A Tail By a Hair

All tails are not alike, of course, and sometimes it seems as if a simple strand of hair (figuratively speaking) can make the difference on what a tail is named.

A “sickle tail” is a tail that’s carried over a dog’s back in a loose, half circle fashion. It curves back towards the dogs back and points towards the head of the dog, but it doesn’t snap flat against the back.

A “snap tail” is pretty much the same as a sickle tail, but the tip of the tail touches the dog’s back. The Alaskan Malamute tends to have a snap tail, and that’s fairly typical of northern cold weather dog breeds such as the Siberian Husky, American Eskimo Dog, Akita, Chow Chow and Shiba Inu. This almost C-shaped tail enables a breed like the Siberian Husky to warm air around his face while he sleeps, and by the time he inhales air into the delicate tissue of his lungs, it’s been “pre-warmed” in the hair of his tail. With their face warm and their paws tucked away under that tail, dogs with these tails have been known to sleep 12 hours straight during a raging snowstorm.

Image: Alaskan Malamute by Julie Ellison is available here

One thought on “A Tail By a Hair”

  1. Nope. A snap tail is one that curls so sharply forward that the base of the tail is touching the dog’s back or close to doing so. The Malamute standard says, “The tail is moderately set and follows the line of the spine at the base. The tail is carried over the back when not working. It is not a snap tail or curled tight against the back, nor is it short furred like a fox brush. The Malamute tail is well furred and has the appearance of a waving plume.”

    PS. I started in Malamutes.

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