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Why Is my dog’s tail curly?

There is seemingly no end to the number of domestic dog breeds available as human companions today. However, with almost 400 dog breeds co-existing with humans in every country worldwide, it’s easy to see that few of them look the same. 

Of course, some breeds share similar traits and mannerisms, but for the most part, domestic dog breeds (especially when mixed) look very different from one another. If your pup has a curly tail, it’s likely part of his genetics or breed conformation. 

However, it’s not uncommon for breed abnormalities to pop up, especially when discussing purebred dogs. Depending on the breeder, the bloodline, and how often the parents have been bred, it’s likely to have an interesting trait in one of the puppies eventually.

If you’re wondering why your dog has such a curly tail, you’re not alone. Dog owners worldwide are asking the same question, and we’ll do our best to answer it for you here!

Why is my dog’s tail curly?

Many dogs are born with curly tails. In some cases, the curl is due to breed type, while genetics plays a leading role in others. But, more often than not, curly tails are no cause for concern. 

Fused vertebrae

A curly tail indicates that your dog has hemivertebrae, meaning that his vertebrae have fused together or may have formed in the shape of a wedge. You’ll notice this is common in specific breeds like Pugs or Pomeranians, and for the most part, is not worrisome. 

If a curly tail and fused vertebrae are true to your dog breed of choice, then we encourage you to revel in your dog’s curly tail. After all, it is probably pretty cute!

Genetic disorders

Don’t panic! While it’s true that the tail is an extension of the spine, then a curly tail must mean a curved spine. Still, this is not something that dog owners should be concerned about, as many dogs with curly tails show zero issues related to the curvature of their spines.

Genetic disorders are prevalent in many breeds (like the curly-tailed ones) and could show up in dogs that don’t look like breeds that generally have a curled tail. For example, you might adopt a dog that looks like a yellow Labrador Retriever, and his tail might be curled because he’s mixed with an Akita. 

It can be challenging to place dogs into categories regarding how they should and shouldn’t look. But, unfortunately, humans tend to do this with everything, including ourselves! So try to trust in the fact that if your dog has always had a curly tail, then he’s supposed to have a curly tail.

Back trouble

When we discuss the appearance of our dogs, it’s essential not to leave out the fact that medical issues could be an underlying factor for physical differences that appear suddenly. If your pup has a tail that curls over time, or suddenly, it could be due to back problems. 

Scoliosis is not an ailment reserved for humans only. Dogs can have it as well, and it will take a glance and a quick check from your vet to determine if this is the issue. Even so, curly tails are often not a result of scoliosis, but ruling out back issues is still important. 


While it might seem obvious, many pet parents forget to check their dog to see if a curled tail results from pain. This soreness will come primarily from the back and spine, but a curled tail could easily result from pain anywhere on the body.

Make sure your pup isn’t whining, limping, or showing tenderness anywhere on his body. To check him out effectively, watch him go about his daily activities, and gently feel his body, looking for signs of pain. If you suspect something is wrong, see your vet. 

Why is my dog’s tail becoming curly?

If your dog hasn’t always had a curly tail, there could be reasons behind why it’s suddenly decided to take an upward turn. But, first, take note as to whether or not your dog’s tail is curling considerably. This curl could happen overnight or over a longer length of time. 

If your dog’s tail was curly when you brought him home or when he was a puppy, or it curls over time and is per his breed standards, then you’ve got a harmless genetic trait on your hands. However, if your dog’s tail is curling noticeably and shouldn’t be, this could be a sign of a progressive or degenerative spine issue. 

Before you send yourself into a panic, reach out to your veterinarian. They are most equipped to guide you in figuring out the root of the problem and provide you with a proper diagnosis and treatment.  

Why does my dog curl his tail?

Many dogs have tails that curl or bend towards the head. This curvature comes entirely naturally in the way they’ve developed. So whether they’re standing alert or taking a snooze on the couch, their tale is curly as ever.

Dogs that don’t typically have a curly tail might be curling their tails because of the aforementioned back issues or pain, or they could be overstimulated. If you’re in a situation that is causing your dog a bit of stress, such as a trip to a hectic dog park or the vet, his tail might curl up with excitement. 

Typically, this excitement is just fine. However, it could turn into fear or even aggression on occasion, so make sure that you’re always alert to the signals your dog is sending you.

Why do some dogs have curly tails?

Evolution and genetics are usually the two main determining factors as to whether a dog will have a curly tail or not. Humans have gone about performing artificial selection concerning the breeding of dogs. From curly tails to squashed faces, it’s not uncommon to see dog breeds of today looking very different from their wild counterparts.

Spine irregularities, likely from overbreeding, have caused specific dog breeds to develop a curly tail, while others have not. Curly tails are often the result of breeding within a tiny gene pool to achieve a specific breed appearance.

Are dogs born with curly tails?

Most dogs that are meant to have curly tails are born with them. By “meant to have,” we mean within the confines of the breed description. For example, a mama Pug will undoubtedly deliver a litter of puppies with curly tails, as long as the father is a purebred Pug as well. 

If the father is not purebred, then it’s hit or miss about whether or not every puppy will have a curly tail. Some may and some may not, depending on the breed mixture. Aside from breed traits, other dogs could be born with curly tails because they have a spine abnormality. 

Should I be concerned about my dog’s tail becoming curly?

It’s challenging to answer this question with absolute certainty. No, in most cases, you don’t have to be concerned about your dog’s tail becoming curly, especially if it’s within the breed description. Many mixed-breed dogs may have curly tails, as they are a cocktail of so many different dogs. 

For example, if you have an Akita puppy that does not yet have a curly tail, you can expect it to curl over time. But, on the other hand, a Labrador Retriever with a curly tail could cause concern. 

Remember, overstimulation can cause your dog’s tail to curl up. When in doubt, check with your vet. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and any new development in your dog’s appearance should be looked at by a professional.