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Discussion Starter #1
This was mentioned in the other thread and I am interested in hearing from all of you Lab gurus :laugh:


Question before you all get started... Can tail set change or is it pretty much what you see is what your'e going to get in the end?
And, can there be a tail set that is too high? I've seen many that are too low but never one that was high?
TIA
 

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You can usually see tailsets at 7-8 weeks. Yes there are high tailsets as well as low ones.
 
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Remember "tail set" and "tail carriage" are two very different animals. A dog can have a low tail set yet carry the tail too high. Tail set is how the tail is attached - right off the back is correct. A low tail set is where the tail attaches farther down which accompanies a rounded appearance to the croup. Tail carriage is how the dog holds the tail and again right off the back and straight is desired. A high tail carriage is when a dog gets excited and the tail goes up - all dogs will raise it slightly when excited about say an impending toss of a bumper but the dog's that are "too proud" of their tails can raise them sky high like a flag pole.
 

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I think I heard that tail set can change too. Even though 7-8 weeks is supposed to give you a good picture of what your adult will look like, it can change a bit.

I know with Grace she appeared to have a proper tail set at her puppy eval, and it's a tad lower now.
 

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My understanding of tailset is that it is supposed to be set "right off of the back" as a straight line basically from the occipital region of the skull down the neck/smoothly over the shoulders and down to the tip of the tail since the tail is supposed to act as a rudder for swimming in a labrador's case, meaning that at the surface of the water, it provides more stability and "steering" ability at that level? Thoughts?

I have seen a couple of puppies who *seemed* to have proper tailsets at 7 wks only to be more rounded as adults, with a lower tailset. It makes me wonder whether or not there is anything else that may indicate the tailset will change over time?
 

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Julie, someone once said something like diet and exercise could contribute in a negative way to the tailset changing. I guess whatever we did just didn't work....LOL ;D Even with the best food and proper exercise, so who knows!!
 

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Interesting, Jen. I wonder who said that?

I can't imagine anything that would "cause" a low tailset through development, nutritionally or exercise-wise. If anything, I would think that more exercise would develop those coccygeal muscles (and other muscles responsible for tail movement) further, allowing for improved tailset?

I do know people who have tried to "straighten" a curved lab tail through a variety of splints and so forth as puppies. Someone also mentioned to me that there has been a surgical procedure that some have tried where ligaments get cut to improve tail carriage and so forth. That's pretty sad. :(
 
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Julie, someone once said something like diet and exercise could contribute in a negative way to the tailset changing.

Well, that would be a new one!
Yeah that is a new one. Some people can make up the strangest things! Proves that you should only believe half of what you hear.

As far as tail splints and ligament cutting I have never heard of anyone doing that in Labradors at least. I wonder how they can tell what the tail will look like as an adult at 8 weeks?????
 

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Well I for one hate the look of a sloping croup, and usually once a dog has that trait I look the other way...it usually accompanies a low tail set.

My Rhys (a field/show tweener) has the most PERFECT croup and tailset (I'll see if I can dig up a photo) but carries high.

Ruby's tail is a touch low set, just a bit, and most people don't see it, but I do, since Rhys's is so right on. She carries perfectly, except when she is excited, then she has a perfect BANANA tail, doesn't go over the back, but sticks out about 4" and then heads upward! It makes me smile, only because I know she is a happy girl when that happens, which is most of the time!
EDIT TO ADD
Rhys's tailset, the best shot I have, but you can't tell how straight off the back it is because it is wagged all the way back around, making his topline look high, but you get the picture ;)

ROO'S TAIL...excited

Roo's Tail...not reall excited
 

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WigWag said:
As far as tail splints and ligament cutting I have never heard of anyone doing that in Labradors at least. I wonder how they can tell what the tail will look like as an adult at 8 weeks?????
I don't know about splinting as youngsters (the instances I've heard about were cases of curved tails, not to do with tailset and I don't recall hearing that it worked in the least), but the surgical alterations I've heard about happen once the dog has reached maturity. I don't know of any cases personally, but knowing what I now know about the procedure (and having heard about it from a couple of different people in labs), I wouldn't put it past someone to try it out.

This is kindof off-topic, but it reminds me of my days in equestrian competition, especially when I was showing in the quarter horse circuit. They were still (I don't know anymore?) doing similar things (illegally, of course), including alcohol, etc. injections to deaden nerves in the tail so that the horse would let its tail hang limp behind it (no tail-swishing and the horse couldn't hold it up or away from the body). Very sad. I actually saw a paint western pleasure horse one time that had quite obviously had it done. The horse couldn't even hold its tail up to defecate, so it had poop smeared all down its hind quarters as its rider was working it. It looked a lot like "cold tail" does in labs, only more severe. :(
 
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This is kindof off-topic, but it reminds me of my days in equestrian competition, especially when I was showing in the quarter horse circuit. They were still (I don't know anymore?) doing similar things (illegally, of course), including alcohol, etc. injections to deaden nerves in the tail so that the horse would let its tail hang limp behind it (no tail-swishing and the horse couldn't hold it up or away from the body). Very sad. I actually saw a paint western pleasure horse one time that had quite obviously had it done. The horse couldn't even hold its tail up to defecate, so it had poop smeared all down its hind quarters as its rider was working it. It looked a lot like "cold tail" does in labs, only more severe.
Yes this happens in the Morgan and Saddlebred world as well. They get the ligaments and tendons severed so the base of the tail is more pliable and loose and then it is placed in a tail set. Saddlebreds have a very exaggerated version of this and the tail is loosened and raised more and more until it's in a very unnatural state. Also to get that high tail (Arabian look) a finger full of ginger is placed right in the butt so it burns a bit and the horse has to "air it out". Some also use atropine in the eyes of Saddlebreds to make it so that it's difficult for them to see and thus they are bug eyed and slightly "on the edge" when shown. It's sad but true. I've witnessed all first hand.

http://www.stallionexpo.com/Archive/Images/Thumbs/400_1400_Rave%203%20ASB%20BOOK%20IN%2090%20WITH%20NAME.JPG
 

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WigWag said:
Sharon, I can't believe that. I also have a history with horses (hopefully future as well ;D). We only shown in disciplines where looks did not matter but as far as I can remember most horses that had some arabian blood in them carried their tail quite high anyway (especially the boys:).
 

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Whoever I heard that from was probably "playing a joke on the newbie!"

I thought Grace looked pretty promising with her tail here

or here


By 4 months, it was moving down


And seemed to have ended up here


I've seen worse, but I am sensitive about her faults...they just scream out to me! ;D
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Very informative... Jen I know what you mean about "screaming" out to you....before you really learn these things you just don't notice as much. After you see photos of the proper structure, and go to shows and see so many gorgeous labs, when you see one who had a flaw, even a slight one, it jumps right out at you. Your eye is drawn to it instantly.

Ok... I understand the difference between tail set and tail carriage. So "gay" tail would refer to tail carriage. A dog who carries his tail straight up. Is there any correlation between gay tail and tail set? For instance, are dogs with improper tail set more likely to have a gay tail? Tail set I know is genetic, is tail carraige also? Are their lines where you will see gay tail crop up here and there?

That's where I am with movement right now. It's not good enough to know why I like the way a certain dog moves... I want to know why structurally that dog is able to move that way, and what prevents other dogs from that same type movement.
 

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WeHeartLabs said:
Is there any correlation between gay tail and tail set? For instance, are dogs with improper tail set more likely to have a gay tail? Tail set I know is genetic, is tail carraige also? Are their lines where you will see gay tail crop up here and there?
I don't know, Susan, but Libby (my pet-bred girl) has a pretty low tailset and LOVES to carry her tail up...not exactly over her back, but DEFINITELY a gay tail. ;) Many field-bred labradors I have seen also carry their tails gaily rather than straight off of their back. I have also seen my fair share of nice stud dogs around here in the breed classes who end up marching around the ring with flagpole tails and their tailset when standing is right off of their back.

I have also heard a couple of breeders mention ringside that they could tell a certain stud dog's get in the ring based on tail carriage. I don't know that it is true or not, and I've heard some handlers can "train" a really "proud" dog to keep his tail down using a fly-swatter to pat the rump anytime the tail goes up, but I don't know how that works, either.
 

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I have seen in the breed ring such bad tail sets and such skinny, field type tails and they won! Sad since the tail is suppose to be one of the big things that makes a Lab a Lab.
 
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I don't know that it is true or not, and I've heard some handlers can "train" a really "proud" dog to keep his tail down using a fly-swatter to pat the rump anytime the tail goes up, but I don't know how that works, either.
I saw a very typey pretty young yellow boy once being handled by a great handler. The dog was about 12 months at the time and very proud of his tail. He was laid back and would stand and wag with it off his back but when asked to move or when the handler talked to him a bit much the tail went DOING straight up with excitement - eek! I saw him go back in for winner's dog and the handler gave it a few well timed swats before entering the ring - he got him wound up and then SWACK and then praised him with the tail low - just like any other training. I saw the dog again about a year later - he stood and wagged and gaited beautifully in the ring - tail right off the back - and then he finished quickly.
 

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It is very frustrating to me because my 11 month old boy has a nice tailset; however, when he gets in the ring that thing goes UP like a flagpole. Apparently, he's very proud of himself and happy in the ring. ;) It drives me nuts because when he is just running around in the yard it's right off his back.

Another thing is that as a pup, I was in LOVE with his tail. As he has grown, however, his tail has developed a swoop, which is one of my pet peeves. Neither his dam nor sire have this, so I'm wondering where the heck it came from.???
 
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