Are English Bulldogs Born With Tails?

By John Martin - July 18, 2022

English Bulldog puppy in the grass

English Bulldogs generally have tiny tails, making it easy to wonder if they are born with tails or if they only grow them once they become a bit older. Long story short, they are born with tails.

You can learn more about the tails of English Bulldogs below, including how they look when they are born and how they develop.

Do English Bulldogs Have Tails?

All English Bulldogs tend to have tails, even though it may appear that they do not. In fact, these dogs often have different shapes and sizes of tails depending on their individual features, genetics and conditions.

If you have come across an English Bulldog, it might appear at first glance that their tails seem to be missing, but this is usually because their tails tend to curve inward.

According to the American Kennel Club, moreover, the tail needs to be short and screwed, which is also why it might look like it is not there at all.

In some cases, however, it is also possible that the owner may have gotten the tail docked or cropped, although this is quite a rare occurrence when it comes to these dogs.

Are English Bulldogs Born with Tails?

English Bulldogs are generally born with tails. However, depending on the natural shape of the tail, it might barely be visible unless you look for it closely.

For instance, if the English Bulldog grows up to have a screwed tail, this will be reflected at the time of birth itself since the tail will end up looking like a simple knot or button.

At the same time, however, there are some dogs from this breed that might have slightly longer and visible tails that go on to become even longer when the dogs grow up. While some pet owners might be okay leaving them as they are, they usually have them docked or cropped, given the breed standard.

Why exactly is it that the tails of English Bulldogs are so different from the long and flowy waves of other dog breeds?

The reason behind this might have to do with their genetic structure, bone formations and breeding origins. Let’s examine some of these reasons in further detail below.

  • Genetics: Just as English Bulldogs tend to have brachycephalic skulls and folds on their skin, so too do they have genetic structures that lend their tails their distinct appearance. These genes are usually passed on to successive generations of this breed of dogs.
  • Bone Formations: The bone formations in the spines and tails of dogs tend to form and develop in a way that makes it natural for their tails to grow in a particular way, making them look like they are not actually there. While many dog breeds tend to have a greater number of tail bones (around 20), English Bulldogs only have around 10. Their vertebrae also tend to be joined together, making the tail grow shorter.
  • Breeding Origins: Originally, when English Bulldogs began to be bred, their tails were docked or cropped so that they could become good for hunting and fighting. Later, however, this was no longer necessary since the breeders began to carry out selective breeding that led to the tails growing naturally short and screwed.

Types of Tails

There are various kinds of tails that English Bulldogs might exhibit due to reasons we have already seen. Although the breed standard suggests that the tails should be short and screwed, some dogs might end up growing their tails differently.

Let’s take a look at the types of tails in a bit more detail.


Straight tails that are still short are also a part of the breed standard of English Bulldogs. These tails usually hang downward and can have a slight curve at the end.

The tails can also end up growing a bit higher up, complete with a flourish at the end. This is actually a natural way for the tail to grow and is not considered to be a defect, even in terms of the breed standard.

Quite often, you might see English Bulldogs with this kind of tail, even though they tend to be slightly rarer as compared to the corkscrew tails.

You should note here that such tails might sound like they grow long, but even these tend to remain pretty short throughout the lifespan of the English Bulldog. At most, they can grow 2-3 inches long.


When it comes to English Bulldogs, curly tails are usually a bit longer than the other two types of tails. These kinds of tails generally tend to have a single upward curl towards the end of the tail.

In some cases, there might even be a few more waves or curls throughout the length. These kinds of tails might result in fewer problems for the English Bulldogs as compared to corkscrew tails while also being much simpler for the dog to handle and wave around.

Despite this, however, the breed standard puts this kind of long and curly tail as generally unacceptable and the least desirable, which is why you might not see it that often in English Bulldogs.


Screw or corkscrew tails are the most common and accepted type of tail when it comes to English Bulldogs. The breed standard promotes this kind of tail the most given the distinctive appearance that it provides to these dogs.

At the time of birth and when English Bulldogs are still puppies, this kind of tail tends to be slightly loose and soft, allowing the tail to appear a bit longer. Once the dogs grow a bit, however, this tail tends to furl into the shape of a knot or screw, becoming tighter and stiffer.

When the dog is still a puppy, it is much easier for them to wave the tail around and maintain a bit of cleanliness and flexibility around that area. This becomes difficult with age and might cause a few problems.

Caring for Tails

It is important for you to keep your English Bulldog clean and happy. This applies to their tails as well.

Caring for and cleaning tails is important for all kinds of tails, but especially for corkscrew tails since the knot-like shape of the tail might end up covering the anal region of the dog, resulting in several kinds of infections due to the accumulation of dirt.

Make sure you use some water and safe soap products to keep that region clean at all times. Do not leave it wet either as this could lead to the growth of fungus.

In case you notice a foul smell while trying to clean the tail and its surrounding parts, you might need to visit the vet.

What Is a Tail Pocket?

A tail pocket generally occurs due to the presence of corkscrew tails. A part of the skin beneath the tail ends up folding in on itself, resulting in a pocket-like structure.

This flap might develop at a young age, so make sure you look out for it when your dog is still a puppy so that you can deal with it on time. These tail pockets, due to the shape of the tail, might end up collecting dirt, debris and dead skin, making it painful for the dog to carry.

It is, therefore, important for you to maintain general cleanliness in the tail pocket so that it does not develop into an infection. You can also prevent any issues by cleaning the tail and the parts around it from the moment of birth.

Docking or Cropping Tails

Docking or cropping tails involves cutting off a portion of the English Bulldog’s tail. This might either be for medical purposes and carried out at the suggestion of a vet or it might be done to make the tail look more cosmetic.

In the US and the UK, docking or cropping tails for the sake of appearance is illegal, although there are many countries in the world that allow this kind of procedure to take place.

You should note that this kind of procedure can cause quite a bit of pain and health issues to your dog, so it is best to avoid it as far as possible. It is only if your dog is suffering from other issues and your vet recommends it should you go ahead with this kind of surgical procedure.

Potential Issues

Apart from tail pockets, there are many other issues that corkscrew tails might lead to. These include the following:

  • The tails and the parts beneath or around it might become infected through yeast or fungi or other kinds of bacteria, leading to pain and irritation.
  • The friction between the tail and the anus might lead to swelling, redness and pain, resulting in a condition called pyoderma.
  • Corkscrew tails, due to the shape and structure of the vertebrae, can end up creating many other spinal problems for the English Bulldog.

Also Read: 15 Amazing Dog Breeds Born Without Tails

Summing Up

English Bulldogs are born with tails that are usually corkscrew-shaped, although many can also be straight and short. It is important to keep these tails clean so that you can prevent infections and diseases.