Can Purebred Labs Have Curly Tails? Don’t Let Them Scam You!

Dog tail curling is one of the noticeable indications that your four-pawed companion is happy and cheerful, but what if you take a closer look and notice how it is over-curled, to the extent that it touches your lab’s back?

So,  can purebred labs have curly tails? Purebred labs can not have curly tails, any feathering, bushiness, or curl in the tail is an indication of not breeding according to standards or a flaw; a lab’s tail should be straight, thick, of medium length, and gradually tapering towards the tip.

Can labs have curly tails, is it possible to get them back to normal, and how – these are all questions that you’ll find answers to right here, so keep reading!

Can Purebred Labs have curly tails? 

lab with curled tail to show can purebred labs have curly tails

According to breed standards, The labrador tail is one of their distinguishing traits, being quite thick at the base and gradually tapering towards the tip, medium length, devoid of feathering, but thickly clothed all around with a short, thick, dense coat, giving it a rounded look. 

When the dog’s cheerful, it may curl its tail upwards, but it must not curl over the back naturally.

Every labrador has a flaw, and when they aren’t bred with the standard in mind, they may have a whole slew of them. A labrador’s tail should be straight and neatly coiled, not bushy, fluffy, or curly.

The Labrador’s broad, medium-length tail creates a lovely flowing and balanced line from head to tail tip. The tail serves a function for the breed since it aids in swimming and provides balance while moving on land.

Can Labs have curly tails?  

Labradors cannot have curly tails; according to breed standards, a labrador’s tail should be straight, thick at the base and gradually tapering towards the tip, medium length, devoid of feathering, but densely clothed all around with short, thick, dense coat, giving it a “rounded” look. 

The Labrador’s broad, medium-length tail creates a lovely flowing and balanced line from head to tail tip.

Every labrador has a fault, and if they weren’t developed with the standard in mind, they may have a lot of them.

The tail of a labrador should be nicely coiled and straight, not bushy, fluffy, or curly. Any type of curling in a lab’s tail is an indication of a breeding flaw or not being a purebred lab.

A “happy tail” or a “gay tail” are terms that refer to a tail that is held exceptionally high, or over a dog’s back, or certainly higher than the breed standard allows. It’s a tail that may be raised somewhat at the place where it joins the body.

It is produced by conformation, which is made up of the set on of the tail, which is the angle at which the tail comes off the croup area, the angle of the croup, and the ligaments and muscles of the dog. This is a problem that has been passed down through the generations.

How to get your lab’s tail back to normal 

Since a curled tail is mostly a result of breeding and a natural trait that your dog has; then, unfortunately, you cannot get your lab’s tailback to “normal”, or at least not in any way that is ethical or humane; so I would never recommend it.

Because there is no ethical method to straighten a kinked tail, the issue is entirely aesthetic. A painful fracture or repositioning of the bones in the tail, or, worse, amputation of a portion of the tail, would be required for such a surgery.

Why do some dogs have curled tails?

Dogs have curled tails as a result of an abnormality in the development of the Hemivertebrae (the curved extension of the spine) which causes a congenital disease, thus the bones and the end of the spine (the tail) will twist into a wedge shape. The tail curls as a result of this twisting.

Hemivertebrae causes curly tails in dogs, which implies the dog’s vertebrae have fused together or are shaped more like a wedge. It’s typical in breeds like Pomeranians and Pugs, and it’s nothing to be concerned about as a pet parent.

In most cases, the disease that produces a curly tail in a dog will only affect the tail. In reality, a curled tail is usually a breed characteristic, as in the case of pugs and bulldogs.

Curly tails are inherited in certain dogs. Sometimes it’s due to heredity, and other times it’s related to their breed. Curly-tailed dogs, in any case, are nothing to be concerned about.

Labrador Tail Types 


The most common and following the breed standards is the straight tail or medium length, densely coated and has a round tip; The Labrador’s broad, medium-length tail creates a lovely flowing and balanced line from head to tail tip.


Although really rare to see, but some labradors tend to have thicker tails, especially towards the bottom; they tend to look a bit similar to golden retriever tails.


The curled tail may happen due to conditions like the “happy tail syndrome” which is the tail that naturally grows extremely high, or over a dog’s back, or at least higher than the breed standard permits It’s a tail that may be lifted somewhat where it connects to the body.

7 Common Labrador Retriever Tail Problems and Their Solutions 

Tumor/ Tail Masses

Cysts, warts, contaminated sebaceous glands, and benign tumors are common causes of these lumps. Mast cell tumors or the malignant version of hair follicle tumors, sebaceous tumors, and soft tissue sarcoma are all examples of malignant tail tumors.

Limber or Cold Tail

Overexertion is considered to be the cause of a limber tail, a painful muscular disease. It produces discomfort at the base of the tail, which is generally sensitive to touch, as well as the rest of the tail being limp. 

Large breed working dogs are the most often affected. a broken or diseased tail might appear identical.


  • it’s crucial to speak with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action. 
  • Rest and anti-inflammatory pain medicines are used if fractures and infections have been checked out.
  • While small abrasions may often be healed at home, many tail injuries need veterinarian care. analyze the situation and seek veterinarian assistance when necessary. 
  • To treat the damaged tail, your dog’s veterinarian can give antibiotics (oral or injectable) and pain medication, as well as conduct surgery if necessary. 
  • Your dog should be wagging his tail back in no time if you take appropriate care of him.


When dogs wag their tails against an abrasive surface or snag their tails beneath anything, simple scratches can occur.


  • Clean the area with mild soap and warm water if the hair has been rubbed out and red skin has been exposed.
  • Instead of using adhesive tape, apply antibiotic ointment and lightly bandage the tail with self-adhering wrap.
  • Wrap the bandage loosely enough to avoid limiting blood flow.
  • Replace the bandage and reapply the antibiotic ointment on a regular basis.
  • Take your dog to the veterinarian if there is significant bleeding or swelling, or if the tissue changes color.
  • Medical intervention is recommended if the skin and muscle damage is severe.

Happy Tail

Certain dog breeds wag their tails continually, causing damage when they collide with solid things.

Because the source of the problem (wagging) will not cease, happy tails frequently develop bleeding ulcers that will not heal.


  • Because these injuries reveal sensitive nerves that cause pain, veterinarian assistance is recommended.
  • Infection may be prevented, nerves can be calmed, and the tail can recover by bandaging the damaged region and using antibiotics and pain medication.
  • The best therapy in severe, chronic situations when the wagging will not cease and the damage will not heal is surgical tail shortening. A shorter wagging tail is less likely to cause damage, despite the fact that it alters the dog’s look.
  • In order to recover correctly, happy tail injuries require care. 
  • Call your veterinarian if you detect a red patch on your dog’s tail.

Nerve Damage

Although the boney vertebrae protect the nerves in the tail, they can still be injured. When the tail is pulled too hard, it can stretch or tear nerves, and breaks near the base of the tail can sever them. 

Nerves that control urination and defecation can be damaged by tail pull injuries higher up in the spinal cord.

Your dog may become incontinent if the nerves controlling urination and defecation are damaged. 

The nerve function may improve over time, but some dogs will continue to have problems controlling their bladder or bowels. 

Nerve injury may also cause the tail to hang limply. Your dog may not be able to wag his tail or lift it when having a bowel movement.


Tail vertebrae, like any other bone, can break. When a dog gets hit, falls from, or has his tail jammed, he is quite likely to have his tail broken. 

The severity of a fracture is determined in large part by the location of the fracture.

The fracture at the tip of the tail generally heals without treatment, however, the tail may have a hump or kink where the fracture occurred. 

If the tail bones are crushed, it may be necessary to amputate a portion of the tail. Nerve damage is common in injuries near the base of the tail, and they are more serious.


  • If your dog is hit by or suffers a serious fall, take him to your veterinarian for a thorough examination.


Deep wounds that reveal underlying muscle and bone are known as lacerations. Some lacerations are caused by dogs that bite their tails because they are frightened, bored, or have other behavioral issues

Flea allergies or a problem with the anal glands can also cause tail biting. Infection is likely to develop, particularly in bite wounds, and some lacerations require stitches.


  • take your dog to the veterinary emergency facility, 
  • wrap the tail with a towel to stop the bleeding.

Do Labradors have bushy tails?

Purebred Labradors do not have bushy tails, according to breed standards; a labrador’s tail should be straight, thick at the base and gradually tapering towards the tip, medium length, free of patchiness, but densely coated all around with short, thick, dense coat, giving it a rounded appearance.

Labradors, according to breed standards, should have straight tails; yet due to some breeding flaws and conditions; dogs may be born with a bushy tail.

If you’re getting a dog for show purposes; you might need to pay closer attention that your lab matched the breed standards determined by the AKC (The American Kennel Club) as some traits are considered disqualified.

You can also learn how to groom your dog’s tail right (and without hurting them) here.

Related Questions 

Can a lab break their tail? 

Yes, a lab can break their tail; Like any other bone, the tail vertebrae can shatter. A dog’s tail is quite likely to be broken if he is hit, falls from, or has his tail trapped. If the tail bones are crushed, a part of the tail may need to be amputated.

More dangerously, if your dog is a bit too active, also known as hyper, they could be in the chance of breaking their dewclaws. You can learn everything about labradors’ dewclaws (and when to remove them) here.

What should a lab’s tail look like? 

The tail of a labrador should be straight, thick at the base and gradually tapering towards the tip, medium length, devoid of patchiness, but densely coated all over with a short, thick, dense coat, giving it a rounded look.

Is it cruel to dock a dog’s tail? 

It is cruel to doc a dog’s tail; unless it is in the case of severe injury and docking is the only solution, preventive tail docking of pet dogs is unnecessary and tends to be a painful procedure for the dog.

Helpful Resources 

Labrador Retrievers for Dummies by Joel Walton, Eve Adamson (which you can also check on Amazon here)

The Complete Labrador Handbook: The Essential Guide for New & Prospective Labrador Retriever Owners

Labrador Retriever AKC standards

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

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Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting and being part of our vibrant community.

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