Why do Dogs have Tails?

April 13, 2012

Your dog’s tail is a versatile tool that that dogs uses for a variety of its needs. A dog’s tail can be used for its social and physical needs. A dog’s tail can act as a specialized tool, depending on the dog’s need. Your dog can use its tail to communicate, balance, for swimming, warmth, and to keep insects away.

As a communication tool, a dog will signal its social status and emotions with its tail. It can make these signals through the position in which the tail is held and through the direction and speed of its wag. By noting the action of a dog’s tail, humans and dogs can make a decision on whether the dog is approachable. The action of wagging also releases pheromones from the dog’s anal glands which gives further information on a dog’s social status and sex.

As a part of the dog’s spinal column, the dog’s tail is used for balance. This balancing ability of the tail is especially useful when the dog is walking on a narrow passage or running and wishes to make a quick turn in another direction. A dog will also use its tail as a rudder for changing directions when it is swimming.

The tail of most dogs is sickle shaped or curved over their back, unlike their ancestor, the wolf. In northern dogs, you will find long haired tails that curl over the back. The hair helps to keep the dog’s face warm because as the dog sleeps, it keeps its tail curved over its face. The tip of the tail may even rest directly on the nose.

A dog’s tail can be used for preventing fly and insect bites. A dog swings its tail to prevent flies and other insects from irritating the dog. In the same way that a cow uses its tail to shoo flies away, a dog will move its tail to get rid of insects and flies.

Your dog’s tail enables the dog to send out instant messages, have balance and increases its comfort level. Dogs need their tails because without it, dogs do not have the many advantages that the tail provides to the dog.

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