A Tale of No Tail


Natural bobtail Rottweilers have been an acknowledged part of the genetic makeup of the breed since the very first breed standard.  "In the standard published by Kull in 1901 it was realized that the congenital stumpy tail is very frequent and that it should be preferred"   (A. Pienkoss; "The Rottweiler" p 210).

Leo V Cannstadt (considered a pillar of the breed) with his wispy tail was obviously a "stumpy tail"  (nbt).

The ADRK did not choose to stop tail docking, it was a law enacted by the German government.   "On presentation of the Animal protection act of October 1st 1972 it has been demanded by the legislator a docking prohibition for dogs among others.  Of a survey,  to all breed wardens and show judges of the Rottweiler Club that was made at this time, resulted the unanimous opinion that a Rottweiler with a long tail is not a Rottweiler(A. Pienkoss; "The Rottweiler" p212)  

In 1913 the standard stated: "Tail - should form a straight line with the back and be neither too thin nor too clumsy.  Invariably docked.  Dogs are often born with stumpy tails and this is much to be desired.  Faults: Tail - thin, long or placed too high".  (M. Schanzle; "Studies in the Breed History of the Rottweiler" p19.  Published 1967, translated by J. McPhail 1969). Pienkoss discusses the nbt on page 211 of his book "The Rottweiler". He says because the breeding association in 1913 decreed that tails were to be docked to create a uniform tail length: "That was the end of a possible, intended breeding for stumpy tail". So the opportunity to identify and preserve the stumpy tail feature was lost. 

The "stumpy tail" (nbt) is mentioned in the ADRK standard until at least 1970. Presumably by then breeders were so accustomed to docking they forgot about the nbt when they next re-wrote the standard . 

I have been breeding nbt's since 1977.  From my first nbt litters I selected for breeding those pups with the desired tail length and for many years now have consistently produced nbt's with the ideal length.

Detractors of the nbt claim it is an anomaly or defect because it is a rarity nowdays.  Somehow these detractors equate the rarity with anomaly, when in fact the reason it is rare now is because the majority of breeders neglected to preserve the trait, foolishly believing that there would never be a ban on tail docking.    They rationalise their failure to preserve this trait and the consequence of having to have tailed dogs by trying to twist it around as if magically, somehow, now that tails cannot be docked that the tailed dog is "normal" and the nbt is not.  The truth is nobody likes to be told what they can or cannot have.  They assert that they want to have long tails to make themselves feel better over the fact that they are forced to have long tails.  The majority of these detractors have never bred or owned a nbt, many have never even seen one.  Yet they present themselves as being all knowing. 

I quote from a wise man - "Knowledge is what you experience, everything else is just information".  Albert Einstein.

I had the foresight over 30 years ago to predict that one day tail docking would be banned and have diligently preserved this remarkable trait.   Due to this I am able to breed Rottweilers true to the breed founders' intended silhouette of the Rottweiler - a Rottweiler without a tail.

Contact Details

Rose Adler
Geeveston, TAS, Australia
Phone : 03 6297 1649
Email : [email protected]