Tail docking – chopping off most of a dog’s tail at birth – was once a procedure with purpose. However, as the years progressed the procedure that was originally done to aid in work tasks became a procedure done for aesthetic purposes. Tail docking is no longer necessary for household pets. Nevertheless, many breeds are trademarked by their docked tail. Tail docking is illegal in many countries; if Washington were to ban tail docking many states would follow suit.
Tail docking is common in the history of many breeds. The miniature schnauzer originally had a docked tail because it was thought to increase agility, protect from rabies and strengthen the back. The breed was created to hunt rats; a tail would have been a perfect grip for an angry and startled rat. Miniature schnauzers are now bred as companion animals, though tail docking is still commonplace. The procedure is currently done only to uphold a certain image.