Bushy, thin, whip-like, or curly — dog tails come in all shapes and sizes. And dogs with curly tails are particularly adorable! Whether it’s a bushy bundle draped over their back, or a tight and twisted corkscrew, or just a cute spiral mounted at their rear, there are various types of curly tails in the dog kingdom.
Why do some dogs have curly tails? Does it have any bearing on their wellbeing? In this article, we’ll not just solve the mystery of curly tails for you, but we’ll also give you a list of our favorite dog breeds.
Dog tails are one of the distinctive characteristics of a dog, usually indicating a dog’s unique personality, character, and trait.
Tails are basically an extension of their spine, helping them maintain balance while running, swimming, or doing any physical activity. Tails not only keep dogs warm but also help communicate their moods and feelings to their fellow canines or pet parents.
Some dogs are born with curly tails, sometimes it’s a breed-specific feature, and a few other times, it happens as a result of a genetic mutation. It’s a result of gradual evolution resulting from breeding practices and environmental conditions.
In most cases, a dog’s curly tail is a matter of celebration rather than concern. However, in some cases, though rare, it may be a sign of a health complication. But how do you determine this? Here are some possible indications that a dog’s tail is a sign warranting a veterinarian’s examination.
Generally, curly tails are more common among purebreds. Occasionally, you’ll come across a mutt with a curly tail due to genetic reasons. But if you’re absolutely sure that your dog’s breed rarely has curly tails, then it wouldn’t hurt to take your pet to a veterinarian to put your mind at ease.
Curly tails in dogs happen due to hemivertebrae, a deformity where vertebrae fuse together or shape into a wedge. They are generally common among breeds like Pugs and Pomeranians.
While this might seem scary, it’s usually not a matter of worry as it does not pose any risk. In most cases, it’s only the tail that is genetically affected and not the entire spine. But it can lead to scoliosis.
Make sure your pet’s back has no abnormal curves apart from the curved tail. If you suspect any sort of back pain or discomfort in your dog, a visit to the vet is definitely necessary.
You didn’t notice any curve in your dog’s tail when you adopted him, but it seems to have developed a prominent bend over time? This could be an indication of a progressive or degenerative spine issue that needs closer medical inspection.
Types of Curly Dog Tails
This type of tail is small and twisted like a corkscrew and is common among Pugs, Bulldogs, Shiba Inu, and Norwegian Elkhound.
Common among dog breeds in colder climates like Alaskan malamutes and American Eskimo Dogs, snap tails are more tightly curled than the regular curly tails.
A sickle-shaped tail curves upward and over the back. This is also commonly seen among dogs in the colder regions like Chow-Chow, Akita, and Alaskan Malamute, to name a few.
15 Breeds of Dog With Curly Tails
Here are some popular dog breeds with curly tails who are absolutely adorable!
One of the most popular dog breeds with curly tails, Pugs are playful, loving, and lively animals. Easily recognized by their mushy faces and charming nature, Pugs were initially bred as companions to Chinese rulers.
With their cute wrinkly faces, soft velvety coats, and cheerful personalities, these little dogs have now emerged as one of the most popular dog breeds in the world and a favorite among dog lovers.
Pugs usually have their tail set in a tight curl, and it can take a lot to unfurl it. Often described as “a lot in a little package”, they can be a handful sometimes but in a good way.
Nimble and agile, Basenji is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. With a strong sense of scent and sight, the Basenji dog breed was first bred in Congo to hunt small game and keep the village rodent population in check.
Sharp, mischievous, and lovable, Basenji can bond effortlessly with their owners but may not take well to other pets in the house. This African breed doesn’t bark but vocalizes through howls and yodels. It is a small dog that’s devoid of any discernible odor, making them a perfect choice for apartment dwellers.
With big round eyes and a distinctive foxy look coupled with a cute corkscrew tail curling inwards into infinity, Basenji is an adorable bundle of delight.
Posing a stark resemblance to a fox, a Finnish Spitz’s perfect circle of a furry tail is what sets them apart. It’s a delight to watch their fluffy tails elegantly curved inwards in the rear end of their body of plush, soft coat, a trait specific to most Northern breeds.
This dog breed was originally bred for hunting all sorts of prey. While they could easily hunt and catch smaller game like squirrels and birds, they would also help chase and track the larger ones like bears and elks.
Playful and patient yet smart and incredibly loyal, these dogs can be great companions for adults and kids alike. They also make for excellent watchdogs but beware of their loud barks.
Hailing from a long line of Spitz breeds, Shiba Inu belongs to an ancient dog breed originating from Japan. Formerly bred for hunting, Shiba Inu are small dogs weighing around 20 pounds and have a sickle-shaped tail so coiled and curled that it appears to have two layers.
These independent dog breeds thrive in hiking trails and mountainous terrain but can sometimes display cat-like behaviors through their aloofness and stubbornness. Confident and fearless, keen and charming, Shiba Inu comes in many colorful coats like black, cream, white, and red.
These dogs are very vocal and don’t hesitate to vocalize their displeasure over anything. Alert and agile, they need ample training to stay well-behaved and happy.
A list of dogs with curly tails can never be complete without Norwegian Buhund.
Protective and affectionate, Buhunds are always happy to see and please their owners. And their soft, fluffy, and curly tails are often used to convey their affection and feelings. These all-purpose dogs are quick learners and were initially bred as farm and herding dogs, sometimes even serving as watchdogs and nannies.
If you’re looking for a dog to shower with love and affection, then a Norwegian Buhund can be the best choice for you as they are suckers for love and attention. However, they need ample space to burn off their excess energy and thus thrive better in a spacious environment where they can roam leash-free.
Known for their plush and beautiful thick white coats, Samoyed is a northern breed of dogs known for their adorable cute faces that are perpetually upturned in a smile.
These fluffy, snow-white animals are hard-working dog breeds, formerly bred for sledding, hunting, and herding reindeer in the cold and freezing climate of Serbia.
Besides adding oodles of cuteness to its face, these upturned mouth corners stop it from drooling and prevent icicles from forming on their faces. Their thick white coats keep them warm, and you can often find these dogs sleeping with their tail over their nose when it’s freezing outside.
A Samoyed’s tail does not curl tightly. Instead, it gracefully cascades down in a flowy, bushy swirl.
Pomeranians are adorable bundles of fluff and fur and are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world.
Their cute and curly tail often gets lost in the mass of their beautiful coat and looks like an extension of their body. Despite a small and sturdy body, Pomeranians have huge personalities and are very smart and opinionated.
Lively, playful, and energetic, these fuzzballs make for excellent family dogs and perfect lap warmers. They tend to be very loving and affectionate with their owners but can be aggressive or barky with strangers and other pets.
Originating from the mountainous regions of northern Japan, Akita is a large dog breed with a plush curly tail that drapes over its back. Even if an Akita pup is born with a straight tail, it grows into the signature curl shape of the Akita after a few weeks.
Initially bred for hunting purposes, Akitas have now almost solely become companion animals. But they need consistent training and lots of early socialization to lead a happy and peaceful life.
Fiercely loyal and loving, Akitas make for excellent guard dogs and are dependable guardians. Hachiko, the dog who patiently waited for his owner nine years after his death, was an Akita.
A Chow Chow’s curly tail serves a purpose. Not only does it help keep them warm, but it also makes them appear more intimidating and confident to other dogs and trespassers.
With beautiful lion-like manes, these cute, teddy bear-like pups can keep themselves impeccably clean and tidy. An ancient dog breed originally bred for herding, sledding, hunting, and guarding purposes, today’s Chow has carried on some of its ancestor’s underlying ferocity.
Chows are fearless and faithful pups posing distinct characteristic features like funny facial expressions, blue-black tongues, and tails with curls that depend on their mood.
Hence, they need lots of socialization and good training to help control their overly protective nature, especially towards strangers.
A Keeshond is a fluffy dog with a tangle of beautiful silver hair, the wooliest of which occupies its rear and covers its brilliantly curled tail. Hailing from Holland, Keeshonds are medium-sized dogs with a two-layered, plush coat of silver and black fur.
Hardy and nimble-footed, Keeshonds were originally bred to serve as barge dogs in the 18th century.
Loyal, affectionate, and playful, Keeshonds are quick learners who can thrive in most environments and make for excellent family dogs. They are intelligent, eager to please, and have very outgoing personalities.
Norwegian Elkhound may look very similar to Keeshonds but they have shorter hair and tighter, curly tails.
One of the bravest breeds in the dog kingdom, a Norwegian Elkhound was formerly bred to hunt moose in Scandinavia. Today, they are highly prized for their loyalty and intelligence. But thanks to their thick double coats, they thrive well in colder climates.
Athletic, boisterous, and with an inclination to chase an animal twenty times their size, a Norwegian Elkhound needs ample outdoor space to dispense its excess energy. They are, therefore, not fit for apartment dwellers or inactive owners. Moreover, these dogs have fierce barks and boisterous personalities, which makes them unfit for close-quartered living.
Icelandic Sheepdog is a rare dog breed that entered Iceland with the ancient Vikings and helped shepherds guard cattle and sheep for centuries. Even now, they are frequently used to herd sheep in the Icelandic countryside.
Its tail is curled and bushy, standing tall like a fluffy flag over its back. Their thick coats make them ideal dwellers for cold climates.
Energetic, agile, and with a happy temperament, Icelandic Sheepdogs are all-purpose dogs with high intelligence and winning personalities.
Despite its misleading name, an American Eskimo Dog or Eskie originally hails from Germany and relates less to Nordic breeds like the Husky or Canadian Eskimo Dog and more to German Spitz dogs.
An American Eskimo’s curly tail stands high over its back, with the hairs tumbling down in a flowery fashion. Eskies have thick, white coats and are confident, graceful, and super-trainable.
Though slightly reserved while making new friends, Eskies love attention and pampering and can be excellent comrades for people of all ages.
Alaskan Malamute is a Nordic breed whose curly tail is usually draped over their hip in the form of a question mark. Usually, a Malamute’s tail is curly when happy and content and long and drooping when they are lazy and lethargic.
Large and powerful, Alaskan Malamutes were popular dogs used for hauling and sledding in the vast frozen plains of Alaska and Siberia.
Quiet yet very social, they have an affectionate temperament and make for excellent family dogs. But they need good training and ample outdoor space to thrive.
There’s no denying that dogs with curly tails are cute, adorable, and absolutely endearing. In most cases, a dog’s curly tail is due to a harmless genetic mutation and not a matter of concern. But if your dog experiences back pain, displays an abnormally curved back, or belongs to a breed that doesn’t possess a curly tail, then it warrants a visit to a veterinarian.
If you’ve been thinking of getting home one of these unique-tailed beings, this list of dog breeds with curly tails can serve as a helpful guide.