Competing with docked or cropped dogs in the UK

The term 'docked' includes dogs which have their tails shortened for medical reasons after the relevant dates - these count as having been docked and therefore such dogs are not allowed to be shown at events where the public are admitted on payment of a fee.

England & Wales

In England, a ban on docking came into force on 6th April 2007, with exemptions for listed working breeds (Spaniels, Terriers, HPR) AND their crosses.

In Wales, a ban on docking came into force on 28th March 2007, with exemptions for listed working breeds (Spaniels, Terriers, HPR) but NOT crosses.

Any dog originating either inside or outside of England or Wales docked for medical reasons after these dates is not permitted to be shown at events where the public pays an entrance fee.


In Scotland, docking was banned completely as of 30th April 2007, unless in relation to a procedure which is carried out for the purpose of medical treatment of an animal. This means there is no exemption for working dogs to be docked. It is illegal take a puppy outside of Scotland to get its tail docked, other than for the purpose of a medical treatment. However there is no showing ban, meaning that legally docked dogs born in England, Wales or overseas, may be shown at ALL shows in Scotland.

Northern Ireland

The Welfare of Animals Act 2011 introduced a ban on the docking of dogs' tails, with an exemption for certified working dogs including Spaniels, Terriers and Hunt Point Retrieve Breeds. 

From 1 January 2013, it is also an offence to show a dog, which had its tail docked on or after this date, at events where the exhibitor pays a fee or members of the public pay an admittance fee. This does not apply to dogs who had their tails docked prior to 1 January 2013 or where a dog is shown solely for the purposes of demonstrating its working ability.

Contact the Kennel Club for more information.

The Kennel Club's Position

The Kennel Club believes that there should be consistency in docking legislation across the UK. Different regulations in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland cause confusion and put breeders/owners at risk of unknowingly breaking the law. The Kennel Club:

  • Opposes a total ban on docking.
  • Supports exemptions for working breeds and working breed types. The Kennel Club is currently lobbying the Scottish Parliament to introduce this amendment to their docking legislation.
  • Opposes the showing ban in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as this unfairly penalises responsible working dog breeders and owners who have had their dog's tail docked for genuine/medical reasons.

List of traditionally docked Breeds

Permission to show

The owner of any dog, from any country, which was docked on or after 6th April 2007 (28th March 2007 for shows in Wales) must apply to the Kennel Club for permission to show before competing. Applications must include a copy of the docking certificate/veterinary letter signed by the vet and the Kennel Club Registration details for the dog. This can be posted to The Kennel Club, 1-5 Clarges Street, London, W1J 8AB, UK. Alternatively it can be emailed to 


No dog with cropped ears is eligible to compete at any Kennel Club licensed event.


More information

Related Topics

Dog Showing Docked Dogs Docking
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