Dogs running near waving sea

Why Do Dogs Have Tails?

You’ve probably thought why dogs have tails at some point or another.

Most dogs are born with tails, therefore it’s safe to say that they have a reason for having them.

Cute Pets! Cute Dogs! Dog in a Tree! NOMINATED!!

Dogs with tails benefit in more ways than just making them appear cute to other people. In fact, tails play an important role in daily life. Have you ever thought about why your dog has a tail? Here’s why:


Most dogs were bred for some sort of work, but you don’t need to see them performing some extraordinary task to see their tails in action.  

Happy dog playing with toy ring

Throw your dog’s favorite toy and watch him chase after it, or observe him playing chase with another dog. What you’re likely to see is your dog’s tail working to assist with skillful movement. 

Cute dog running

Our dog’s body needs a little extra help because he must change directions while running.  You’ll notice that your dog’s front legs will go in the direction that he intends to go, while the rear legs continue in the original direction. 

However, the tail will likewise turn in the new direction. It prevents your dog’s body from spinning off course or tumbling around by tossing the tail in the same direction that the body is turning.


Your dog’s tail serves as a counterbalance on a regular basis, not only when he’s running. If you watch a dog move along a closed room, you’re almost sure to see the tail hard at work.

Young woman climbing stairs, walking her dog

The tail helps the dog maintain his balance by putting its weight on the opposite side of the dog’s tilt, much like a tightrope walker uses the balance bar to stay on the tightrope.  Dogs who like climbing different surfaces will use their tails to balance on uneven footing, such as rocks or trees.


It shouldn’t come as a surprise that dogs communicate with their tails. It’s probably safe to say that most of us are greeted by a happy, wagging tail when we walk through the door after being out.  

siberian husky dog communicating with cynologist

However, tails give more information than just a dog’s happiness. Canines communicate mostly with other dogs using their tails, but people have learnt to identify and understand their signals.


The tail of a happy dog will likely be wagging, while the tail of a scared dog will be tucked up between her legs.


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