Click here to learn more.
Q. At the dog park, someone said my dog had a “gay tail.” I didn’t want to let on that I didn’t know what she meant, so I just nodded. Can you tell me? He’s neutered, by the way.
A. The world of animals is full of interesting — and very old — terms that describe the way certain animals look. You ran into someone with a fair amount of canine knowledge, I’d say, possibly someone who has shown her dogs.
The term “gay tail” has nothing to do with your dog’s gender or sexuality, or if he’s neutered or not. It’s “gay” in the sense of “happy,” and it refers to a tail that’s flying high when the dog is alert and engaged, such as when he’s playing at the dog park. Specifically, it refers to a tail that’s set a little higher at the point where it connects to the body, allowing the dog to carry it above the topline. If you follow the back, in other words, the tail’s angle departs from the flat line and goes uphill.
In some breeds, a gay tail is considered undesirable in the show ring. If you imagine a Pointer, for example, the line of the back should be continued through the tail, to make the “bird here” point even more obvious. A perfect example can be found in the logo of the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club, which is a stylized picture of a Pointer named Sensation.
In other breeds, carrying the tail high like a flag (and even curled forward, such as in the Finnish Spitz) is either preferred or of little importance either way.
As a veterinarian, of course, I don’t give much concern to how high a dog's tail is carried, or even if he has much of one at all. As long as it’s wagging, I’m happy. And you should be, too.
More on Vetstreet.com:
* 15 Worst Dog Breeds for New Pet Owners
* Why Does My Dog... Eat Poop?
* 10 Things to NOT Say to Your Veterinarian
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank You For Signing Up
for the Petwire newsletter, sending you all the pet news each week directly to your inbox.
Get the latest pet news, tips, tricks, and expert advice sent right to your inbox!
With the help of a modified fishing net, 12 broomsticks and a cable, rescuers were able to pull Rapunzel to safety.
Mikkel Becker recommends sticking to daily routines, feeding with food puzzles and maybe even hiring a dog walker.
We talk with an aquarium expert about this awesome organism, which, as it turns out, can actually be quite violent!
Experts think pups bolt out the door because they want to explore the outside world or need more stimulation at home.
Pugs Ainsleigh, Peggy-Sue, Audrey, Fez, Eugene, Percy and Pavare will instantly get you into the holiday spirit.
We searched our database of 925,000 pups born since January 1 to declare today’s top monikers for dogs.
The Russian Blue won’t mind if you have to go to work (to earn money for cat toys), as long as you're back…
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.