told us, ‘We did the usual things and took him to pet obedience were he picked it up pretty easily. He was always the star of the puppy class but still a bit manic when in the house. The trainer recommended taking him to agility to burn off a bit of his energy.’

Matt and Ollie (as Beefy’s Boy was called at home), went to the local Waldridge Fell DTS and Ollie soon picked up agility, having started to compete he went from grade one to grade three in his first year with among other awards 15 first placings. Ollie is currently 4th in his grade in the UK and 4th in all ‘ABC’ dogs (all grades) in the country, and is now sponsored by Burns Pet Foods.

Having been bitten by the agility bug Matt and his family decided to get another dog to compete with. Matt continues, ‘He is my little super star and thanks to him I have been bitten with the agility bug. He has been the best starter dog that anyone could ever wish for. I hope we have many many years of competing together as he is so much fun. After being bitten by the bug early on I was keen on a second dog, after a long discussion we decided that would get the only logical choice...A Border Collie! Double trouble!’

Love

After much searching they eventually found Skye on a working sheep farm in York. ‘We went down to see her and instantly fell in love with her. We noticed that her tail seemed slightly shorter than normal and after asking the question we were told that a door had slammed shut on the tail just as she had started to walk, the wound healed over within a couple of days so the farmer never took her to the vets’, Matt told us, ‘We were more than happy with the explanation and she was that adorable it never bothered us that her tail was shorter than normal.’ The problem has become more obvious; as she grew her tail seemed to stay the same size and is now obviously much shorter than it should be.

When Matt started taking Skye to obedience classes the local chairperson of the club pointed out that Matt might not be able to compete at shows with Skye where the public pay to enter. Having contacted the Kennel Club for clarification it appears that Matt and his family can compete with Beefy’s Boy - a docked English Springer spaniel - but not with Skye who has had a tail trauma which has led to her losing part of her tail.

As Matt pointed out this does not seem fair, especially as Skye is more than capable of living up to her KC name Little Red Rascal. Describing her as a high work drive dog who loves to work at agility it seems so unfair that she not be able to compete, whereas Ollie can. ‘She is showing real promise but she may not be able to do what she loves,’ Matt added. ‘My aim next year is to try and qualify for Olympia and this may only be possible with Ollie as I would be breaking the law by even taking Skye!’