THE Department of Agriculture and Rural Development wishes to remind all dog breeders and future dog owners that from the 1 January 2013 it is an offence to dock a dog’s tail or allow someone else to dock their dog’s tail. It is also an offence to take a dog to another jurisdiction to have its tail docked.
An exemption from the ban is available for potential future working dogs of the following breeds that are intended to be used for work in connection with law enforcement, lawful pest control or lawful shooting of animals:
· Spaniels of any breed or combination of breeds;
· Terriers of any breed or combination of breeds;
· Any breed commonly used for hunting, or any combination of such breeds;
· Any breed commonly used for pointing, or any combination of such breeds;
· Any breed commonly used for retrieving, or any combination of such breeds.
Future working dogs which meet the requirements of the exemption may only be docked by a veterinary surgeon within five days of birth and must be microchipped before the dog is eight weeks of age at the same veterinary practice that carried out the tail docking procedure.
The Welfare of Animals (Docking of Working Dogs’ Tails and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2012 set out the certification process for the exemption for future working dogs, which must be completed by the breeder and the veterinary surgeon at the time the pup’s tail is docked. The Regulations also set out the evidential requirements which must be presented to the veterinary surgeon to confirm that the pup meets the conditions to qualify as a potential future working dog.
Breeders who wish to apply for an exemption for a future working dog should familiarise themselves with the requirements of the Regulations and ensure they present the pup and the necessary evidence within five days of birth to a veterinary surgeon that docks future working dogs under this exemption. Application forms can be downloaded from
NI Direct at www.nidirect.gov.uk/tail-docking-dogs or from the following websites:
Countryside Alliance Ireland
British Association for Shooting and Conservation
Ulster Farmers’ Union
Any person who buys a pup with a docked tail, which was born in Northern Ireland on or after the 1 January 2013, must obtain from the seller the fully completed certificate for tail docking which has been signed by the breeder and the veterinary surgeon who docked the pup’s tail to confirm the pup was legally docked as a potential future working dog.